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Excellent: Quality inspection with the robot and 3D scanner

Independent of stray light, contrasts and reflections: Berghof Testing has developed a system consisting of 3D scanners and a KR CYBERTECH that inspects components at the end of assembly lines – without cameras. The company has now received the "German Innovation Award 2021" for this.

21 September 2021

Scan objects independent of external interfering factors

Flexible, fast, cost-saving and excellent: When inspecting components, the combination of a KR CYBERTECH and two scanners achieves a new level of quality. The Smart Component Tester (SCoT) from Berghof Testing performs the optical inspection of components from automobile manufacturers not with industrial cameras and images as is usually the case but with a 3D scanner that functions independently of lighting conditions, contrast, reflection and position. For this, the company has now received the "German Innovation Award 2021" in the "Machines & Engineering" category. Compared to previous object inspection systems, the solution from the specialist for quality and safety inspection of components in the automotive sector scores points above all for its flexibility and reduced costs.

High precision scanning: Recognition for innovative solution

Berghof Testing prevailed in the competition against more than 700 innovations. This is not the first award for the company: Berghof received the "German Brand Award" in 2017 and 2019. Even though this time the festive award ceremony had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, the joy is great. "As a department, we entered this competition for the first time," says Theo Rauch, team leader of the Automotive Test Systems department. "The fact that we won the award outright is a great recognition for our colleagues and our scanner."

Theo Rauch accepts the "German Innovation Award" on behalf of his team
To scan objects independently of stray light or reflections: a KR CYBERTECH grips the component and presents it to a 3D scanner

3D inspection technology with scanner at top level

The award-winning SCoT uses two scanners: one determines the exact position of the component on a short linear conveyor belt and passes the information from the 3D model to a KR CYBERTECH. This means that the system does not require any complex and expensive conveyor technology based on workpiece carriers. The robot picks up the object in the next step and finally presents it to the second 3D scanner, which performs the optical inspection. This provides customers with great flexibility in scanning. "Our system is primarily designed for the inspection of rear spoilers," explains Theo Rauch. "These come in a wide range of variants. Therein lies the challenge: the camera must scan exactly the right points of the quality features, regardless of the shape and position of the component. That's what we developed SCoT for." Changeover times for changing model inspection variants are thereby completely eliminated.

Ideal for all connections: KUKA.PLC mxAutomation

The system can not only scan rear spoilers. The system can be adapted to different component shapes, positions and quality characteristics. To do this, the customer uses the software that Berghof Testing developed specifically for this purpose. The robot software is coupled with the KUKA.PLC mxAutomation control software, which significantly simplifies the programming and operation of SCoT.

It's easy with the right 3D scanner: The Smart Component Tester can visually inspect a wide range of components, here a rear spoiler
KUKA.PLC mxAutomation acts like a translator: the operator enters the commands in his preferred programming language, for example via the machine controller of the machine tool or via various PLC systems, and the KUKA software translates the commands into the correct robot programming language.

In familiar programming environment

"This means that our customers do not have to acquire any additional knowledge of robot programming. The KUKA.PLC mxAutomation function blocks enable them to operate the KUKA robot within their familiar programming environment," says Theo Rauch. In addition to Berghof, numerous other customers have also recognized this advantage and are increasingly booking the KUKA.PLC mxAutomation interface as well.
The user interface of Berghof Testing with integration of KUKA.PLC mxAutomation

We place great value on innovation in the company. With the combination of 3D scanning and KUKA robotics, we were able to develop a flexible solution for our customers in the automotive industry.

Theo Rauch, Team Leader of the Automotive Test Systems Department at Berghof Testing

Strong partnership with KUKA

Theo Rauch and his colleagues have been working with KUKA since 2017. Berghof Testing chose a KR CYBERTECH for scanning primarily because of its versatility and long reach of 1.10 meters. This enables the system to inspect components of various sizes, from small to large objects. Another advantage of the ScoT is that three different components can be in the system with scanner at the same time – one at each of the feeding, testing and removal stations. This saves space, time and costs.