Solving Productivity Issues With Creaform’s Automated Quality Control Solutions

Unique approach facilitates more proactive CAPA, mitigates cost of quality and recalls

Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie

October 20, 2020

On Sept. 24, 2020, Creaform released the latest products in its R-Series scanners and software, which can increase productivity by detecting and addressing issues using automated dimensional quality control.

The lineup includes the new MetraSCAN-R BLACK robot-mounted optical CMM scanner, four different models in the CUBE-R 3D scanning measuring machine, and the brand-new VXscan-R digital twin environment software module that represents a key element in the company’s turnkey automated quality control solution suite.

Figure 1: A shiny surface being inspected in the CUBE-R high-productivity industrial measuring cell with the MetraSCAN-R BLACK

Engineered to address the three main challenges encountered in the global manufacturing industry, this new suite of automated dimensional quality control solutions enables manufacturers to increase their productivity. Here we explain how they can overcome productivity issues and produce more parts of the highest quality in less time.

Factors impacting productivity

The global manufacturing industry has to deal with more complex parts and assembly designs than ever before. Measuring various shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of surface finishes and part geometries, has now become a regular daily task.

Because quality control is traditionally performed in metrology labs on coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), samples must be brought from the production floor to the lab for dimensional inspection. This transfer of parts requires a considerable amount of time and effort, creating bottlenecks at the CMM and causing delays on the production line. These delays slow down time to market, as well as postponing deliveries to customers. Additionally, manufacturing companies must often operate with a lack of skilled resources and limited working time.

These three factors—the complexity of parts, measuring equipment that is slow to operate and difficult to access, and lack of skilled operators—negatively impacts manufacturing companies’ productivity.

Figure 2: Assembly line and manual inspection of motorcycle frames (Photo credit: Walter Automobiltechnick GmbH: Automated quality control of a motorcycle frame)

Technology for addressing challenges

Complex shapes and reflective surface finishes require a technology that is highly flexible—i.e., capable of measuring any surface material or finish without preparation. This is the key to inspecting parts directly out of the manufacturing process.

Speed issues can be addressed by minimizing preparation, measuring time, and programming time. To do so, manufacturers need product integration—from the hardware device and the software connectivity to the final inspection results—as well as easy-to-use, intelligent software. With automated quality control, intelligent software means automatically adapting the robot path to the 3D scanner according to best scanning practices, ensuring that users are not responsible for doing this by themselves. Speed issues can also be addressed by avoiding noncompliance, rework, and lack of customer satisfaction, which can cause severe delays in the manufacturing process. A key to preventing these situations is to incorporate quality control into the manufacturing process and opt for automated inspection solutions for at-line or in-line metrology applications.

Lack of qualified technicians can also be addressed with automated quality control solutions that are designed to take over nonvalue-added tasks, such as moving a scanner over a part. This way, human resources can focus on value-added tasks, which require their full capability and potential. Not only does this motivate employees, but also it creates value for the organization.

Creaform solutions

Creaform’s new technologies have been conceived to tackle the three root causes of productivity issues. By offering speed, accuracy and resolution, versatility, and simplicity, the automated quality control solutions are able to address complexity issues in addition to the lack of speed and qualified labor.

Featuring 45 blue laser lines for a high-density scanning area, the MetraSCAN-R BLACK can take up to 1,800,000 measurements per second for a short cycle time and live meshing. Not only is the measurement speed accelerated, but several types of parts also can be measured—from sheet metal to composite parts, including welded structural parts and castings—without surface preparation, which contributes to saving precious measuring time.

Figure 3: MetraSCAN-R BLACK robot-mounted optical CMM scanner at work measuring a complex surface

Accuracy and resolution
Due to its metrology-grade accuracy, repeatability, and resolution, the MetraSCAN-R BLACK generates detailed scans on surfaces, trims, geometric features, and sheet metal. Its accuracy of 0.025 mm (0.001 in.), which is based on the VDI/VDE 2634 standard and tested in an ISO 17025-accredited laboratory, ensures complete reliability and full traceability to international standards. With dynamic referencing, the measurement accuracy is insensitive to environmental instabilities, such as vibration and thermal variations. This way, the measurements can occur directly on the production line.

Combining the power of optical and blue laser technologies, the MetraSCAN-R BLACK can generate efficient 3D scans on shiny surfaces or on objects with variations in reflectivity—without surface preparation—and measure various part sizes and different surface geometries. This way, both the MetraSCAN-R BLACK, which can be integrated into a custom measuring cell, and the CUBE-R, which leverages the MetraSCAN-R BLACK’s power in a complete turnkey measuring solution offered in 16 configurations, can solve complexity issues.

Due to its operational simplicity and off-line programming, the CUBE-R is a CMM that is accessible to all, regardless of the level of expertise or experience in robotics and metrology. VXscan-R, the new digital twin environment software, enables users of all levels to easily and quickly program robot paths and optimize the robotic system’s line of sight, solving programming issues. In addition, the MetraSCAN-R BLACK is compatible with major metrology software, enabling seamless integration within any type of production workflow.

Figure 4: Operator using VXscan-R digital twin environment software module

Solve complexity, speed, and labor problems, and increase your productivity

CMMs are vital metrology equipment in quality control because of the high level of accuracy they can provide. However, when manufacturers face productivity issues—i.e., when their production is limited due to complexity, speed, and labor problems—and they must address these quality concerns to make faster and better decisions—then they need to look for another measuring solution.

Thanks to their speed, accuracy and resolution, versatility, and simplicity, Creaform’s automated quality control solutions solve the three major challenges that negatively impact productivity.

With the R-Series, which includes the new MetraSCAN-R BLACK, the CUBE-R, and VXscan-R, manufacturers can increase their productivity significantly by detecting and addressing quality issues faster based on better statistical analyses. This way, they can implement corrective measures more proactively to mitigate total quality costs and unprofitable recalls.

About The Author

Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie’s picture

Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie

Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie is a product manager at Creaform. He holds an engineering physics degree from Laval University. He joined Creaform in 2007 as an application engineer. After four years of working closely with customers, he became Product Manager with the mandate to develop non-destructive testing solutions using Creaform technologies. Jérôme-Alexandre has accumulated over 10 years of experience in 3D data management and is now in charge of Creaform’s complete portfolio of automated quality control solution.