Car seats are true high-tech systems and have numerous features. Depending on the equipment and vehicle class, safety features such as airbags, memory functions for the seat position, seat occupancy recognition functions, ventilation, heating or adjustable lumbar support are included.
All these functions must be checked at the end of the production process by means of a final test ("end-of-line"). This test concerns all electrical and pneumatic functions of the seat before it is delivered to the car manufacturer's assembly line. Many of these tests have to be performed manually. This manual work involves sources of error and represents a high cost factor. Automation of these tests is now possible with the help of collaborative robots, so-called cobots, in a line cycle.
The automotive industry is particularly driven by bringing innovations to market at ever shorter intervals. Today, for example, even companies that were previously known for smaller vehicles with simple equipment are offering cars with the most diverse range of comfort functions. Just a few years ago, this was the privilege of luxury brands. If product defects occur in the areas of functionality or safety, the consequences can be drastic. If defects are even discovered after delivery, costly recalls often generate serious damage to the image and, in the worst case, become a danger for users.
GÖPEL electronic has been involved in global automotive seat manufacturing processes for many years. The end-of-line test platform "OsCAR" tests airbags, seatbelt buckle, seat occupancy detection, motion modes, heating, and many more. The universal system can be used depending on the requirements and the test object without major modification or reprogramming efforts, since the hardware design is always identical. In cooperation with the company JUGARD+KÜNSTNER GmbH, an automated end-of-line test has now been developed, which makes it easier for manufacturers to deliver consistently high quality with simple integration.
The cobot is able to reach all buttons and knobs and carry them along with constant force when moving. Unlike humans, the cobot does not get tired and works without interruptions even in shift operation. It can thus relieve the worker of strenuous activity and always perform tasks consistently. This includes the force-constant actuation of buttons for lordosis, massage or seat adjustment, the adjustment of seats to all end points and the application of auxiliary tools for seat occupancy detection, e.g. with Body Sense or SBR weight. In addition, the Cobot inserts and releases a seat belt buckle tongue.
The cobot is supplied with a range of different tools so that it can operate the components to be tested in a process-safe manner. GÖPEL electronic not only developed the system, but also integrates it at the user's site itself - either into an existing system or as a complete solution. For an optimal adaptation to the production line, a virtual feasibility study is carried out with every project start. It determines the optimal installation location of the robot arm and takes into account collision or intersection points with neighboring workstations, light barriers or other limiting factors. For this purpose, a factory simulation tool is used that maps the entire production line. In close cooperation with the user, a wide variety of implementation variants are tested and the optimum determined in a short time and without additional material or installation costs.
Thanks to automated quality inspection, seat manufacturers can be sure that their articles leave production in the best possible condition. In addition, the worker who previously performed this task can be deployed for other activities. This results in a clear competitive advantage for manufacturers of automotive seats in a highly competitive market.
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