Facteon is an international manufacturing technology business that designs, builds and innovates world-class production equipment. Established in New Zealand in 1981 as the internal engineering division of Fisher & Paykel, Facteon is now part of a global group of companies which includes Haier, GE Appliances, Candy-Hoover and Fisher & Paykel.
From washing machines with Haier to rockets with Rocket Lab, Facteon manufactures the machines that assemble other products. Facteon's COSMOline is an Industrial IoT software that enables smart manufacturing by tackling everyday challenges with real-time data insights. The right data helps decision makers take preemptive action to keep factory lines at peak effectiveness.
Manufacturing any product requires tracking of many variables - raw materials, orders, machine downtime, repairs, and shipping, for a start. Machines continue to take on more workload as the needs of manufacturers grow, and the speed of doing business increases.
Automation and digitalisation of product quality inspection have been areas of focus for Facteon, especially around the engineering welding process of appliances manufacturing, as the process and the quality can vary significantly.
That’s why this is one of the areas in manufacturing where the gold standard continues to be using human experts to inspect and evaluate welds. While experienced welding engineers have a great eye, they are not able to inspect weld quality at great scale or speed. It also takes several years for an engineer to become an expert in this area, limiting the ability for manufacturers to scale this internal capability.
Facteon's deep experience with manufacturing ensures that our digital manufacturing solutions have broad applications to many industry segments, from appliances to beverages. Manufacturing at scale fuels a relentless search for equipment reliability, production efficiency and quality. By combining our digital manufacturing solutions with conventional and specialised smart sensors, Facteon can assist many manufacturing organisations to overcome their challenges.
What we did
Working alongside a combined team of experts in engineering and digital manufacturing, Solnet collaboratively designed and delivered a complex welding product inspection solution, COSMOweld, built on Facteon’s COSMOline digital manufacturing platform.
The solution provides superior weld product quality inspection capability powered by computer vision and laser scanner technologies to enable real-time analysis of input and output parameters for every product, including penetration, colour and inconsistency detection with minimum defect size down to 1mm. COSMOweld operates at an ultrafast speed of less than a few seconds to enable critical product quality decisions on the manufacturing floor.
The solution also features consolidated analytical results and reports, at production batch and individual product level, via its Cloud-based functions that are remotely accessible from anywhere, on any device.
Other technical considerations
Programming machines, robots and building manufacturing software solutions to do what the trained human eye can do, at an industrial scale, is not an easy task.
Camera images are prone to issues, including shadows, vibration, part alignment, weld carbon flaking, illumination distribution, exposure time, triggering accuracy, and reliable edge detection. Further, using specialised laser scanners, while avoiding awkward reconfiguration steps, adds another layer of complexity.
Solnet worked with Facteon's subject matter experts to overcome these challenges.
Facteon is now able to offer the COSMOweld solution as part of its automated production lines, third-party machinery upgrade, and systems integration offerings. COSMOweld will benefit many manufacturing customers facing production quality and waste challenges.
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