Not long ago we reported about Ford using new 3-D technology in the meshing of ring and pinion gears as the rear-end axle gears are assembled in its Dearborn, Mich., assembly plant. Now Ford is expanding the use of high-speed 3-D cameras in the paint shop at many more plants.
In a recent press release (click here to download), Ford notes it is using this technology to scan for microscopically sized dirt particles in the paint shop; it could improve the final surface quality of every pickup truck that rolls off the line. The system scans each vehicle, capturing more than 3,100 images in a 15-second sweep of the vehicle, and then warns an assembly operator of any contamination. The scans are compared to a computer model, and the operator polishes and buffs out the imperfections. Ford says the system has dropped customer complaints relating to paint finish by 82 percent.
This new technology will be rolled out to other Ford car, crossover, SUV and truck plants this year. We expect Ford will find other uses for this optical software to help improve product quality.
To download the full press release, click here.