QMT Features: July 2016
Continental accelerates inspection
A Hungarian automotive manufacturer has upgraded its inspection capabilities with multi-sensor CMMs

The quality department at the Chassis & Safety division of automotive company, Continental in Veszprem, Hungary, recently invested in two Nikon ALTERA multi-sensor coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) fitted with LC15Dx laser scanners to upgrade the inspection capabilities of its measurement laboratory. The company needed a high capacity system capable of rapid inspection cycles combined with fast surface scanning with accurate feature measurements, the aim being to gain more comprehensive insight into the company’s products.

These include includes electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems, wheel and engine speed sensors, airbag electronics and electronic air suspension systems. Day to day tasks in the measurement laboratory include feature and surface inspection, linear dimension measurements and GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing) analysis to monitor production quality from the shop floor and assist in new product development.
The quality department processes approximately 1,600 inspection reports per year, each consisting of around 20 measured parts, but needed to gain quicker, more comprehensive insight and obtain more information per report.

Previously a single CMM with touch probes was handling the majority of inspection tasks. Measuring technician Peter Somogyi and quality engineer Tamas Brunner explain that its main limitation was its slow speed and that that the software was not up to their standards in respect of automation and the latest GD&T. With so many measuring tasks to process, the single tactile CMM was unable to keep up with throughput, let alone provide the level of insight necessary. Mr Tamas calculated that they needed to halve inspection cycle times, and the quality department was also keen to use multi-sensor technology in its reorganised facilities.

The decision was made to install the two Nikon multi-sensor ALTERA 8.7.6 CMMs, each fitted with Nikon’s most accurate digital laser scanner, the LC15Dx, complemented by CAMIO software.

The 1.9 micron accuracy of the LC15Dx was the main deciding factor in choosing this equipment. It is perfectly suited to inspecting Continental’s wide range of component shapes, sizes, materials and surfaces. Enhanced Sensor Performance ESP3 eliminates the need for component preparation, such as powder spraying of dark or multi-coloured plastic parts, and the Nikon lens provides sharp detail to allow shapes, edges and features to be measured.
The new CMMs also include a TP200 tactile measuring probe. A Renishaw ACR3 change rack ensures smooth, automated exchange between tactile and non-contact probes, controlled by Nikon’s CAMIO acquisition and processing software.

As all measurement data is stored and available for reprocessing or further analysis, the new inspection system serves as an important tool in handling potential customer claims. The quality of the new inspection process has introduced increased insight into critical dimensions, cavities and functional features of parts, enabling faster corrective action.

Mr Somogyi says: “The multi-sensor CMM allows almost all types of measurements to be completed on one machine, whereas previously we needed to use multiple inspection facilities such as tactile probe, microscope, projector and conturograph.”

Tamas Brunner says the software is an important benefit: “The graphical reporting is quick and easy to understand. Parts need to comply to many different tolerances and the reports provide clear information.”
Since the twin, multi-sensor CMMs were installed in the quality department, the new equipment has already provoked interest from Continental’s Moulding Competence Centre, which is evaluating how optical inspection can speed pre-production and development cycles.
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