Fully Automatic Engine Marking System

Ford USA

Automatic Engine Marking System

Flatrock Assembly Plant (FRAP)


FORD required an automatic engine and gearbox marking system with a vision system to be installed within their existing production line.

Redstart Design was ideally placed with its in house resource and skilled engineers to take this on.

There was a challenge that faced us….FORD only had a 10 week lead time with an install over the Christmas shutdown……. It was our first order into the USA so we were keen to impress and make the project work.. and deliver on time…. Which I am glad to say we did.

The back end of this Redstart engine marking system consists of a linear servo driven X,Y & Z system with 2 servo driven rotational theta axis. This is tried and tested design from Redstart that has been used before in other plants.

The front end is a Redstart designed conveyor and turntable that slotted into the current conveyor OFRD had. The FORD conveyor had to be cut out so there was no going back once we started……
The space we had for the turntable was also very small so a special design had to be produced for it that was both simple and robust.

A control panel built to USA and the FORD VOSS standards was provided.
This contained the PLC, Servo drives and the Vision PC.
The controls also had to communicate with the FORD production systems, the AIS box and FIS as well as the older conveyor controls.

The vision system was Cognex based, as with most Automotive customers, they do always specify Cognex. The vision system had to first detect where the engine was and what type of engine it was. Then, once the engine and gearbox was marked the vision system would read the marks and give a pass or fail to the Redstart control system.

This system is marking engines and gearboxes (2 marks on each powertrain) with vision verification at a rate of 1 unit every 40secs.

A Robot system was not chosen due to space and cost restrictions.
With this design the footprint is small, compact and the design and operation through the HMI is simple and robust.


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