Robotics

Increasing efficiency in EV battery box inspection

1st July 2021
Joe Bush

SmartRay has partnered with robotics specialist KUKA to deliver a solution for electric vehicle battery box inspection that has led to reduced customer quality claims.

The challenge for automobile manufacturers using lithium batteries is to ensure that the battery box, which often occupies the complete underside of an electric vehicle, is automatically and thoroughly tested for weak points. The position of the battery box means that it makes a significant contribution to the structural integrity of the vehicle, and so must undergo a high level of inspection with a single sensor.

There are typically more than 200 welds on an installed battery box, consisting of a mix of different materials including high-alloy aluminium (EN AW 6000). These include laser sealing weld, floor plate welds, MIG welds, flat-milled welds, and friction stir welds. Also, the floor plate and geometry of the battery box are difficult to reach by an inspection system, while the high-alloy aluminium presents an additional challenge due to its reflective surface. To solve these challenges, SmartRay introduced its JOSY weld inspection system, which uses the high-definition, cutting-edge 3D ECCO 95+ sensor.

The ECCO 95.040+ sensor provided reachability for all seams, ensuring 100% weld inspection of the battery box, including pore and spatter detection at levels down to 0.1mm. In addition, JOSY’s inspection features for the battery box inspection include structural requirements (throat thickness and undercuts), spatters (risk of soft pack slit or misfit), and welding defects.

Bernd Lorösch, Business Unit manager, JOSY, at SmartRay, said: “Using the JOSY weld inspection system ensured less risk for customer claims around quality. Together with KUKA, it also has increased efficiency within the manufacturing process through continuous improvement, rapid feedback on the welding process, and by identifying preventative maintenance opportunities. This reduces the time needed for inspection, improves productivity and reduces manufacturing costs.”

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