QMT Features: August 2014
Taking the system to the work
By bringing measurement to the shop floor GEDIA is cutting costs and measurement times while increasing flexibility


With its headquarters in Attendorn in Germany and operations around the world, GEDIA Gebrüder Dingerkus manufactures pressed components and assemblies for automotive bodies. In the past, GEDIA focused on tactile measurement, using coordinate measuring devices and gauges, to control quality in both assemblies and toolmaking.  But as the company grew and expanded its sites, this approach began to reach its limits.

The inspection of sheet metal parts in particular was time-consuming and labour-intensive, as all parts had to be transported several hundred meters from the press or joining plants to the central measuring room. 

In order to streamline the process, the decision was made to have the measuring system come to the component, instead of transporting the component to the measuring system. However, this would require mobile measuring equipment designed for use in production.
This new approach to quality control represents an important step in achieving GEDIA’s goal of becoming an industry leader in production technology. As a consequence, the changeover from traditional tactile systems to full-surface optical 3D coordinate measurement is being implemented worldwide at all production sites and at all relevant facilities, such as press shops, joining plants and assembly. 
Cutting measurement timesLike many companies that have to adjust their processes to accommodate increased production levels, GEDIA needed to find a way to cut measurement times. At the same time, quality had to be maintained, cycle times grew shorter and production output increased. But the use of relatively slow tactile measurement methods on parts which often have complex shapes, resulted in long process times and complex logistics, and even then, only a few points on the part were checked.

In order to manage rising output quantities and a constant increase in measuring requirements, GEDIA had to outsource a growing number of measurement tasks to external service providers. This situation had two main drawbacks: not only did it result in high costs, but it also meant that in-house knowledge had to be shared with parties outside the company. Thus, the aim of the new approach to quality control was to relocate the entire measurement and digitizing expertise back to the company’s own workforce.

With this in mind, the quality control and measuring technology experts at GEDIA had four main criteria to consider: The systems needed to deliver full-surface measurements while also being mobile and fast. The company also wanted to regain the complete measuring competence in-house.
The optical measurement approachAfter various unsatisfactory trial runs with mobile, tactile devices mounted on articulated arms, it became clear that tactile metrology was not going to meet the company’s needs. It was time to completely rethink the measuring technology used. 
GEDIA started the move to optical metrology by investing in a mobile ATOS 3D scanner for full-surface optical 3D coordinate measurement. With its fast supply of precise measurement data, the high-resolution optical ATOS 3D digitizer met the company’s criteria. On various sizes of components with various surface characteristics this gave precise 3D coordinates with high data quality. It also offered the capability for parametric inspection and traceable evaluation. Deviation from CAD or part to part could be carried out for the full surface, evaluations could be made according to 2D drawings and as well as inspection sections, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing the system also provided trend analysis – with everything available in clearly presented reports.
By using the ATOS manual system on measuring tools, forming dies and sheet metal parts, GEDIA quickly recognized the benefits of optical measurement technologies. From prototype development to serial production measurement, part analysis, digitizing up to virtual joining of assemblies – all of these tasks could be performed by a single technology, as opposed to the much less versatile tactile measuring method.
An additional benefit with full-surface measurement is that it makes efficient tool corrections easier, and, as a result, fewer iterations are required before a tool is approved. By measuring the final tool contours with the ATOS scanner, it is also possible to keep CAD data for the tool up to date. This enables copy milling of tools based on ATOS data. 
The clear, easy-to-read measurement reports generated from full-surface data provide an additional benefit. In contrast to pages of tables from test reports with individual measuring points, they provide significantly better readability and clarity.

This reduces the time required for discussing the results, and any necessary correction steps can be implemented quickly and efficiently.
Next step: automation GEDIA’s experience with optical measurement soon led to an additional requirement. In order to make the process more flexible, and more efficient in terms of time and costs, GEDIA wanted to have the optical measurement automated and still mobile.
GEDIA first of all developed this approach with its own design of customized measuring cell with integrated GOM equipment. This proved to be a clear step in the right direction, and so the company decided to go ahead and acquire a standardized, automated measuring cell: the ATOS ScanBox.
As opposed to a customized solution, the ATOS ScanBox comes with all elements required for fully automated 3D digitizing and inspection. The complete system includes hardware, software, worldwide customer service, safety equipment and documentation. As a result, the automotive supplier does not have to worry about any additional planning or investments – all that is needed for operating the turnkey measurement cell on site is the floor space and a power supply.
One point which was particularly important to GEDIA was that, with GOM, it is working with a single partner for planning, setup, training and support. The cell does not even require the normal safety approval process. The industrial housing of the measurement cell ensures that there is no safety risk for personnel. Damage to assemblies and components is prevented by means of collision protection systems.Multiple sites – standard method
GEDIA’s first ATOS ScanBox is in use for production-related quality control at the press shop in Attendorn. The core of the measurement cell, developed with precisely such production applications in mind, is the robot-guided ATOS Triple Scan 3D sensor. Because all measurement and inspection process, right up to producing the measurement report, can be carried out quickly and easily, the ATOS ScanBox can be operated by the production staff. This is possible thanks to the standard software solution VMR (virtual measuring room), which reproduces the actual environment of the ATOS ScanBox down to the smallest detail. 
As a result, the robot can be operated with simple drag-and-drop commands and without the robot operating panel. In the VMR, it is even possible to program offline from CAD data without the need for any actual parts.At the Attendorn press plant, the ATOS ScanBox has helped cut measuring times by more than half in comparison with previous tactile solutions. This has exceeded GEDIA’s expectations. In addition, customers are able to work without expensive measuring gauges when using optical measuring technology.
A second ATOS ScanBox is already in use to check the quality of one of GEDIA’s most important products, the fully assembled rear end of a German premium car. Even large components can fit into the measurement cell. There are four models in the Atos ScanBox series to allow various different sizes of part to be measured.GEDIA has already entered the planning stage for a third ATOS ScanBox for its press plant in Poland, and additional ScanBoxes will soon follow for its sites in Spain and Hungary. Even though the measurement cells are in use at different locations,

GEDIA is still able to centralize its quality management. With the ATOS ScanBox measurement and inspection processes are standardised and can therefore be applied uniformly at various locations. As a result, the entire quality control process is becoming traceable and transparent.
In the future, GEDIA is going to complete the reorganization of its quality control systems and will equip all sites exclusively with optical measuring systems – the final step for GEDIA to achieve its corporate goal of leading the industry in production technology.www.gom.com
  
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