Semi-Automatic Engine Marking System

Ford USA (Dearborn / F150)

Dearborn Truck Plant (DTP)

// Project

FORD required a stand alone semi-automatic engine marking system with a vision system to be installed alongside their current production line and engine dress line at DTP.

Redstart Design was ideally placed with its in house resource and skilled engineers to take this on. The design we offered is a current Redstart design and is based on many other installations we have carried out for our engine marking systems. Each plant always wants something slightly different though… which is never an issue for us..

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 tooling platen to support the engines to be marked. Support tooling and flip tooling details were design and mounted to enable easy load and unload of the engine by the operator.
The tooling platen was also on a turntable allowing both sides of the engine to be accessed for marking. Sometimes loading is much easier in one orientation but this might not always be the correct orientation when it comes to marking the engine. The turntable gets over this issue and makes it future proof for new engines and situations in the future.

A control panel was built to USA and FORD VOSS standards providing the plant with exactly what they are used too.
This panel 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 was marked the vision system would read the mark and give a pass or fail to the Redstart control system.

This system is marking engines and confirming with a vision verification process at a rate of 1 unit every 45secs. Loading and unloading to the system is manually done by the operator and an overhead crane.

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