Toshiba and Gestamp partner to leverage IoT and AI for high-precision detection of weld seam quality
Toshiba Digital & Consulting Corporation (TDX) and Spain’s Gestamp, a multinational specialized in the design, development and manufacture of highly engineered metal components for top vehicle manufacturers, are cooperating in a project to bring advanced monitoring and analysis to the welding of vehicle chassis parts.
By drawing on know-how from the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), and utilizing data from camera images and acoustic emission (AE) sensors, the companies aim to secure very high-precision detection of weld seam quality, which will contribute to improved vehicle safety.
Gestamp is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of metal components for automobiles, with more than 100 factories in 22 countries. Gestamp is promoting a number of projects under the Industry 4.0 initiative, applying digital technology and data analysis to the realization of more efficient manufacturing plants and more consistent and reliable production processes.
TDX has been working with Gestamp since April 2018 on a proof-of-concept initiative that has monitored the quality of the welds in chassis parts produced at a Gestamp plant in the United Kingdom. This initiative brings AE sensors typically used to test for damage in bridges and large buildings to the manufacturing process.
The sensors detect the characteristics of acoustic waves in the high frequency band, and Toshiba’s AI analysis technology uses the data to identify welding failures. Over the last 17 months, Gestamp has validated the initiative and its ability to ensure the quality of welds in chassis parts.
Mitsui & Co., Ltd., an investor in both Gestamp and TDX, promoted cooperation between the companies and facilitated the project.
TDX, along with Toshiba Corporation and Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation, have built on the proof of concept results and now aiming to further improve the welding detection technology. Drawing on the manufacturing expertise of Toshiba Group, the companies have developed an IoT solution that applies Toshiba’s AI analysis technology to data from internal welding quality detection by AE sensors, along with surface welding quality detection based on camera image data.
The three companies are now deploying this upgraded solution at a Gestamp plant in Germany. Proving tests will continue until March next year, and are expected to increase the precision of the welding quality detection rate, enable deployment at other Gestamp factories, and accelerate efforts toward full-scale commercialization.