December 1, 2022

Fast and flexible 3D inspection of production – Metrology and Quality News

Until now, the dimensional control of large, geometrically complex components, such as die-cast aluminum components for the automotive industry, could only be measured validly with great effort. Measurement in the measurement room requires corresponding capacity and is time consuming; the so-called “Gage-Checks” require some planning, sourcing and implementation time. Now, a new innovation has opened up new possibilities with the ZScan 3D measurement system. Senswork has developed an always-ready solution that produces a valid measurement result in seconds and is installed directly in production.

“The investment was worth it”

Measurement speed and flexibility have made senswork’s ZScan system so compelling at Magna. The automotive supplier had been looking for an optical measurement and test system suitable for series production for a long time when the Bavarian measurement technology expert senswork came in. Was the investment worth it? “The results are definitely positive” say Rocco Hahn, Head of Project Management and Martin Emrich, Project Manager at Magna. The investment pays off after just a few product launches.

100% inspection of pilot production and small series

With this system alone, various die-cast aluminum components can be checked for dimensional accuracy in seconds – and without any pre-treatment. With this speed, the ZScan exceeds the capabilities of a pure measurement system and qualifies as a means of production. A capacity study carried out by Magna comparing the measurement results of the measurement room with those of the ZScan confirmed its high measurement quality and the validity of the measurement results. The components can thus be considered as validly tested by ZScan without further testing in the measurement room. It offers a perfect and very flexible complement in pre-series and small series, in which each component comes out of production 100% checked.

76% faster boot time

In the app, every component up to a length of 1.60 meters can be scanned with the flexible optical measuring system. Start-up processes benefit in particular from the non-component-specific application possibility, precisely because type-specific measuring equipment is no longer required. The investment is less, the speed higher. Start-up times for new products can be significantly accelerated with time savings of several weeks compared to conventional solutions.

Automatic CAD comparison

The inspection process also has great functionality. Within seconds, the ZScan 3D multi-sensor scanner scans the respective die-cast aluminum component and automatically compares it with its CAD model. Four mutually calibrated laser scanners are used, which, due to their free spatial arrangement, register even geometrically complex component surfaces almost without shadows. ZScan also effortlessly masters slightly shiny surfaces such as aluminum – and without any pre-treatment.

The OK vs. NOK result is displayed on a panel and displayed as a red-green comparison in smooth color gradients using an accurate false-color 3D image. In addition, the panel visualizes a free number of measuring points, which are evaluated according to the RPS system. Dimensional measurement points are displayed in green, exceeding and falling below the tolerance or deviations from the target size in red and blue. In combination with the additional false-color image that can be captured quickly, workers can make targeted geometric corrections directly after the measurement process, which takes seconds. The ZScan can thus be used effectively as a means of production with an associated manual straightening process. Checks between and after straightening can be carried out at any time and the process can be repeated until the result is OK.

Wide range of measurement functions

Straightening processes are standard in the production of die-cast aluminum structural components, such as at Magna BDW. The heat treatment at nearly 500°C causes distortions in the components, which must be corrected downstream due to precise specifications. It is precisely at this point that ZScan shows its strengths with up to 20 million measurement points per individual scan: The combination of previous RPS alignment, selective 3D measurement and false color CAD comparison is particularly useful in production:You can see a lot of details, which cannot be detected with conventional measurements. It’s both a blessing and a curse in production,” says Rocco Hahn, Head of Project Management at Magna, “but it was certainly well received by the customer”.

Simplified process optimization

This feature also provides engineers with a wealth of information regarding process optimization. Components can be inspected before and after each production step, such as the heat treatment of aluminum die-castings. Individual scans can be compared to each other and shape deviations can be visualized in color. This allows for a better understanding of the production processes at each stage of the process. Series of measurements can be created, archived and evaluated by the software with ZScan. The influence of parameter adjustments in the process is already made measurable during production. Process steps can thus be specifically optimized on the basis of the data.

“We want to use it to produce parts and not just generate measurement quality” says Rocco Hahn.

And there is another special feature: it is not the trained measurement technician, but the worker himself who uses ZScan directly in production. This allows it to be used as a production medium and at the same time to save capacity in the measuring room. “User-friendly operation and a clear selection of components allow for a very fast training process for new employees of around 30 minutes, so that team employees can take care of ZScan on their own,” says Martin Emrich, project manager at Magna. Any employee can also modify the components. ZScan stands up to the demanding production environment with dust, dirt and temperature fluctuations.

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