Why are automated quality control 3D measurement systems so important to today's manufacturers?
More and more manufacturers are adopting automated quality control 3D measurement systems to detect problems before they escalate and increase costs. They also improve overall product quality, increase efficiency, reduce obsolete and time-consuming manual inspections, while increasing competitiveness.
Let's take a closer look at automated quality control systems and how they transform industrial processes.
What is the difference between manual and automated inspections?
There is a big difference between manual and automated inspection processes.
What Are Automated Quality Control Inspections?
With fully manual inspections, technicians and operators measure, inspect and evaluate products, either throughout the production line or at certain intervals during the production cycle. Manual interventions depend solely on human observations and no inspection devices or technology.
Other manufacturers perform first article inspections (FAI) in a dedicated metrology lab, using coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). While inspections of this type may appear automated, they nevertheless require the intervention of a metrologist or a CMM expert to manually load the CMM, ensure its operation and unload it.
However, inspections of this type can be a source of human error and rely on the expertise of technicians to ensure smooth operation, which can affect the accuracy and reliability of 3D measurements. In addition, manual inspections can lead to significant bottlenecks, depending on the efficiency of the inspectors, as well as the availability of the laboratory and CMM. Finally, metrologists cannot inspect all parts or products in a high performance environment. The result ? Reduced yield and compromised production times.
What Are Automated Quality Control Inspections?
Automated quality control virtually eliminates all of the inconveniences associated with manual inspections using a traditional CMM.
These automated quality inspection systems are used for many applications, such as on-line and on-line first article inspections (FAI), in-process inspections of parts and tools, evaluation supplier parts, as well as the digitization of quality control measures for traceability and archiving.
How does automation improve quality?
Automated quality control solutions offer many benefits to improve the quality of parts and entire products. Here are some examples to improve quality:
Faced with the shortage of experienced CMM operators, manufacturers are increasingly turning to automated quality control solutions to eliminate bottlenecks in production, but also to improve part quality during production. inspection, since automated systems are not prone to human error. In addition, it is then possible to assign qualified employees to value-added tasks, such as data analysis.
Automated quality control improves the reliability of 3D measurements. Automated inspection helps ensure measurement accuracy on complex parts and high efficiency in production lines.
These systems allow more data to be gathered from more parts more quickly. With sophisticated inspection reports, manufacturers can make better decisions based on reliable results from a large number of components.
With the high amounts of 3D data that automated quality control systems can capture, a manufacturer's quality control operations can provide dynamic, real-time analysis of production quality, as well as comprehensive compliance testing for customers. .
What are the advantages of automated inspections?
The benefits of automated inspections go beyond improving the quality of products and parts. Manufacturers can also take advantage of their automated quality control process to:
Measure more parts per hour with the same number of dimensions
Measure only the essential dimensions of a larger number of parts, in order to increase the number of parts measured per hour
Measure the same number of parts, but get more information about each part to create a history and improve traceability
Measure more parts and more dimensions per hour
It is thus possible to detect faults and anomalies more quickly, to take corrective actions to anticipate downtime and thus meet production deadlines.
Reduction of workforce problems
Many manufacturers find it difficult to recruit qualified and experienced personnel for quality control. In a competitive market, metrology specialists and quality control inspectors are often difficult to find.
Automated quality control systems can be a solution to the labor shortage . The new generation of 3D scanning CMMs for automated quality control are very intuitive and easy to use. Production staff can use them without robotics or metrology expertise. Obviously, members of the quality control department should always prepare inspection programs in advance, however, production teams can use the automated quality control solution on a daily basis.
It is important to note that the software integration of an automated quality control system implies that technicians or engineers do not need prior knowledge of robotics. The latest generation of metrology and acquisition software enables robot trajectories to be calculated, simulated and executed automatically, using a comprehensive inspection program.
In short, automated quality control systems reduce the costs of recruiting, onboarding and training.
Reduced total quality control costs
In addition to the savings in labor costs and efficiency, automated quality control solutions also reduce total quality control costs.
Did you know that, according to the American Society for Quality, quality problems can cost up to 40% of manufacturers' sales? The costs linked to the lack of conformity of a part or a product have various origins:
Modification and disposal
Lead times on production lines
Recalls and repairs
Purchase of new materials
Modification of the production program to take into account new cycles
New test phases
Fees associated with failure to adhere to service level agreements
Of course, automated quality control systems can greatly reduce four of the main costs of quality: prevention, evaluation, internal and external failure.
Automating quality inspections also increases company growth, and not just through productivity gains and lower quality costs.
Improved product quality allows companies to create more complex parts and products, which can open up new business opportunities. Finally, better quality is a reliable indicator for customers and end users, who are encouraged to buy again.
How do you choose the ideal automated quality control system?
In order to choose the right automated quality control solution for your company, it is important to start by evaluating your current inspection process and identifying the main and most recurring problems.
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