The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Models and Technology

Measuring sticks are a thing of the past

Digital technology provides completely new, efficient options for testing. M.A.R.S. checks fittings in car body construction.

1 The learning process

The fittings’ 3D construction data (in yellow) are superimposed over the video image of the camera. Werthmann ensures that everything is exactly superimposed on top of the other by using the zooming function.

2 Searching for errors

Werthmann uses his index finger to slowly draw a red line on the tablet from left to right. He uses M.A.R.S. to compare the constructed fitting to the millimeter with its 3D construction data.

3 Reporting

An error has been found – the red circle indicates that something in the fitting doesn’t fit. A tensioner (in grey at the back) has to be moved. This error is documented on the tablet and the image is quickly transmitted to eliminate the problem.

All part of the daily routine in body construction. The employees there apply the fittings to weld the bumpers or door linings with exact precision. A digital system has been providing new opportunities for digital testing on the production line for more than a year now.It is called “Markerless Augmented Reality System”, “M.A.R.S.” for short. “Augmented Reality” is real and virtual data superimposed in the same image. The system uses the virtual 3D model of the fitting’s construction. M.A.R.S. combines the data with the image that a camera takes of the fitting when it is being manufactured. It then compares the target status and actual status to the millimeter.

Maik Werthmann, industrial mechanic
in the construction of fittings in Wolfsburg, demonstrates how he uses M.A.R.S. His testing instrument is a tablet with a camera installed with the system. The 28-year-old points out: “Two hours are sufficient to learn M.A.R.S.”

This handy tablet will replace costly measuring instruments and complicated test procedures in future. Carsten Stöver, Project Leader in the Pre-Series Center, stresses: “M.A.R.S. will take over from the yardstick at the assembly line step by step. It saves effort, money and time and can check nearly everything related to body construction, as well as in other areas.” And it’s very flexible. “You could even check on whether the tomato and pickle are correctly positioned on a hamburger if the 3D data set for it were on hand”, he chuckles. The future has already begun with the new measuring stick at the Wolfsburg plant. M.A.R.S. is also being used at the sites in Osnabrück and Braunschweig. To be continued. Inquiries from China and Slovakia have already arrived.