AI welding inspection for bus frames uses Advantech hardware

Ensuring the safety and structural integrity of vehicles is of utmost importance. Traditional inspection methods for bus frame welding are time-consuming and labour-intensive, and lead to inconsistencies and potential safety hazards. AI welding inspection improves quality, safety, and throughput.Collaborating with major producer of electric buses Tron-e, Advantech helped develop an AI welding inspection system for bus-frames. Markedly, it replaces traditional time-consuming and labour-intensive inspections with efficient and precise methods to ensure the safety of large buses.

AI welding inspection

Manufacturing buses involves meticulous attention to detail, particularly when it comes to welding quality. Unfortunately, human welders can become fatigued or distracted after long hours of high-intensity work. The discrepancy between the design analysed through Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) and the actual manufactured result poses a significant safety concern. For a large bus, there are more than 500 welding points for individual checking. This process takes at least two hours to complete one inspection. Tron-E recognised this challenge and sought to develop an AI system to address the issue.

The resulting system for bus frame AI welding inspections offers an efficient and precise alternative to the traditional manual inspections. By leveraging AI visual recognition, the system can identify weld pitches and bead sizes, crucial factors in determining welding quality. Training of the AI model uses classified images of various welding defects, enabling it to detect and analyse potential flaws.

Advantech hardware platform

Equipped with three cameras, an AI hardware platform, a display screen, and lithium batteries, the AI system mounts on a mobile trolley. It captures images of welded vehicle frames from several angles, and the real-time AI inference model allows inspectors to identify substandard weld beads. Following corrective action, they repeat the inspection until all weld beads meet the required standards. They then save the final inspection file and upload it to the server as part of the electronic production history of the bus.

The Role of Reliable Hardware:

A robust and powerful hardware platform is vital for the smooth operation of an AI quality control system. Tron-E evaluated various AI hardware platforms and chose Advantech’s MIC-730AI. This AI inference system, based on NVIDIA Jetson Xavier, delivers exceptional performance and stability. Also, its fanless design prevents dust from compromising its operation, and the low power consumption allows for battery-powered inspections.

Complete Functionality and Support:

The MIC-730AI offers extensive I/O interfaces for connecting to multiple cameras. When needed, Advantech’s iDoor module and iModule enable users to expand the system’s I/Os. Furthermore, Advantech provides comprehensive technical support, including the MIC-730AI-exclusive development Board Support Package (BSP) software and detailed manuals. Another key point is that these resources speed up the integration and configuration process, enabling quick deployment in factory production lines.

The AI welding inspection collaboration between Tron-E and Advantech aims to end safety hazards and ensure consistent product quality. In the past, product inspections often relied on sampling, which left room for variations between vehicles. In particular, the AI inspection system developed in this partnership guarantees accuracy and efficiency, allowing for comprehensive inspections of every manufactured vehicle. By implementing this system, Tron-E prioritises bus safety. Moreover, they plan to export the technology to their partners worldwide, enhancing the safety and quality standards of the entire industry.

The Tron-E and Advantech collaboration revolutionises the inspection process for bus frame welding. By harnessing the power of AI, engineers have replaced traditional labour-intensive inspections with efficient and precise methods. This innovative AI inspection system ensures the structural integrity and safety of large buses, reducing inspection time and costs. With this groundbreaking technology, they are setting new industry standards and enabling bus manufacturers worldwide to produce safer products with consistent quality.


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