Ford uses 2-D data matrix reader in truck assembly

The Ford F150 plant in Dearborn, MI, uses a fully automated build-order system to produce its trucks.


The Ford F150 plant in Dearborn, MI, uses a fully automated build-order system to produce its trucks. Ford needed an efficient way to verify multiple frame types as each chassis was placed onto the production line. Due to the size and position of the chassis, the system had to capture a label from a distance of more than 20 ft and encompass a 3-ft-wide field of view. Ford also needed to use technology that would avoid up-charges from parts suppliers. RFID was seen as cost-prohibitive compared to the near-zero cost of adding the 2-D Data Matrix symbol to an existing paper label.

Ford installed ImageID Ltd.’s Visidot system at the frame entrance to the plant to identify and verify each chassis type before it reached the conveyor belt inside. The reader captures a 2D Data Matrix label affixed to each chassis and confirms in real-time with Ford’s production line controller that the chassis is correct and can enter.

Rami Kopelman, ImageID VP sales and marketing, said the Ford installation shows advantages 2D data matrix automatic identification and data capture over RFID and linear barcode. The installation was implemented with help from Visidot partner Wireless & Barcode. Since December 2004, ImageID says, accuracy of the line has been 100%.

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering,

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