SBIR Phase I: Development of a Probe for Inspection of Transmission Valve Ports

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Industrial Optical Measurement Systems
1349 King George Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Principal Investigator


The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I project is directed towards developing a non contact optical probe for automated inspection of cylindrical valve ports of automatic transmission valve bodies and pump covers. In Phase I a probe will be built and a test stand will be set up to characterize the response of the probe to different surface finishes and to centering and alignment errors of the probe with respect to the valve port. The probe will scan the surface of a transmission valve port using a laser beam and will determine whether the surface finish is acceptable or defective by analyzing the return signal to a detector mounted in the probe. At the present time these valve ports are visually inspected by human inspectors. Not all valve ports are inspected and defects in parts that are inspected may be missed. The probe being developed will identify defective components so they can be removed from the production stream. If this technology is successfully commercialized it would increase efficiency and reduce costs in the manufacture of automatic transmissions. This would result in less expensive, higher quality vehicles for the public. The technology would replace an ineffective, random, subjective inspection process with an automated, objective total inspection that produces recordable data, which could be mined to enhance understanding of the manufacturing process. Defective transmissions in operating vehicles are less fuel efficient, so higher quality transmissions could also improve fuel economy. The technique could be applied to inspection of small cylindrical holes in other