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The Perfect Match

Published: 2 July 2018 - Sarah Mead

In the middle of an automobile manufacturer’s assembly line, two robots, running at full speed, connect car body panels. They check, grasp, position, and weld. The SmartRunner Matcher plays a crucial role in this interplay of speed and precision. This new light section sensor provides application-specific profile measurement with integrated evaluation in a compact  housing.

Alongside the 'Detector', the 'Matcher' is one of the first two representatives of the new SmartRunner technology. These products are based on a unique combination of light section sensor and vision sensor including LED lighting, thus opening up a range of completely new possible applications. “The result is plug-and-play light section sensors that can be used immediately and that have each been optimised for their specific task at the factory,” explains product manager, Christoph Blankenburg.

Perfectly aligned for precise welding

The SmartRunner Matcher’s job is — as the name suggests — to perform  a precise comparison of profiles. The best application example of this is car body construction in the automotive industry: piece by piece, industrial robots assemble the different sheet metal parts into a metal garment. The individual components must be precisely aligned before they are grasped, positioned, and welded by the robots. To check the correct alignment of the car body panels, two SmartRunner Matchers  are used, each of which has been taught in a precise edge of the car body and refers to the profile comparison as a reference contour. Only after the correct component has been positioned exactly do   both

sensors issue a corresponding switching signal, allowing the robot to grasp the object unimpeded. “This creates a fluid process for the teamwork between sensor and robot that prevents unplanned down- times and damage to expensive car bodies and robots,” Blankenburg explains.

Easy commissioning, flexible operation

The commissioning of the new light section sensor proves to be extremely easy. “The user simply needs to mount the device, direct it at  the profile to be recorded, and parameterise it using teach-in—that’s all.” Thanks to its wide coverage area of 180 mm, the SmartRunner Matcher allows the necessary flexibility even for temporary modifications to production. “If production is switched to a different car body, for example, it is not necessary to reposition the existing sensor system. A simple teach-in is sufficient to set up the sensor for a different profile,” Blankenburg says. Additionally, the integrated vision sensor plus LED lighting makes it possible to parameterise the sensor quickly and easily using Data Matrix control codes. “This is a key advantage for flexible production in particular, because any number of sensors can be taught in again effortlessly using codes that can be generated individually,” Blankenburg reports enthusiastically.

Learn more about ...

SmartRunner technology and the SmartRunner Detector, the specialists for high-precision monitoring  tasks:

Industry Connections: Pepperl + Fuchs

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