BMW Group uses X-ray measurements for vehicle analysis

The BMW Group has introduced computer tomography (CT) into prototype development, production and analysis. The company says that thanks to this technology, the full range of vehicles, from MINI to Rolls-Royce, can now be quality-controlled even in the early stages of development.

Scans are performed by four robots which move around the prototype to produce several thousand cross-sectional images. These are then used for detailed examinations of innovations, new materials and bonding technologies.

BMW says that until now, vehicles have had to be dismantled for analysis, but CT allows checks to be carried out with the vehicle completely intact. The new X-ray system is based in the BMW Group Pilot Plant in the Research & Innovation Centre (FIZ) in Munich, at the intersection between Development and Production.

This degree of detail, BMW says, is required for a range of reasons – to check welds and punch screw connections, and to verify body condition before and after painting, where extreme temperatures can affect adhesive bonds. Findings from the scan are then used as a basis for making targeted modifications to series production.

The four coordinated robots work in pairs and send X-rays through the vehicle across to their counterparts. The data they collect is then put through a specially developed computer program that calculates a multi-layered, three-dimensional image. This forms the basis for a detailed analysis of the internal workings of the vehicle, offering information on objects as small as the width of a human hair.

Engineers are currently carrying out research to establish how far Artificial Intelligence might be used to evaluate findings. By processing large amounts of data, the software can learn the many different patterns that occur, link individual items of data, and gradually evaluate findings automatically.

Source: Motor Trader Aug Edition

9 Aug 2018