Hexagon halves quality inspection cycles and enables flexible manufacturing with the PRESTO robotic inspection cell

3 mins read

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has launched its new automated robotic inspection cell PRESTO, enabling manufacturers to reduce quality inspection times, increase efficiency, and streamline workflows.

PRESTO will enable customers, such as automotive OEMs, to cope with the dynamic demands of the market – such as the shift to electric mobility – by increasing measurement capacity, and thus reducing time to market.

The solution builds on Hexagon’s leading HxGN Robotic Automation software which has supported the automotive sector through an uncertain market to integrate Hexagon’s state of the art 3D scanning and absolute positioning technologies and software in a single turn-key solution.

Manufacturers cannot afford to re-tool a whole production line to pivot to building Electric Vehicles (EVs) over Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs) or setting up inbound inspection of a car door from a supplier. With PRESTO, Hexagon is adapting quality inspection for a dynamic, unpredictable time, as well as enabling the future of smaller-batch production of larger volume parts. 

PRESTO enables end-to-end inspection in a turnkey package and is powered by the best 3D-laser scanning technologies in the industry, ensuring that any surface, even highly reflective materials, can be easily inspected. It is designed to enable the future of automated inspection by: 

  • Reducing inspection time: Compared to other solutions on the market, PRESTO does not require a part to be specially prepared for inspection, and with no need to clean it afterwards. The automated robotic cell is also quick and easy to set-up, meaning that the total time to inspect a part, such as a car door, can be reduced by up to half. PRESTO also processes data in real-time, ensuring engineers can access information quickly and not have to wait to postprocess data once a part has been scanned. 
  • Optimising the product lifecycle: PRESTO connects inspection to the rest of a manufacturer’s ecosystem. PRESTO can be fully programmed offline with a digital twin of the cell. This allows the programmer to progress the quality inspection set-up while the operator is conducting the measurements, offering maximum equipment efficiency and return on investment. Data from the inspection can also be compared to the digital twin, ensuring that design matches reality.
  • Making quality inspection easier: PRESTO requires minimal set-up, automates processes and is designed to be as easy to use as a smartphone. The system is also designed to be useable by quality professionals without robotics expertise, providing a safer and more efficient environment for manufacturers. This helps manufacturers who are facing skilled labour shortages, such as robotic engineers, who can now be freed-up to undertake more value-add tasks. Crucially, the speed and ease of the set-up means the system can be quickly adjusted to inspect different batches, parts, or vehicles on a shared assembly line, offering unparalleled flexibility.
  • Improving safety: This robotic cell is built with safety in mind. Clear walls ensure others on the factory floor can safely see what’s happening and the mobile workstation enables the operator to freely choose the right distance to safely monitor the inspection. 

Ram Ravi, industry principal at Frost & Sullivan, said: “Hexagon's PRESTO offers a turn-key solution to customers, empowering them by streamlining inspection processes and optimizing product lifecycles. With its well-established hardware and software portfolio, Hexagon's modular approach to automated inspection demonstrates its commitment to addressing changing customer dynamics. By enabling non-experts to run inspections and eliminating the need for additional software training, PRESTO promises to deliver significant value to customers.”

Nicolas Lachaud-Bandres, automated solutions director at Hexagon said: “Most manufacturers we speak to are keen to automate the inspection process. However, systems are often complex, expensive and require a robotics expert to run them – something which is particularly difficult at a time when the sector is facing a skills and labour shortage.

“At Hexagon, we’re on a mission to empower manufacturers with fast access to critical quality data. So, we believe this roadblock to automating inspection needs to be removed. That’s why we’ve created PRESTO – a solution that enables the future of automated inspection by making it accessible not just to large OEM’s, but all their suppliers. It’s an off-the-shelf solution that is simple to install, implement, and operate, and can help manufacturers reduce inspection time and costs, without the need for robotics expertise every time something changes.

“Today's manufacturers are facing huge challenges as entire industries transform. Automotive manufacturers, for example, face their greatest transition in a century. To remain competitive, they must integrate new technologies, increase agility and efficiency, and deliver the next generation of smart, connected electric vehicles. With PRESTO, they can automate processes, improve quality control and, ultimately, reduce time to market.”