Article from LK Metrology
Continental needed a high capacity system capable of rapid inspection cycles combined with fast surface scanning and accurate feature measurements, the aim being to gain more comprehensive insight into the company’s products. The range includes electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems, wheel and engine speed sensors, airbag electronics and electronic air suspension systems.
Renowned for expertise in driving safety, the firm’s quality department plays a pivotal role in its success. 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 they needed to gain quicker, more comprehensive insight and obtain more information per report.
The two Altera 8.7.6 CMMs installed in the measurement laboratory at Continental-Chassis & Safety, Veszpren, Hungary. Multisensor metrology paves the way for faster inspection.
In Continental’s measurement laboratory, a single CMM with touch probes was handling most of the inspection. Measuring technician Peter Somogyi advised that the main limitation of the pre-existing CMM was its slowness and hence low capacity. Quality engineer Tamas Brunner added that the software was not up to their standards in respect of automated inspection and the latest GD&T. With so many measuring tasks to process, the CMM was unable to keep up with throughput using touch probe inspection, let alone provide the level of insight necessary. Tamas calculated that they needed to halve inspection cycle times.
Before beginning the search for a new solution, the quality department outlined its desire to utilize multisensor technology in the reorganization of the facilities. After consulting several CMM vendors, an Altera 8.7.6 CMM from LK was identified as the ideal solution. The decision was made to install two of them, each providing multisensor capability complemented by LK CAMIO software.
In addition to a Nikon LC15Dx digital laser scanner, the new CMMs include a Renishaw TP200 tactile measuring probe. An ACR3 change rack ensures smooth, automated exchange between tactile and noncontact probes, controlled by the Camio acquisition and processing software.
Laser scanning the plastic body of an ABS (automatic braking system) speed sensor using a digital laser scanner.
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.
The direct benefits, such as faster inspection cycles and increased productivity as well as quick and easy report generation, are allowing Continental to meet its goals. Somogyi said, “The multisensor 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.”
Brunner pinpointed the software as an important benefit. He confirmed, “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, multisensor CMMs were installed in the quality department, the new equipment has provoked interest from Continental’s Molding Competence Centre, which is evaluating how optical inspection can speed pre-production and development cycles.
Tactile probing the ABS sensor body.
Related Glossary Terms
Science of measurement; the principles on which precision machining, quality control and inspection are based. See precision machining, measurement.