As manufacturers transition towards speeding up production and accelerating their time to market. They continue to face any challenges especially with respect to automated quality control.
Reducing costs drives the need for automated quality control
Automating quality control is indeed a compelling move for manufacturers to improve product quality, drive innovation, and address the manufacturing skills gap. As well as a way to reduce down direct quality control costs and the expensive ripple effect of poor quality or lack of conformance.
According to the American Society for Quality, quality-related issues cost manufacturers about 15 – 20% of sales revenue – with some going as high as 40%. Quality costs that can easily be incurred because of non-compliance:
- Rework and scrapping
- Production line downtimes
- Recalls and repairs
- Purchasing new materials
- Changes to the production planning to accommodate a new run
The push for automated quality control is stronger than ever. However, achieving it means rethinking they way quality control is performed in the manufacturing environment.
Why traditional measurement systems impede automated quality control
For many manufacturers, their first article inspections (FAIs) are still often carried out in a dedicated metrology lab with a coordinate measurement machine (CMM). Bottlenecks are rampant due to the amount of inspection needed. At times there’s only one CMM specialist at hand to load, operate, and unload the machine – which slows down output. Time is wasted moving back and forth in a lab.
Other factories have tried to automate quality control by making the switch to using measurement arms right on their shop floors to eliminate CMM bottlenecks. But, measurement arms can’t afford the level of accuracy required for rigorous quality control because of dust, vibrations, humidity, and temperature change. In addition, measurement arms need to be operated by a skilled worker.
In today’s modern world the traditional measurement systems used to carry out inspections no longer cut it. Instead, traditional systems prevent factories from keeping up with cycle times, maximizing output, and lowering quality control costs. They hinder automated quality control as well as the move from preventative to proactive quality control.
In-line & at-line metrology solutions: Making automated quality control easier
Many manufacturers are turning to in-line and at-line metrology solutions, which include 3D scanners to automate their inspections and quality controls. Solutions like the MetraSSAN 3D-R robot-mounted optical 3D scanner and CUBE-R are changing the game and allow a completely automated quality control.
Scanners such as these are being used for a wide variety of different applications:
- In-process inspections of parts and tooling
- In-line & at-line FAI
- Inspection of suppliers before entering into production
- Digitalizing quality control records for achieving, traceability, and upgrading legacy drawings
Benefits of in-line and at-line metrology solutions
These next-generation 3D measurement solutions offer many benefits.
- They have been specifically designed for in-line and at-line quality control. They’re impervious to harsh production environments and generate a high level of accuracy.
- They’re easy to use. Operators of any skill level can load a part, get a result and take action. Onboarding and training are also kept to a minimum, workers can be-up-and-running very quickly.
- Gains in productivity, with more operators being able to operate these 3D solutions, manufacturers can:
- Measure more parts per hour with the same number of dimensions
- Measure only the critical dimensions on a larger number of parts, increasing the number of parts measured per hour
- Measure the same number of parts, but get more information on each of these parts to build a history to present better traceability
- Measure more parts and more dimensions per hour
- Thanks to the unprecedented accuracy of solutions like the MetraSCAN 3D-R and CUBE-R, even if they’re on the production floor, inspection measurements are no longer compromised
The future of automated quality control in smart factories begins with using new quality control approaches such as 3D solutions, theses solutions will streamline manufacturers’ transition to automated quality control, improve quality, accelerate production cycles, and slash quality control costs.