3D Dirt detection system at Ford ensures paint perfection

Article by Anita Panait, on August 26, 2013

Ford’s new F-Series models are the latest vehicles to take advantage of the carmaker’s industry-first dirt detection technology that ensures optimal paint and surface quality. The dirt detection system employs high-resolution cameras and reflected light to digitally identify surface imperfections that are even finer than a grain of salt in final vehicle assembly.

The system then will cue operators where to polish and buff out imperfections. Thanks to its dirt detection technology, Ford was able to improve paint quality and cut customer complaints of vehicle surface finish by 82 percent within one year, as measured by customer warranty data for F-Series models produced at its Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan. Tom Dougan, project manager for global paint applications at Ford, remarked that the new dirt detection system ensures better paint jobs and surface finishes for customers around the world.

In the past, Ford relies on the human eye for paint and surface inspections. The technology’s The 3D imaging system applies varying degrees and angles of light while scoping the paint surface of vehicle bodies to be able to identify dirt in paint and other irregular paint conditions. The system will then stitch together 3,150 high-resolution images that were captured in 15 seconds for every vehicle made for a full 3D image that will be digitally compared to a perfect computer model.

“This system ensures better paint jobs and surface finishes for Ford customers around the world,” said Tom Dougan, project manager, global paint applications at Ford. “This is one of the most exciting integrations of optical science and digital technology in the automotive industry,” said Dougan. “By combining innovations in vision technology, processing speed and software, Ford continues to invent new technologies that give our customers better paint quality and surpass competitor offerings.” [source: Ford]

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