Fully automated in-line measurement

BENTELER Automotive checks camber angle using industrial metrology of AICON.


Vehicles are expected to meet ever higher efficiency standards without sacrificing safety and driving dynamics. Despite weight and cost optimization, suspension systems must be safe even after traveling thousands of kilometers. One of the tasks of BENTELER JIT Düsseldorf GmbH is to ensure these needs are met successfully. The company checks the camber angle between shock absorber and brake disc with AICON's optical 3D coordinate measuring machine MoveInspect HR. It is a fully automated in-line measurement solution!

Bundled competence for vehicle construction

With approximately 30,000 employees and 170 locations in 37 countries, the BENTELER Group stands for outstanding material, manufacturing, and technology expertise in the areas Automotive, Steel/Tube and Distribution. The BENTELER Automotive division develops and produces in 28 countries ready to install modules, components and parts for body, chassis and engine.

As a full service supplier of almost all major vehicle manufacturers, the company offers customized solutions for a wide range of products in the safety, environmental and efficiency sectors.

The Chassis business unit offers a comprehensive service portfolio for chassis systems: from initial idea, design and system calculation, selection of materials and determination of the best production technology, right through to implementing the first prototype and, finally, development for series production.

The BENTELER plant in Düsseldorf is located in direct vicinity to the Daimler AG production plant. Front axle modules are mounted for the "Sprinter" in the BENTELER facility. The base body is equipped with various components such as wishbones, torsion bars, shock absorbers, steering knuckles and brake discs. The camber angle between brake disc and shock absorber is preset automatically. The correct setting of the camber is important, because this affects tire wear and the driving dynamics of the vehicle. AICON's industrial metrology MoveInspect HR is used to check the setting.

Since August 2015, the MoveInspect HR has been successfully deployed at BENTELER Automotive. The camera is mounted on a rail and can be easily moved for determination of the camber angle on both sides of the front axle in two different positions.

Fast measurement during assembly

Various requirements for different front axle modules are stored in the measuring plan. The user selects the appropriate parameters and performs the measurement. A measurement may take no more than 90 seconds because production cycle times must not be interrupted. To keep the measuring and recording process as simple as possible, AICON application engineers have set up a measurement procedure that enables a systematic approach for technicians: e.g. selection of the user and various camber angles, and instructions about attachment of adapters to brake discs and shock absorbers. Measuring adapters are easily mounted with a magnetic holder.

The so-called reference adapter sits on the brake disk and creates a reference coordinate system for the measurement. The measuring points are located at the foot of the shock absorber adapter. The MoveInspect camera captures both adapters and calculates in real time the 3D data that are necessary to determine the camber angle between the shock absorber and brake disc. The evaluation and data logging process is carried out by the programmed measurement plan so that assembly can continue without delays. MoveInspect HR therefore helps optimize production processes.

MoveInspect HR shows three-dimensional geometric states and changes, and delivers reliable and accurate measuring results. By using calibrated cameras, 3D data are automatically computed from the captured images in real time. In contrast to traditional methods, AICON's 3D metrology is able to collect many points simultaneously. The MoveInspect systems are therefore significantly faster and more accurate in many applications than conventional measurement systems, such as for example measuring arms.

BENTELER Automotive chose MoveInspect HR to replace a 2-camera system of Creaform. Michael Herzig, responsible for Quality Planning and Tool Management at BENTELER Automotive, is satisfied with the results provided by AICON: "What convinced us from the outset was the modular concept of the MoveInspect product family versus the 'complete packages' offered by competitors." Our goal is maximum accuracy and effectiveness for all processes. These requirements are met with the system: Measurement times are significantly shortened at a high level of quality and can be performed within plant cycle times. This is precisely our requirement at the JIT plant. The system could be well integrated into our production line, is user-oriented as well as easy and quick to use."

Thanks to the modular principle of the MoveInspect technology, user hardware and software components can be combined according to the measuring task, and the existing measurement system can be easily expanded for new measuring tasks. MoveInspect is therefore a long-term solution for BENTELER Automotive. The company attaches importance to technological leadership, also in the choice of its cooperation partners, and has already ordered the handheld MI.Probe that will enable it to solve more measuring tasks in production if necessary.