When working with smaller production quantities, many of our medical device customers choose to manually assemble and inspect their products. Not only does this keep production costs low, but it also allows for flexibility with multiple product variations. However, this method can also cause issues in the inspection process. Even with a skilled operator, the potential for human error exists and mistakes can occur that jeopardize a manufacturer’s quality standards and possibly patient outcomes.
INVOTEC Engineering has developed a solution using an automated part verification vision system that helps these customers get the reliability they need from their manufacturing process. This system keeps the manual assembly intact but automates the inspection process. It verifies that each component is present throughout the assembly process, and it confirms that the final product includes all the necessary components. This system also has the flexibility to be reprogrammed to accommodate future product changes as needed.
This system begins with the operator input that communicates which components are necessary for this particular device’s assembly. The loading station locks a nest into place and a monitor graphically displays the first component to be placed on the loading nest. The vision system verifies that the appropriate part has been loaded by the operator, and the display advances to the next component to verify it has been correctly added to the assembly as well. Once all the components have been placed on the loading nest, the vision system completes a final inspection to verify all the necessary components are included. After passing inspection, the locking mechanism is released and the operator is signaled to complete the subsequent process(es).
Our customers have found that the automated part verification vision system has helped them keep costs low with minimal impact on cycle time or disruption to the manual assembly process. This system has the potential to dramatically reduced human error which allows our customers to deliver higher quality medical devices to their end users.
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