As it continues to deploy its Smart Industry strategy, the Electronics activity of LACROIX is adopting cutting-edge technologies to meet customer demand in terms of digitization and automation. One such technology is the end-of-line automatic optical inspection (EOL AOI) cobot: a machine used for automatic inspection of finished products, designed to enhance the reliability of controls on highly complex electronic boards.
In response to the increasing number of complex products being assembled in our factories and more stringent check points for certain electronic boards, the company needed to overhaul its control phase. Cobotised inspection thus emerged as the ideal solution to drive not just quality and reliability but also a zero-defect approach, something which is a key concern for our customers, particularly in the civil and defence avionics sector.
We wanted to develop an automated system able to perform 2D and 3D controls for multi-cards assemblies or integrated finished products, ready to be packaged. In order to meet this imperative, our innovative system required three years of R&D and hard work from our teams and our partners.
Once the control points located into the inspection zone (camera position and lighting) and measurement parameters have been programmed, the cobot takes very high definition photos and compares them against a reference photo. The role of the AGV is to automatically position the part so that the arm can inspect it from all angles. The system thus provides optimal 3D product control.
To bring this project to fruition, our company joined forces with various partners.
There was no existing system on the market meeting all our needs. We therefore pooled our skills with those of several partners, including STP Concept (an STP Group department specialising in R&D) and OSE Group (company expert in robotics) to develop this control custom solution.
Dominique Laurgeau. Equipment & Process Manager at the Electronics activity of LACROIX
The challenge was to create a scalable, flexible and programmable machine via a unique and ergonomic interface. To achieve this, we designed the unit from scratch: from the mechanical chassis to the position of the indexer and the control and lighting functions. We also defined the various protocols so that the cobot, the vision system and the AGV could communicate and work together.
Thomas Vignard, Sales Manager at STP Concept
Prolynk miniature AGVs (OSE Group) are an alternative to traditional conveyors when the machine requires flexibility and modularity. The solution naturally found its place in this innovative project which required a great adaptability. Thank you to the teams of the Electronics activity of LACROIX for this great collaboration.
Frédéric Issaly, Product Manager at Prolynk, OSE Group
It was the combination of our expertise in the field for defining our need and the technical expertise of our partners which enabled us to achieve this result.
Émilie Morice, Process Engineer at the Electronics activity of LACROIX
Colour, characteristics, varnish, dimensions… numerous criteria are analysed by this automated optical inspection cobot. The tool is suitable for products of various specifications, thanks to the configuration options. The optical system enables measurements to 1/10th of a millimetre, more precise than the human eye, while the repeatability of the operation enables elimination of any risk of error.
For this solution to be 100% reliable, we are testing the initial programs in order to define the best strategies for controlling the different elements. Deployment of Smart Industry is a gradual process.
AOI makes it possible to automate repetitive tasks with low added value (around 70% of operations). This means that highly qualified operators can concentrate on more complex check points (soldering, absence of foreign bodies or variations in position, for example) requiring human interpretation. The skills and experience of our experts are essential for ensuring a zero-defect standard!