Ever heard of dirt detection technology? An industry first uses high-resolution cameras to generate a 3D model where Ford can identify and get rid of dirt particles smaller than a grain of salt on the paint surface of new vehicles during assembly.
This new dirt technology by Ford performs microscopic scans of each painted vehicle surface, which then cues final assembly operators to address where repairs need to be made. Before this new technology, paint inspections were trusted only by the human eye.
"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.
3D imaging uses different angles of light and applies varying degrees to scope out the paint surface to identify irregular paint surfaces. 3,150 images are taken every 15 seconds for every single vehicle made. After that the photos are stitched together to make one full 3D image that is then compared digitally to a perfect computer model.
"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.”
Regarding dust and dirt, the smallest of particles can slip into the tightest of spaces. Now these particles can be detected and eliminated before the vehicles ever hit the sales floor, ensuring a flawless paint surface.
This new dirt technology is currently used on the F-Series in Dearborn, Michigan’s truck plant as well as the Valencia Assembly Plant in Spain, which assembles the Ford C-MAX, and the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville where the Ford Expedition and the Ford Super Duty trucks are built.
Later this year you can expect these plants to use the current dirt technology: Louisville Assembly Plant for the Ford Escape; Chicago Assembly Plant for the Ford Taurus, Police Interceptor and Ford Explorer; and the Oakville Assembly in Ontario Canada for the Ford Edge and Ford Flex.
Come 2014 and the dirt technology will reach the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan for the Ford Mustang and Ford Fusion, and the Kansas City Assembly Plant for the Ford F-Series.