An introduction to the hardware behind HACARUS Check

An Introduction To The Hardware Behind HACARUS Check

Hello, I’m Shiraishi, an engineer from the Industry Division. In this article, I will introduce the devices controlled by HACARUS Check, which is being developed in the Industry Division.

HACARUS Check controls the following devices to perform inspections:

  • Robot arm
  • Ring illumination attached to the end of the robot arm
  • Camera for capturing images attached to the end of the robot arm
  • Rotating lifting table for placing the workpieces to be inspected

HACARUS Check captures images of the inspection targets from multiple angles and analyzes the obtained images for inspection purposes.

You can verify the presence of these devices through images on the introduction page of HACARUS Check, as well as videos available on the DENSO Wave website. The actual usage of these devices can be observed through that video.

In addition to the mentioned devices, we also incorporate additional devices based on the inspection targets and customer requirements. For example, the following devices have been added:

  • External button for initiating the visual inspection without the need for a keyboard/mouse
  • Signal tower for notifying inspection results
  • Automatic door that opens and closes only during the placement/retrieval of the inspection target workpieces

These additional devices are tailored to enhance the functionality and customization of the HACARUS Check system.

Each device is primarily connected via Ethernet cables and they are controlled from the control PC through the network. However, some devices such as the rotating lifting table and the external button for initiating the visual inspection are controlled via a programmable logic controller (PLC). Therefore, in addition to network-controllable devices, it is also possible to add and control devices that are compatible with PLC.

Furthermore, through the PLC, it is also possible to modify the control based on input signals received from the customer’s system. This allows for customization and flexibility in adapting the control of the devices according to the specific requirements of the customer.

Device control program

As mentioned in Mr. Usami’s article, the device control program is implemented in C#.

The main functionalities related to device control include the following:

  • A parser that reads the configuration file which defines the settings and control sequence for the devices.
  • You can receive a file as an input that contains a list of coordinates for the desired positions to move the robot arm and the rotational lift, as well as the specified order to move each device.
  • By preparing these files, users can move the devices to arbitrary positions and create their own shooting scenarios.
  • Device control/monitoring
    • Based on the aforementioned configuration file, the program establishes connections/initializes each device and controls them according to the shooting scenario.
    • In addition to device control, it also monitors the status of devices and handles events such as the external inspection start button, emergency stop button of the robot arm, and monitoring the status of each device.
  • Notification of device-related events
    • For example, when the user presses the emergency stop button, it notifies the UI of the HACARUS Check application. The UI displays this information and disables any further operations until the emergency stop button is released.

Challenges in Control Devices

When using multiple devices for imaging, one of the particular challenges lies in creating an effective imaging scenario that takes into account the actual operation and inspection time.

  • Issues in actual operation:
    • When operating the robot arm or the rotating lift table, there is a possibility of collision between devices depending on their positions and timing. Therefore, it is necessary to consider an imaging scenario that takes into account collision-free trajectories and timing.
    • Even if the operation of each device is considered complete in the software, in reality, the robot arm or the rotating lift table may experience slight movement due to factors such as the device’s operating speed or the weight/shape of the inspected workpiece. As a result, the imaging may occur while the devices are not completely stationary. In such cases, it is necessary to adjust the timing of each device’s operation or introduce delays in the imaging scenario to account for the time needed for the movement to settle and minimize any blur.
  • Reducing inspection time
    • To inspect a large volume of mass-produced workpieces, it is crucial to minimize the inspection time as much as possible.
    • Taking into account the aforementioned issues in actual operation, it is necessary to create an imaging scenario that allows each device to operate at high speed and in parallel, thereby reducing the inspection time.

What I find interesting about doing device control

While we discussed the challenges of combining devices in the previous section, it is also fascinating and rewarding to be able to detect defects that are difficult for human eyes to perceive by combining these devices. Some inspection targets have areas that are not visible unless tilted by hand or have defects that are hard to detect with the naked eye.

Addressing these challenges, which were previously reliant on human intervention for inspection, and detecting issues that are difficult for human eyes to perceive, using various devices is one of the exciting aspects of HACARUS Check development.

On a final note

In this article, we introduced the devices controlled by HACARUS Check and discussed the challenges and interesting aspects of device control. HACARUS Check will continue to introduce new devices as needed to accommodate various inspection targets.

If you are interested in realizing systems using various devices, we encourage you to apply to our company. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Click here to sign up