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3 Ways Parts Sorting and Inspection Can Get Your Shipment Back on Track

Posted by Mike Knicker on Sep 1, 2017 10:47:39 AM

 3 Ways Parts Sorting and Inspection Can Get Your Shipment Back on Track.jpg

For some products, the manufacturing process does not end once those products are packaged and shipped out. In the case of automobile manufacturers, many of the final vehicle's components come from various suppliers and are assembled to build the cars we enjoy driving. Because the quality of these components work together to comprise the overall quality of each vehicle, and thereby the quality of the car's brand, it is imperative that each of the vehicle's components from those various suppliers must be carefully examined for non-conformance. What happens when a supplier's shipment of non-conforming parts is already on its way to the other side of world? What measures can be taken to maintain the brand's integrity and keep consumers safe, while adhering to a tight schedule?

3 Corrective Measures for a Shipment of Non Conforming Parts 

Response Time: Once the supplier knows there are non-conforming parts that are already on their way to a warehouse or distribution center, timing is critical. If there is a tight schedule to maintain, then either sending the shipment back to its point of origin to be sorted and reshipped, or having a team sent out from the supplier's location to the shipment's destination to inspect the defective shipment are options, but can be costly both in time and money. Alternatively, enlisting an on-site team who can perform all the necessary parts sorting and inspection services, and who are already located at the shipment's destination can help the supplier stay on schedule and deliver value. Once the shipment arrives, the on-site inspection team will already be in place to work diligently to contain the defective parts, sort the parts that meet specifications, gather the relevant data that the supplier wants to know about their shipment, or assist with any necessary part rework, repair, or assembly.

Reliable Data: If the supplier does not already know, they will quickly need to know the extent of the non-conformance of the parts in the shipment in order to determine how many conforming parts need to be produced or shipped to replace the defective parts in the shipment. Is it the entire shipment or is the defect limited to a certain quantity of parts? It is important to know how much of the shipment is defective, how these parts are defective, as well as the measurements of the defective parts if the defect is related to dimensional measurement. Sometimes these measurements can be quickly collected at the shipment's destination, or in the case of non-conforming parts with tight tolerances which demand accurate measurements, the defective parts may have to be sent to an environmentally controlled dimensional metrology lab. Obtaining the measurement data, whether at the shipment's destination or in a controlled lab, will save the supplier the time and cost it would take to send the entire shipment back to its point of origin to be sorted and inspected. This data can be used to produce the correct parts and ship them out while the non-conforming parts are on their way back to the supplier or are dispositioned.

Rework or Repair: Once the defective parts have been sorted from the parts that meet conformance, and the supplier has reliable measurement data which they can use to know how much the defective parts deviate from the conforming ones, sometimes the supplier can use this data to rework or repair the bad parts currently at the shipment's destination. In certain scenarios that do not require a part to be held to an extremely tight tolerance, rework or repair can be as simple as smoothing out a dent or deburring a rough edge.

Parts Sorting & Inspection Services as a Value-Added Solution

Q-PLUS Labs is a fully equipped dimensional metrology lab that has over 30 years experience in dimensional and on-site inspection. Our personnel are veterans at helping our customers maintain their product's integrity and are fully capable of providing an on-site parts sorting and inspection team able to respond and arrive at your location typically within 24 hours. As a registered ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 accredited laboratory deeply knowledgeable in serving industries including Solar, Energy, Automotive, Aerospace, Medical, and Defense, Q-PLUS Labs can help you keep your tight schedule while maintaining and delivering the quality associated with your brand.

Contact us for information on how we can add value to your manufacturing and production process.

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Topics: dimensional measurement, dimensional inspection equipment, dimensional measurement services, metrology lab, inspection services, measurement, parts sorting and inspection, parts sorting services, dimensional metrology, parts sorting, on-site, on-site measurement, on-site parts sorting, on-site inspection, onsite

CT Scanning: Harnessing the Power of X-Ray for Part Inspection

Posted by Mike Knicker on Jul 31, 2017 4:08:31 PM

 CT Scanning Harnessing the Power of X-Ray for Part Inspection.jpg

Getting to the heart of intricate, small parts using testing methods that require that the part remain unaltered can be a behemoth of a task. In the case of these small parts, the features within can be extremely complex and layered, making it difficult to accurately obtain dimensional measurements without cutting into the part. This is where CT scanning, also known as Computed Tomography scanning, provides a solution for situations requiring a dimensional testing technique that does not cause damage to the part.

CT Scanning Data for Analysis 

BRUKER - 1173_02-battery-AA_CAPTION.jpgCT scanning does not require any external forces such as pressure or stress to be applied on the part being scanned. Instead, it uses X-ray technology for internal inspection. This method uses an X-ray source to transmit a beam or beams through the part, causing thousands of 2D X-ray images to be captured by the detector panel. Unlike 3D scanning which uses structured light or laser to capture a point cloud, these multiple X-ray images combine to form voxel data. A voxel is a volume element in the form of a pixel or point in 3D space. Using software, these images are then reconstructed slice by slice into a 3D model which can be analyzed further. For dimensional measurement purposes, the voxel data is typically converted into a precise point cloud using very specialized purpose-specific software. The point cloud can then be post-processed into inspection results or, for reverse engineering, a 3D CAD model.

Types of CT Scanning Analysis

  • Analyzing Wall Thickness
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Failure Analysis
  • Porosity Analysis
  • Part to Part Comparison
  • Part to Cad Comparison
  • Dimensional Inspection
  • Composite Analysis

BRUKER - Inhaler_CAPTION.jpgWhile CT scanning produces highly accurate results without physical damage to the part, it is not an ideal testing method for every type of part. Parts that are very large, or are made of high density materials, or have very flat dimensions provide a challenge when scanned using this method.

At Q-PLUS Labs, we specialize in finding the right measurement solution for your application. Sometimes that involves an array of equipment to provide the most accurate measurements for a part. We are uniquely equipped as an ISO 9001 registered and ISO 17025 accredited dimensional measurement lab and provide the finest in inspection, measurement, and metrology engineering expertise. 

Contact us for assistance with your dimensional measurement needs, CT scanning questions, or to request a quote.

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Topics: dimensional measurement, dimensional inspection equipment, dimensional measurement services, metrology lab, CT Scanning, X-Ray, Failure investigation, porosity analysis, part to cad analysis, dimensional analysis, composite analysis, Wall Thickness, part to part analysis, computed tomography

The Importance of Part Sorting & Inspection Services

Posted by Mike Knicker on Jun 30, 2017 3:21:36 PM

 How Does It Measure Up CMMs vs Articulating Arms.jpg

We all know the old adage, "time is money." For OEMs especially, both time and money are essential factors when it comes to the entire production process, from design down to inspection. With the exponential improvements to the technology involved in the production process, the amount of time it usually takes to mass produce parts has been considerably curtailed, saving companies also on the cost it usually takes to previously produce those parts. But what happens when something goes wrong in the final stages of production, and defective parts are shipped out?

Can it be fixed?

The solution depends on factors unique to your specific schedule and cost of production. Will the cost to recall the parts back to their original destination be significantly more than the cost to have the parts inspected and sorted at their shipping destination? How much time will be involved in the inspection, sorting, and containment of the parts compared to the amount of time it will take to have them scrapped and start over with production? No one likes having to deal with the consequences of mistakes, but part sorting and inspection at the shipment's destination can be a viable solution for these mistakes when the factors of keeping costs down and maintaining the delivery schedule are of critical importance.

What will fix the situation?

Inspecting and sorting parts at the shipment's destination is a corrective measure that may involve quite a few more services. It is important to find a company that is able to deploy personnel quickly to efficiently execute on these types of services, thereby streamlining the process to help get things back on track.

In addition to part sorting and inspection, some of these services include:

  • Part Rework or Repair
  • Light Assembly
  • Part Containment
  • Quality Partnerships
  • Scanning

Every company wants happy customers. Inspecting and sorting parts at their destination may help save time and money in the corrective process to stay on schedule and deliver the right parts. Services that help you provide defect-free products also help to reinforce your relationship with your customers while maintaining your product's integrity.

Q-PLUS Labs offers a full spectrum of solutions

As a registered ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, Q-PLUS Labs is committed to making sure your product meets your expectations at the highest standards. With our fully equipped dimensional metrology lab, our personnel are veterans at helping our customers maintain their product's integrity. Whether you require on-site inspection or in a controlled lab environment, we deploy both speed and accuracy with our services, and will help you maintain your tight schedule. With over 30 years of experience in the field, you can be assured that we are deeply knowledgeable in understanding our customer's needs when it comes to maintaining and delivering quality.

Contact us for assistance with your dimensional measurement needs, part sorting and inspection questions, or to request a quote.

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Topics: dimensional measurement, 3D scanners, dimensional inspection equipment, 3D scanning equipment, dimensional measurement services, metrology lab, part sorting, part sorting and inspection, part containment, part rework, part inspection, sorting services, inspection services

How Does It Measure Up: CMMs vs. Articulating Arms

Posted by Mike Knicker on May 31, 2017 4:18:18 PM

 How Does It Measure Up CMMs vs Articulating Arms.jpg

How are your measurements adding up? Do you need automation combined with a high level of accuracy? Or perhaps, your application demands a portable measurement device for its ability to reach difficult to measure features? With the ever growing need for accurate measurements in a rapid paced manufacturing industry, knowing the best type of universal 3D dimensional measurement device available for your application will help streamline both your manufacturing and quality inspection processes. 

What is a CMM?

Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) are mechanical systems that use measuring transducer technology to convert probe and physical measurements of an object's surface into electrical signals that are then analyzed by specialized metrology software. There are many different types of CMMs; cmm_descrip.jpgthe most basic systems use hard probes and XYZ read-outs, while the most complex employ fully automated continuous contact probing. For a system like a bridge CMM which uses this set of axes, each axis is used to indicate the system's position or location in space. The probe head determines the values on the Z-axis by moving up and down the system's bridge. The system's Y-axis determines its values by moving over the entire CMM's base. The values for the X-axis are determined by moving back and forth across the bridge.

Stationary CMMs such as bridge type CMMs, provide quality assurance with efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility due to their programmability. They can be set up for automated, repeated measuring tasks which do not need to be reprogrammed each time. In general, CMMs come with a wide array of sensors and probes and are ten times more accurate than articulating arms. However, due to the sensitive nature of these measuring instruments such as contact and vision-based probes as well as vision and laser sensors, which comprise most CMMs, a temperature and humidity controlled environment is an important factor to consider prior to incorporating a system into the quality inspection process. Unlike articulating arms which offer portability, CMMs are usually stationary or cumbersome to move. Also, there are a number of different software programs that run the machines, which would mean a significant investment in training CMM operators.

What is an Articulating Arm?

An articulating arm is a type of CMM that uses rotary encoders on multiple rotation axes instead of linear scales to determine the position of the probe. These manual systems are not automated, but they are portable and can reach around or into objects in a way that cannot be accomplished with a conventional CMM to perform 3D inspections, tool certifications, CAD comparison, dimensional analysis, reverse engineering, and more. The movement of the articulating arm allows for ease of use, as well as a broader scope of measuring ability as it pivots at the wrist, elbow, shoulder, and base of the system. The encoders at the system's base triangulate the location of each joint to the probe tip in 3D space.

articulating_arm_descrip.jpg

The measurements of very large parts can be easily accommodated by moving the articulating arm into another location around that part. The system's robust software is able to compile the measurement data from these individual locations and stitch all the data together to extend the measurement volume.

The ability to easily transport a highly accurate system such as an articulating arm allows users to take measurements onsite and in difficult to reach scenarios, without having to disassemble parts or transport large and heavy parts onto a fixed base. Improvements to articulating arms also include the integration of laser line scanners in combination with the traditional touch probe, thereby allowing the system to seamlessly scan across a diversity of surface materials, including those with high contrast, reflectivity, and geometric complexities. Unlike fixed CMMs, the probe of an articulating arm is not restricted to travel within the extent of a confined measurement bed. However, compared to the CMM which can be programmed to automate measurement, the articulating arm is manual and dependent on the operator to take measurements by moving the probe to each location on the part, and produces measurements which are generally less accurate than the fixed CMM. Operators will also have to learn to adjust to the motion of using the articulating arm, as it is fixed to a base.

Consider All Factors

There is not a single particular factor that will determine if a CMM or an articulating arm is best suited for your specific application. However, factors to consider that will inevitably affect the final decision will include:

  • Accuracy of measurement results
  • Portability of the system
  • Size of the parts being measured
  • Features that will be measured
  • Degree of automation required during measurement
  • Cost of the system
  • Cost of training operators

Q-PLUS Labs has been a leading dimensional measurement laboratory since 1987 and, in addition to its wide array of services and products, specializes in helping companies find the right measurement solutions to meet their needs. Contact us for answers to your dimensional measurement and inspection questions or to request a quote.

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Topics: dimensional measurement, dimensional inspection, 3D scanners, dimensional inspection equipment, CMMs, articulating arms, 3D scanning equipment, Faro Arm, dimensional measurement services, measurement services,, coordinate measuring machines, metrology lab