EuroQ News

02.02.2016

EuroQ involved in the QUASI 4.0 Project

QUASI 4.0 – It’s all about quality assurance and Industry 4.0. In practical terms, Berlin’s “QUASI 4.0” innovation forum is looking to develop a software system for optical quality control in mass production. EuroQ is also on board, taking responsibility as the quality assurer in the process.

The idea behind QUASI 4.0 is close cooperation between people and machines, because quality control measures conducted solely by humans or solely by machines both have their limits. In the future, qualified inspectors will ideally be trained in this new software and the inspection itself will be conducted more easily on the basis of growing sets of data or OK/NOK.

Peter Jokiel, Operating Manager at EuroQ, is the QUASI 4.0 EuroQ representative. Here he gives us an insight into the project and EuroQ’s expectations from the company’s involvement.

Exactly how does this form of quality control work?

Visual inspection and camera images progressively teach the software to better recognize the borders between OK parts and NOK parts. Any part that deviates from the ideal picture or permitted “defects” is identified and sorted out as an NOK part. The inspector then decides whether the deviation is still acceptable or not, and then feeds this information back to the software. This continuously improves the system’s artificial intelligence and helps the inspector to identify even the tiniest defects that are not visible to the human eye. Parts that have been sorted out for manual inspection and subsequently approved by the inspector are fed back into the production run as OK parts.

Are there already similar systems in operation?

The food products industry already uses similar systems, and visual camera inspection is also used frequently in the automobile industry for small parts. QUASI 4.0 is aimed at developing these camera controls further and also providing solutions for large parts. Examples of this include sheet metal surfaces in bodywork construction (identifying necking, indicators and cracks resulting from the metalworking process), and products made from rubber or with surfaces that undergo tactile adaptation. Digital imaging is especially difficult in these situations, because identifying defects also has to account for different angles and lighting influences.

What expertise is EuroQ contributing to this project?

EuroQ has built up a high level of special expertise in recent years, particularly in Body in White and Surface Inspection. Some 70 specialists work in this capacity for a variety of customers at our locations in Rastatt, Hannover and Bremen, Germany, where we not only conduct the inspections, but also the finishing work on the parts. We can see that our expertise is recognized in the industry by the rising number of Body in White orders we receive. These qualifications make us an ideal partner for this kind of innovative project.

Could the implementation of this kind of system also result in job losses?

Yes and no. Primarily, we see an opportunity to improve our services. The aim for all of us is to reduce defects and improve the automobile as a consumer product. If machines help us with this, that’s all the better. The “human” factor will never become completely superfluous in the introduction of this type of system, because automated surface inspection systems will continue to be operated by employees. And parts sorted out by the system as “NOK” still have to be more closely examined by inspectors. 

Why has EuroQ decided to become involved in this type of project?

EuroQ is already well-known for the innovative application of IT and for extensive data collection: examples include our scanner tools, the Pumas for flash work actions or also the use of tablets with customers where we register all the information regarding the inspection and finishing work in descriptions which the customers can then directly sign and upload into their IT systems. This saves us time in the day-to-day schedule, and that in turn is good for the budgets.

In addition, we are constantly working very specifically on our services portfolio by coming up with the most innovative possible solution approaches to meet our customers’ needs. For us, QUASI 4.0 represents a new opportunity to position ourselves as the best problem-solver on the market. And who knows, maybe soon we will be talking with customers about a new service we can provide in connection with QUASI 4.0. 

Find out more information about this innovative project here.