Perceptron Inc. has announced that Toyota Motor Corp. has installed its AutoSpect[R] paint quality measurement system on nine paint lines in Japan and Europe over the last 18 months.

An additional system was shipped to Japan in the fourth quarter of 2002 for installation at a 10th paint line in Japan. Negotiations are currently under way for similar installations at Toyota’s North American plants.

“The Perceptron AutoSpect system makes it possible to achieve and validate a consistent, high-quality finish that looks the same on every vehicle regardless of whether that vehicle was produced in North America, Europe, or Japan,” says Bill Corriveau, Perceptron senior vice president. “That is why AutoSpect has been adopted to assist global production control.”

The quality measurement system is installed in Toyota’s new assembly plant in France and three plants in Japan, including one where its premium brand of Lexus luxury cars are produced. The new Toyota installation will monitor paint quality at a fourth plant in Japan.

The system is a non-contact, automated measurement system that checks the critical characteristics affecting the appearance quality of painted surfaces such as orange peel, distinctness of image (DOI) and gloss. Traditional paint quality assessment methods include subjective visual evaluation or manually measuring only a few vehicles per day.

The system performs these checks on every vehicle that is produced. In addition, Perceptron’s exclusive IPNet™ web-based platform makes the data available to company engineers anywhere in the world for comparison and analysis. Using the remote access capability, engineers are able to routinely check the up-to-the-minute paint quality of vehicles from plants throughout Japan and in Europe.

“The appearance of finished painted surfaces affects the customers’ overall perception of vehicle quality so AutoSpect helps our customers gain that advantage,” Corriveau said. “AutoSpect also helps manufacturers monitor and control their paint processes because the data identifies trends, repetitive pattern errors, and unintended process changes.”

The system’s data is based on the proprietary AutoSpect (1-100) scale of paint appearance developed in the 1990s which has been widely adopted by global automobile and paint manufacturers. Systems using this scale have been sold to DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda and PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), among others.

Perceptron produces information-based process improvement solutions for industry as well as technology components for non-contact measurement and inspection applications. For more information, visit www.perceptron.com.

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