TPMS Systems for Automotive Assembly Lines

TPMS Fitted to a Vehicle Introduction

Bartec USA have supplied automated and manual TPMS learning and programming systems for production lines to vehicle manufacturers around the world.

Final line systems, by their very nature, must be highly reliable and need minimal user intervention if automated. The process usually includes some integration with the factory systems so that vehicles can be successfully identified before being read by the equipment. The most important design feature of the Bartec USA antenna systems is to distinguish between real and false radio signals to eliminate RF reflections and crosstalk. The Bartec USA LF and RF design of antenna system provides the very highest performance of TPMS equipment and minimises rework.

Both manual and automatic options are available, selected depending on volumes predicted. Their aim is to activate and read the Tire Pressure Sensor at each wheel (so wheels must have been previously fitted to the vehicle) and transfer the data directly to the vehicle, or to the plant database systems for audit and use by subsequent stations or at rolls testing.


Final Line Automated TPMS Process

Automatic Assembly Line TPM Test System Introduction

Bartec USA have a range of TPMS Test Antennas and Tools designed for different stages of the vehicle assembly line. These are designed to read the TPMS sensors to test them, associate them with their position on the vehicle and download their data. They are deployed on the final line and at possible rework stages.

The equipment includes a range of static antennas that can be mounted adjacent to the line to read TPMS wheels as the vehicle moves down the production line. These antennas are designed to activate 100% of all Tire Pressure sensors which pass in front of them. This is a highly scientific process. The LF (low frequency) field which emanates from the antenna is designed to give 100% coverage of the antenna at the right activation power level for the sensor. Bartec USA plot the LF field for each antenna before shipping from our factory and supply the printed 'plot' to the customer as part of the quality assurance process. The activation uses our patented multi coil activation technology to eliminate LF nulls in the field as otherwise it is possible for TPMS sensors to pass through the antenna field without activation. This reduces potential rework significantly.

Production Line Layout for TPMS Test Antennas Plant systems include:

  • Test and record, for traceability, all information for each TPMS wheel and tire fitted to a vehicle
  • Test for TPMS pressure upper and lower limits (preset in the system to fail if out of bounds)
  • Test for TPMS temperature upper and lower limits (preset in the system to fail if out of bounds)
  • Test TPMS battery status
  • Test TPMS accelerometer
  • Ensuring certainty that all wheels fitted to a TPMS vehicle, are fully assured before shipment out of the plant.
  • Automated option for large volumes of TPMS fitted vehicle wheels without impact on production cycle time
  • Manual option for small volumes or run up volumes of TPMS wheels
  • Multiple Tire Pressure Sensor types can be handled by a single system
  • High technological design ensures fast, aggressive first time read rate not affecting cycle time
  • Adjacent systems can be installed close together, without interference or cross talk saving installation space
  • Test, record and establish full traceability for all TPMS fitted vehicles
  • Minimal space requirements and flexible to fit into most places on the production line
  • Fully automated without manual intervention required
  • Automatic reading of vehicle ID to know if fitted with TPMS or not
  • Error proofing testing (TPMS not fitted to TPMS vehicle or TPMS fitted to NON-TPMS vehicle)
  • Direct plant communications to supply TPMS data directly to follow on plant systems as required

Technology

Bartec Auto ID's latest IAS (Integrated Antenna System) range of line side antennas provide the most effective solution for medium to high volume production line manufacturing systems.

The IAS provides access to multiple TPMS types and decoder requirements, fast aggressive and accurate reading, optimisation for many variables (frequency, modulation, protocol, power level, LF and RF interference etc) resulting in a very efficient solution.

The UHF transmitted by the sensor may be 315MHz, 433MHz or 309MHz and there are other variants. The Bartec USA antennas house an array of different frequency receivers to collect these UHF transmissions. The receivers are positioned to differentiate the signals coming from the wheel in front of the antenna and those being transmitted from other wheels on the car or indeed from other cars in the plant. Again this patented Bartec USA technology ensures that read rate is kept to the maximum possible level and rework to a minimum.

In some countries a further production line process is required to put the TPMS sensors to sleep so that they do not transmit during storage and shipping thereby contravening local radio legislation. This normally involves the transmission of a further LF telegram (datagram).

Typical PC Data Capture and diagnostic software supplied for Automated Test System

Typical small height cabinet containing TPMS PC and Processor Typical process

  • Wheels and Tires delivered to line assembled with Tire Pressure Sensor fitted
  • Wheels fitted to vehicle on production line (at some locations the TPMS wheels are fitted direct to the chassis before the body is added)
  • Wheels read by TPMS antenna system to reference TPMS sensor IDs to their position on the vehicle and download to plant systems (note that in some sites the spare wheel TPMS sensor is read automatically or manually)
  • Rework of any cars where the Tire Pressure Sensors are not read or the ECU is not programmed (see Rework)
  • Rolls test functionality to test the full Tire Pressure Monitoring System operation on vehicle
  • Vehicle leaves production with TPMS fitted and tested

Previous Supply

Bartec USA has supplied final line systems to Ford, GM, Subaru, Chrysler, Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Isuzu, Holden, BMW Motorcycles, Hyundai, Kia, GM Daewoo, and many other OEM's. In total over 80 final line systems have been installed making the company the worldwide market leader.


Final Line Manual TPMS Process

Moving Line Manual TPMS Test process Introduction

For lower volume production line areas, it is possible to provide a cost effective manual reading based solution.

These systems provide the following advantages:

  • Low initial hardware outlay for low volumes
  • Portable devices with long battery life and multiple vehicle reading capability
  • Barcode reading capability to read VIN or production number
  • Plant connectivity via cradle to receive data about vehicles and/or transmit data back to the plant system about TPMS tested vehicles
  • Rugged devices designed for tough plant environments
  • Automatic TPMS power and protocol selection providing easy use
  • Dual frequency reading for 315MHz and 433MHz for factories producing both TPMS types
  • Optional printer to advise of vehicle due for on-line test

TPMS Reading Process with hand tool Typical Process

  • TPMS Vehicle identified on the line
  • Portable Tool taken from cradle
  • Barcode read from Vehicle
  • Read Front Left wheel TPM
  • Read Front Right wheel TPM
  • Read Rear Right wheel TPM
  • Read Rear Left wheel TPM
  • Place unit back in cradle
  • Data downloaded to plant / PC system
  • Optional programme of vehicle either from tool or PC/plant system

Previous Supply

Almost all plants that have installed an automated system have started with the hand tools at low volumes and then moved the hand tools into a rework area once automated systems are brought on line. Alternatively the plant has moved straight into the automated production line systems and used the portable tools for rework or supplementary on-line testing.


Programming the ECU on the Final Line

Typical Automated TPM Reading with Manual OBD Programming Introduction

It is also possible to programme the vehicle directly with the TPMS data on the production line using Bartec USA tools.

This can be done by a live OBD connection from the TPMS PC via a carrier to an OBD over the vehicle line or by a TPMS hand tool with OBD connectivity and programme function.

Typical on-line process (Data from Automated TPMS System)

  • Data is collected from line side antennas and stored on TPMS PC
  • TPMS Vehicle enters ECU programming station on the line
  • TPMS alerts operator by flashing beacon or audio alarm
  • Operator takes OBD cable from above the line and connects to the vehicle ODB port
  • Vehicle ID is checked and TPMS data programmed into the vehicle
  • GREEN beacon shows after approximately 5 seconds to show the operator that the vehicle is programmed
  • Operator removes OBD from vehicle

Portable TPM Reading Tools with OBD functionality Typical on-line process (Data from Portable Tool)

  • Data is collected from the vehicle by the portable TPMS reading tool
  • TPMS Tool displays 'Connect OBD to Vehicle'
  • Operator connects tool as described
  • TPMS Tool checks Vehicle ID against data and programmes vehicle if matching
  • TPMS Tool displays 'DATA OK – remove OBD' after approximately 5 seconds
  • Operator removes OBD cable and leaves the vehicle
  • Optional download to data to plant systems is required

TPMS Vehicle Rework Station

Introduction

In most plants where an on-line system has been installed, rework systems are also usually provided. These allow any faulty TPMs or problematic vehicles to be taken off the line and reworked in a static station and then the data collected and programmed to the vehicle (if required).

These stations can be networked to the on-line systems and any vehicle reporting TPMS problems whilst still on the production line (e.g. faulty Tire Pressure Sensor, no sensor fitted etc) then the vehicle information can be passed ahead of the vehicle to a networked printer detailing the problem and informing the Rework operative that a vehicle is due for rework.

TTPMS Vehicle Rework Station

Additionally, any vehicles that have had TPMS fitted when not specified can also be processed in the same way. This requires that the TPMS reading systems that are on the line (usually automated) are setup to read all vehicles, both TPMS fitted and NON-TPMS fitted to establish correct TPMS build for all vehicles.


Please browse our website for more information about Bartec USA LLC and our range of TPMS Tools and our professional Tire Pressure Monitoring System support, then call toll free 855-877-9732 and speak to one of our team or e-mail us at sales@bartecusa.com