LEONI Wheel & Tire Validation System Delivers High Inspection Accuracy Rate for JIT Supplier

With the automotive industry’s push towards 100 percent product inspection, today’s manufacturers are relying more and more on the use of machine vision to reach this goal. To accommodate escalating expectations from its automaker customers, a leading just-in-time (JIT) supplier of tire and wheel assemblies installed LEONI’s Wheel & Tire Validation System at two of its plants, with impressive results: significantly shorter cycle times and an industry-leading inspection accuracy rate.

LEONI’s validation system, a production-ready standard product, uses machine vision technology and LEONI’s application-specific software that can support more than 100 wheel and tire models and combinations to prevent mismatched wheels and tires.

“The industry is looking for more than simply confirming the correct tire on the correct wheel,” says Andy Reed, Sales Engineer at LEONI Engineering Products & Services, Inc. (LEPS). “Our validation system accurately and reliably performs specific inspections on both the tires and wheels, even at the smallest detail.”

On the wheel, the automated inspection system validates features such as style, diameter, and center cap color, and orientation. “We can do things such as verify a primary, or accent, color; identify custom markings and shadings; as well as detect several levels of gloss,” Reed says.

On tires, the system can identify tread pattern, width and height, DOT information, text and more. By looking at these features individually, the system can validate the correct tire/wheel combination. Overall validation results also include balance ID mark alignment and logo/feature orientation on the assembly. 

Not only does the LEONI Wheel & Tire Validation System inspect a broad range of characteristics, it does so rapidly and accurately. For this JIT customer, LEONI averaged under 2.5 seconds for overall inspection time – from point of trigger to result, with some inspections taking only 1.2 seconds. At the onset of the project, LEPS committed to an inspection accuracy rate of 99.4 percent for the customer but delivered 99.7 percent.

The shorter cycle times and improved throughput appealed to LEONI’s customer. As a JIT supplier, the company has short lead times to assemble and validate wheel and tire assemblies before shipping them to the automaker’s facility for installation on vehicles. As an added-value, the LEONI system allows the customer to simplify changeover and new-model training, resulting in reduced maintenance and operational costs.

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