Project: Engine Ring Inspection System


The first of two backlit inspection conveyors

Case Study: Custom Automation

A successful U.S. manufacturer of automotive engine components needed to improve quality and increase productively due to an increased global demand for their products. The components they manufacture must be inspected for tiny surface flaws or defects that can be created during the upstream manufacturing process. Their current inspection system had become inadequate to handle the increased quality and production demands.

The Vision System Operator Interface

The Vision System Operator Interface


To develop an inspection system that would detect minute surface defects on critical machined surfaces.  Each surface of the part, including top and bottom faces, and the inside and outside surfaces, must be inspected. These defects are barely discernible to the human eye, but can seriously impact component efficacy. The system had to be capable of running over 1500 unique parts.

The current part changeover time on the existing inspection process takes almost an hour.

Recipe Based Part Selection

Recipe Based Part Selection


Puffin developed a system that is recipe driven, has multiple automated axes of motion to adjust cameras, adjust lights, adjust focus, and adjust part positioning. It is easy to set up for new parts, handles up to 2000 unique manufactured parts, and can be changed over from one part to another in 30 seconds. The system is compact in size to make efficient use of floor space, and requires no air utility.

The part to be run is selected via a Rockwell Panel view 1500 HMI. The inspection parameters for each part are loaded via Rockwell’s Recipe ActiveX Control. There are more than 120 parameters associated with each part.

These parameters include light position and intensity, camera position, exposure, regions of Interest (ROI) location and size.

Watch a Video of the Ring Inspection System

Watch a Video of the Ring Inspection System

How it Works

Puffin’s system consists of three modules, two of which incorporate clear belt conveyors and six camera inspection stations and the third module which is the good part accumulator.  The modules are connected to allow continuous inspection processing of the manufactured parts. Each inspection station has its own camera, lighting, focus (if needed), and automatic adjustment. The part to be inspected is selected via the system’s part number database.  Once this part is acknowledged on the system, all of the cameras, lights, focus and part positioning is automatically moved to the recipe’s unique positions to ensure that the proper camera image is captured for this part. The manufactured parts are then fed into the system where they are inspected on both sides and the inner and outer diameter. Servo motors guarantee repeatable position for image capture. Inspection failures are tracked to the end of the process, where they are sorted and rejected by failure type. Good parts are fed to an accumulator/stacker.