Award-Winning Quality in Manufacturing

FARO inspection products help ICP lead the way in product development and quick-turn manufacturing

Ryan E. Day

July 17, 2019

Industrial Custom Products (ICP) is a world leader in prototyping, developing, and manufacturing high-quality OEM and custom thermoformed and vacuum formed plastic components, as well as die cut and dieless knife-cut parts. What makes ICP unique among its competitors is its award-winning quality, on-time delivery rate of 99.5 percent, and a dazzling 22 ppm reject rate.

As an ISO 9001:2015 registered company, ICP is serious about quality. In fact, ICP has been awarded the Polaris Industries Award of Excellence a whopping eight times in a row. How does this company do it? One contributing factor is investing in appropriate technology and infrastructure to reduce bottlenecks that increase the cost of quality and reduce profitability.

Investing in infrastructure

“We recently invested in a new quality room located right off of the production floor,” says Adam Lunde, vice president of sales and marketing at ICP. “This has given us more space to bring in large parts for 3D scanning without interrupting progress on the production floor.”

Even before the infrastructure upgrade, the ICP team’s inspection solutions included FARO products.

“When I came aboard with ICP, they already had a FAROArm-Bronze using an early version of CAM2 Measure software,” explains Kyle Van Tatenhove, engineer and CNC manager at ICP. “Before coming to ICP, I was primarily using more traditional tools like rulers and gauges.”

The nature of thermoformed products necessitates a more versatile inspection solution than traditional tools.

“There’s a lot of unknown features and geometry that you really can’t measure without a 3D scanner,” says Van Tatenhove. “I’ve also worked [around] fixed CMMs, and I’ll tell you, having an inspection tool like the FARO ScanArm right there in the quality room is pretty amazing.”

When it came time for ICP to upgrade its inspection equipment, it had every reason to once again choose FARO products. Accuracy, reliability, and affordability were features that led the team to invest in the FARO QuantumM ScanArm with the FAROBlu High-Definition Laser Line Probe.

The FAROBlu high-definition camera uses the most advanced complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technology to deliver fast frame rate (the number of times per second that the camera gathers new data on the part being scanned) of up to 300 frames per second. This equates to approximately three times faster scanning than currently available red laser technology. Because the blue laser has a shorter wavelength than red, a blue laser can deliver improved scanning results due to its intrinsic higher resolution, with a 50-percent reduction in speckle noise.

The scanner is paired with FARO’s exclusive CAM2 2019 3D measurement software. With intuitive workflows and insightful reporting capabilities, CAM2 delivers perfect alignment with FARO hardware to gather measurement data anywhere in the production environment. It provides a seamless and relatively easy measurement experience for all users, without the need for extensive training or expertise, along with accurate and comprehensive insight into measurement results.

Reducing time and cost associated with development and production

The ICP crew realized immediate time savings with the updated scanner technology and CAM2 software.

“I would say going from traditional inspection tools to 3D scanning on complex parts easily cuts your time in half,” says Van Tatenhove. “And the FAROBlu with CAM2 software cuts that time even more because the features are all right in front of you. The X, Y, and Z dimensions are very obvious. You’re not looking at an old display with lines and circles, trying to see where your axis is.”

Another huge benefit of ICP’s use of 3D metrology is a drastically reduced need for physical gauges and jigs. In product development and prototyping, this is a quantum leap toward quick turnaround and profitability.

“There are fixtures and jigs we’ve had to purchase because we didn’t have time or weren’t capable of making them,” admits Van Tatenhove. “Delivery of a fixture can sometimes take weeks depending on its complexity. Our FAROArm can cut that down to hours.”

Time and cost savings are significant when you literally don’t have to purchase or wait for a jig or fixture. For most of ICP’s products, inspection now involves digital comparison between CAD files and scanning data instead of physically fitting the part into a fixture for visual verification.

“We see a lot of internal benefits by keeping the process moving forward,” says Van Tatenhove. “It’s awesome not having to implement these fixtures to verify that your part is in or out of spec.”

Also, the benefit of eliminating physical inspection fixtures cannot be overstated when considering the ramifications of storage and version control; every new part iteration may require modifications to an existing jig, whereas a digital jig can be modified and verified quickly on the fly. Additionally, when a physical jig is no longer useful, it becomes scrap.

“We save hundreds and even thousands of dollars by not using physical fixturing,” reveals Van Tatenhove. “FARO 3D scanning technology helps us reduce time to market by anywhere from 20 percent up to even 70 percent faster in some cases.”

Reducing costs associated with rejects

“We are ISO 9001:2015-certified, so we have the processes in place that ensure everything flows through here accurately,” explains Lunde. “We all know it’s a lot more expensive to get parts shipped back to you if there are any issues than it is to ship them out right the first time. So, we make sure that we’re taking an ample amount of time to ensure our products meet and exceed our customer’s expectations.”

Integrating with the customer

Although there are still some manufacturers using paper-based part drawings, it is a rapidly dwindling method. To be competitive (or even relevant), having a digitally based ecosystem is absolutely necessary to provide a smooth interaction between supplier and customer.

“The CAM2 software prints out reports and shows our customers the actual inspection measurements we’re getting,” says Van Tatenhove. “This helps things move forward a lot quicker than relying on a go or no-go gauge that’s either supplied or approved by the customer. Whereas with the FARO scanner and CAM2, we can just whip out a report or show screenshots of measurements and instantly get the customer’s approval.”

ICP uses all of these advantages to provide superior quality products in the timeliest manner possible to its customers.

“Customers want to see that you’re investing in your business, that you have a successful business, and you're moving forward,” says Lunde. “They want to make sure they’re getting accurate parts every time. So our investment in FARO equipment is another way to help deliver the message that, ‘When you get ICP parts, quality is going to be second to none.’”

About The Author

Ryan E. Day’s picture

Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day is Quality Digest’s senior editor for solution-based reporting, which brings together those seeking business improvement solutions and solution providers. Day has spent the last decade researching and interviewing top business leaders and continuous improvement experts at companies like Sakor, Ford, Merchandize Liquidators, Olympus, 3D Systems, Hexagon, Intertek, InfinityQS, Johnson Controls, FARO, and Eckel Industries. Most of his reporting is done with the help of his 20-lb tabby cat at his side.