How Porsche automates quality control of signs and labels in vehicle production
Porsche cars are known all over the world for the quality of its engineering. High quality is very demanding and time-consuming. Various manual inspections are mandatory to ensure quality standards in production. Quality control in the assembly line is time-consuming: for example, labels need to be checked by the employees for faults like tears, efects or missing labels. Some labels contain country-specific information in the customer’s language, which is very time-consuming to verify. With intelligent Sign Inspection (iSI) based on the Industrial Computer Vision framework (ICV) Porsche addresses this problem by an application that provides guided installation, documentation and quality control of registration-relevant signs and labels. With this solution, Porsche not only aims to save time and financial resources, but also to significantly stabilize its production processes. Read in this success story how Porsche is automating quality checks in vehicle production – with great potential for scalability.
Our vision is to further automate the quality control of signs and labels
Challenge – excellent usability for the end-customer vs. a lot of labels for the employee at the production line
Each Porsche contains up to 25 labels with information about safety, usability or car specifications. The labels are written in the customer’s language and customized to the destination countries legal regulations. Throughout the quality control and testing processes in production, it is mandatory to check each of these labels for correctness: Are the correct labels attached? Is one missing? Are there any faults like tears or defects? Is the information on the labels correct? This check is essential to ensure the high-quality standards and to avoid unrecognized errors.
In today's vehicle production, the quality inspection is done largely manual, resulting in time-consuming processes and a remaining risk of lacking reliability due to the fact that labels must be provided in many different languages. The described challenge is not a unique situation at the Porsche plant in Leipzig or Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen but well known throughout the Volkswagen Group with its 120+ plants and the entire automotive industry.
Solution – an incredible potential of optimization due to intelligent and automated sign inspection
An interdisciplinary team from Porsche Leipzig and Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen as well as the Volkswagen Software Development Center in Dresden has built a solution to automate quality inspections of signs and labels in the assembly line at the Porsche plants in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen and Leipzig. The basis of this pioneering approach is the intelligent Sign Inspection System (iSI), which recognizes labels either via stationary cameras in the production line or via an image recognition application on mobile devices. While the inspection with the stationary cameras is an automatically integrated part in the assembly process, the App is the frontend for the users. The application guides the worker through the quality check by firstly instructing the user to scan the production number of the vehicle, to identify and get the target data. In a second step, the worker scans the label, which is evaluated in the backend of the application. The result of the automated check is then visualized for the production expert, who can then derive the appropriate action, like removing any faults or initiating additional steps.
iSI is based on a framework for image recognition called Industrial Computer Vision (ICV), an in-house development of the Volkswagen Group. Technically ICV uses a modular approach, which consists of three services: ICV Core for libraries and model management, the ICV Camera Service, which is the API for connecting the camera to the ICV backend and furthermore contains a feature that anonymizes persons for data protection. The third service of ICV is the ICV Training Toolkit, a tool to label training data that can be used by end-users.
Key benefits – accelerating intelligent Sign Inspection to the cloud, 120+ Volkswagen plants and beyond
The service of intelligent Sign Inspection with the underlying Industrial Computer Vision framework reduces complexity in production processes and enables production experts to operate with advanced tools at the Porsche plants in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen and Leipzig. Since the solution is based on the Digital Production Platform (DPP), it can be reused and scaled to all Volkswagen plants in the world.
With the modular approach of ICV and the standardized services of iSI, we can not only transfer our solution to other Volkswagen brands and companies, but also use the functionalities to implement more computer vision use cases throughout production and logistics.