Next-gen vehicle diagnostic systems help streamline auto manufacturing process

Advancements in vehicle technology are rapidly accelerating – changing the way cars are built, tested and maintained. Many of these advancements are in response to higher safety standards, consumer expectations, and the drive to improve overall performance and create more fuel-efficient automobiles.

Today, these advanced automotive systems are being controlled and monitored completely by software that must be tested to ensure safety, reliability and quality. One small flaw in software can negatively impact the car's performance. This puts utmost importance on the diagnostic tools and technologies used – as they must be able to communicate with the automobile's systems, and detect safety and performance failures before the car leaves the production line.

Winmate, a global leader in developing advanced rugged mobile technologies, has become a trusted source among top automotive manufacturers. Company reps say they understand the technological needs of the industry and provide reliable mobile solutions that are being used to test automotive safety and performance, saving time and money in the production process, and reducing failures and recalls.

The Need

Daimler, a leader in automotive manufacturing, cutting-edge technology, performance and safety, was looking to upgrade their vehicle diagnostic equipment for their top luxury line of vehicles. They needed a high-performance processor that was faster than previous generations, delivered in a lightweight tablet form factor. They also needed a customized and flexible docking system that would allow staff and technicians to easily mount and dismount the tablet in the vehicle, making it convenient to use on or off the production line and throughout the factory. Daimler also required:

  • Customized interface connections two-dimensional (2D) barcode readers
  • Programmable hotkey buttons Wireless communications

Daimler's top luxury brand of vehicles is setting the industry standard for safety and quality, so it was imperative they teamed with a company that operate at the same caliber – setting the standard in reliable diagnostic technologies.

The Solution

Company reps say the goal was to enable Daimler to reduce its production costs and improve production-line efficiencies. Working closely with Daimler's team, Winmate developed the Advanced Rugged Tablet Solution, a next-generation 8.4" tablet PC on a Windows Embedded 7 operating system with various customized features. This offered the auto manufacturer faster and more efficient testing, reliable performance and a seamless integration into their existing systems. Some of the customizations included:  

Customized interface connector streamlines inspection: Using a specialized On Board Diagnostic (OBD) connector, automotive manufacturers are able to discover and identify potential problems in the automobile before it leaves the production line. Winmate outfitted the mobile tablet PC with a customized OBD connector to allow the tablet to communicate directly with the vehicles.

Steering wheel mount offers protection and convenience: Technicians need to be able to mount the tablet onto the steering wheel during the diagnostics process. If the mount is not constructed properly with the right protection, the steering wheel becomes vulnerable to damage. To overcome this problem, Winmate developed a custom protector under the mount to prevent damage to the steering wheel.

2D barcode reader enables quick identification: Barcode readers are routinely used to scan the automobile's vehicle identification number (VIN) to prevent errors when technicians are testing multiple vehicles at once. To make this process more efficient, Winmate integrated the 2D barcode reader on the steering wheel mount.

Desk dock expands connectivity: The mobile tablet needed to be extremely flexible in its use, as staff and technicians would be using it in the vehicles as well as office environments. Winmate developed a desktop docking station that expands the connectivity and the use of the tablet to 4 x USB, 1 x COM (RS232), 1 x VGA, 1 x 10/100 LAN port.

Programmable hotkeys improve efficiencies: Having quick access to keys that are often used is important for ease of use. We customized specific hotkeys to speed routine, basic tasks such as scanning and accessing programs.

At Winmate, company reps say they are at the forefront of machine-to-machine communication technologies and understand the needs of the automotive industry. Today, top automotive manufacturers are relying on Winmate technologies for one of the most critical components of the production process – the inspection.

The company's in-depth knowledge of the industry combined with in-house engineering and testing facility enabled us to deliver a durable, reliable solution to Daimler quickly and efficiently. We were also able to reduce the investment cost so more testing systems could be purchased to help further streamline the production process.

Beyond the design of the solutions, Winmate also offers:

Extended warranty protection Localized service and repair centers in Asia, Europe, Canada and North America for prompt support.

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