Automated Surface Inspection

Surface inspection in the BMW paint shop

Thursday 25th June, 2020

BMW is using automated surface inspection to help increase paint shop quality.

BMW uses AI dust particle analysis in its Munich plant to compare and predict the quality of coating applied to its cars.

The problem

Despite modern filtration systems within their plants, BMW was finding dust particles within their paint lines from the air drawn in. Dust particles could then be trapped by the wet paint, leading to the surface of the vehicle being aesthetically flawed.

The solution

AI specialists have found a way around this issue altogether. Each freshly painted car must undergo a complete automated surface inspection.

Data is gathered and a complete database of historical dust particle analysis is compiled. Specialists use this historical data to compare against the live data within the paint booths.

Albin Dirndorfer, SVP painted body, finish and surface at BMW, had this to say: “Data-based solutions help us secure and further extend our stringent quality requirements to the benefit of our customers.

“Smart data analytics and AI serve as key decision-making aids for our team when it comes to developing process improvements. We have filed for several patents relating to this innovative dust particle analysis technology.”

The results

One example of where this technology can be used is during different times of the year where dust particles may become more of an issue. The algorithm can detect this trend ahead of time and alert the paint shop staff that a filter should be replaced.

Advising the plant when to replace or fine-tune the ostrich feathers used to remove dust particles, if the level of dust reaches a certain threshold, is another example of where this analysis could be used.

BMW is hoping that this technology could be rolled out to more plants once the pilot has been completed.

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