The primary requirement for casters is being able to take rough handling without suffering structural failures. One method for caster testing is hitting the caster frame with a measured force and checking for any signs of structural damage. This test is normally performed by an operator who uses an impact tester and then visually inspects the caster for damage. This approach is expensive to perform and slows production. Manual inspection leaves open the possibility of operator error and can also miss subtle failures that are beyond the capability of the human eye.
One caster manufacturer identified a market need for a product that with 100% visual inspection. This created the challenge of developing an automated approach to impact testing and subsequent inspection. The manufacturer selected Invotec to develop the system.
The company conceived a manufacturing system that includes a 16-station indexing dial machine that takes the components through every assembly operation plus testing and inspection. Inspection is performed first on the main frame so that molding problems can be identified before further value is added to the parts. The frame is then fed into the side of the inspection station and is loaded into a fixture in the station. A pneumatic drive lifts a weight riding above the part and then drops it onto the frame.
The frame passes the test if it sustains no visible damage. The traditional way to inspect the part would have been to have an operator manually inspect each one, but Invotec engineers set about developing a machine vision application to inspect the part.
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