In-Sight vision systems critical to successful handling and character reading of turned parts


The manufacturing of automobile disc brakes can be a physically demanding and challenging process that has sophisticated tracking requirements. Alber Gussbearbeitungs-GmbH, developed a fully automated disc brake finishing and testing process that assures the highest quality product and relieves employees of physically heavy work. Integrated machine vision gives the handling process eyesight with a modern vision system and reliably reads alphanumeric characters (Optical Character Recognition).

Car parts manufacturers today are no longer satisfied manufacturing first-rate precision components only. Many manufactured components must be tracked in order to ensure complete reliability in the traceability process; to meet this challenge Alber acquired two In-Sight® smart vision systems from Cognex to read alphanumeric codes on rotating discs brakes. Not only does this increase the safety of the process, but it also relieves employees of performing the strenuous task.

Hard times

Disc brakes for cars weigh between 12 and 20 kg (26.5 and 44 lbs). Before Alber implemented Cognex machine vision technology, employees had to repeatedly lift the heavy discs out of a stainless steel box and place them on different stations. Performing this heavy work posed health risks to people on the production line. Today this is no longer an issue because the turning and milling process of downstream finishing and inspection work has been fully automated.

Exact positioning

After reading the alphanumeric characters, the finishing and inspection steps take place, including balancing and sound testing. Finally, the robot creates stacks of six discs each in a stainless steel box and then placed a wood cover on top. The robot's In-Sight camera locates the exact position thanks to a simple black cross.