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Solar Panel Production: Mondragon found the right solution with In-Sight vision

Mondragon Solar cell center calculation using vision software

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Mondragon Assembly in Spain designs and manufactures systems and equipment for automation and robotic guided assembly processes in the solar sector. They needed a reliable solution for their solar cell manufacturing equipment in order to ensure the quality inspection of solar cell panels while in production. A powerful vision solution was required that could handle high-speed production while performing different inspection tasks all the while ensuring that the delicate product remained intact. In-Sight® vision systems from Cognex are now performing the inspection tasks ensuring zero fault production.

Tackling the alignment issue

Solar cell production is expensive and involves a high level of automation in large volumes. Therefore, quality is critical to maintain a competitive advantage and solar cell alignment has been a great challenge. In addition to centering the solar cell properly, the system performs defect checks, such as inspecting for broken edges or cracks, verifying dimensions, positioning in relation to the edges, etc.

Machinery for assembling and handling solar cells and panels requires high precision inspection and positioning systems. Mondragon Assembly inspection applications increasingly require stability, robustness and greater flexibility in their machines. Cognex In-Sight vision systems offer flexible programming capacity for machine operation. This flexibility, coupled with robust In-Sight hardware, afforded Mondragon the necessary stability they sought. The first systems were developed and integrated with the support of local Cognex partner integrator Ikusmen Artificial Visión, S.L..

Vision systems bring flexibility in the guiding and handling of solar cells and panels with high precision. Vision systems consistently detect extremely small defects in damaged or badly soldered cells for nearly 100% quality control.

In-Sight brings ease of use

In-Sight offered advantages such as ease of connection and configuration as well as the programming power of the “spreadsheet”. Vision also controls the positioning of the cell and with adequate calibration, indicates its position by a robotic arm. Furthermore, Cognex innovation ensures that regular improvements, software updates and the latest vision tools are available for In-Sight systems. The powerful, patented PatMax® tool is the innovative industry standard part location algorithm from Cognex that provides accurate and reliable location of parts significantly reducing or eliminating fixturing requirements and costs. With such innovation, Mondragon can be assured that the solar cells being produced in their machines are 100% quality inspected.

The best vision system for the task

“We were able to find the solution to the problem,” confirmed Jean Philippe Aguerre, Project Leader for Robotics at Mondragon. “The Cognex In-Sight system’s technical capacities such as the Ethernet port, real-time remote operation, fast processing, and In-Sight Explorer software were fundamental to solving the problems we were confronted with. The software is easy to use and has an optimum adjustment range. At the end of the day, the price was not what mattered most, but rather the quality and expert support.”

Motivated by their success with the Cognex In-Sight 5000 series, the engineers at Mondragon continue to place their trust in the quality of Cognex products for other production lines.

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