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3D Scanning Streamlines Production Process

3D Scanning Streamlines Production Process

Tolerances on blade manufacturing tightened as OEMs drove to differentiate themselves by offering high performance lawn and garden products. To achieve customer goals, Blount International knew they had to incorporate more automation into their quality inspection process.  Article by Mark Thomas, Marketing Director, OGP.

As a leading manufacturer of equipment, accessories and replacement parts for the lawn and garden market, Blount International was looking to improve their profitability and exceed their customer delivery expectations. They were faced with the problem of how to economically produce a variety of nearly 1,900 different OEM lawnmower blades. The large selection of blades required by their OEM customers meant short production runs and multiple tooling changes each day. Their goal was to improve product quality while controlling costs and meeting shipment commitments.

Tolerances on blade manufacturing tightened as OEMs drove to differentiate themselves by offering high performance lawn and garden products. To achieve customer goals, Blount knew they had to incorporate more automation into their quality inspection process.

The Need For 3D Metrology Scanner

The company had always used traditional methods of measurement such as hand callipers and height gages to verify the conformance of its mower blades to customer specifications. The company’s Engineering Manager, Brian Brunk, believed that complex product features could be measured more efficiently with a 3D metrology scanner that can quickly and accurately verify part dimensions, regardless of shape complexity.

A ShapeGrabber 3D scanner from OGP was selected because of the ability to provide fast, accurate, noncontact measurements of nearly any material or shape without the need for special tools or fixtures. The scanner was also large enough to handle the largest Blount product offering.

Compared to conventional tactile CMM techniques, measuring one point at a time, 3D scanners capture millions of surface points on even the most complex geometry parts, and can quickly compare the results to a CAD design. Deviations from the CAD design are easily identified, making tooling acceptance decisions fast and accurate – meaning part production can start sooner, and with higher confidence.

Beneficial To Entire Production Process

Graphical models of ShapeGrabber measurements make part quality decisions easy without tying up other measuring systems. Melissa Rice, Continuous Improvement Coordinator at Blount detailed their process with the ShapeGrabber system: “Before we release a new die for production, we do a capability study to prove the accuracy of the die and qualify the tooling. ShapeGrabber provides the ability to do that through automation rather than manual inspection. ShapeGrabber has assisted us in improving our first-pass yield. When we can produce a quality part the first time, the entire production process benefits.”

For in-process inspection, the ShapeGrabber system has been proven to be easy-to-use and highly automated. After an initial scan, the same scanning parameters may be used for subsequent parts, delivering consistent results irrespective of operator skill or experience. Ease-of-use is manifested daily as dozens of production personnel routinely use the scanner, each having just minimal training.

Culture Of Quality

An unexpected benefit of the ShapeGrabber scanner system has also been reported: it is supporting a “culture of quality” at Blount. Employees are taking more ownership of the products and their quality. “The 3D scanner has engaged the people who use it more than they were engaged before. Now, we see employees taking more ownership of the products and their quality throughout the manufacturing organisation,” remarked Mr. Brunk.

 

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Precision For Guaranteed Stability Using 3D Scanners

Precision For Guaranteed Stability Using 3D Scanners

PERI checks key components for formwork and scaffolding systems with ZEISS COMET and ZEISS T-SCAN. Article by Carl Zeiss.

“There is always something being built here,” said Daniel Steck as he enters the extensive premises of PERI, one of the world’s largest producers and suppliers of formwork and scaffolding systems. Together with a colleague, Steck is responsible for measuring technology at company headquarters in Weißenhorn, Germany. Prototypes, reference gages and initial samples all make their way to his measuring lab.

When Steck joined the Quality Assurance department three years ago after studying to become a mechanical engineer, the company was still performing manual measurements with a profile projector. This was not only time-consuming, but also meant the measuring results could not be reproduced. “Each person had their own approach to measuring which led to different results,” recalled Steck. This is a common problem with manual measurements.

As the functionality of in Weißenhorn inspected component has to be guaranteed so that they can later be used without any problems, the company had to find a solution everyone could count on. “Ultimately, it comes down to making sure people are safe when constructing framework and scaffolding.”

Precise Acquisition Of Component Geometry With Optical 3D Scanning Systems

“We use the parts we produce ourselves as much as possible,” explained the quality assurance expert. For example: a ledger UH – the horizontal bar on the scaffolding – comprises a pipe, wedges, and wedge heads welded to both ends. This ledger UH is later mounted between the scaffolding uprights. The shape of the individual components ensures a secure fit. The resulting tension is essential for the stability of the entire solution: “Without this, the ledgers might come loose.”

Thus, PERI employs this design for all its scaffolding worldwide. To ensure optimum quality, all components are first measured individually and then again following assembly – the exact tolerances are specified in the design drawings. A thorough inspection requires an extremely exact capture of the entire component geometry.

PERI first conducted a benchmarking analysis and opted to purchase an optical solution that would meet their special requirements. They quickly set their sights on ZEISS and immediately decided to purchase two measuring systems for inspecting the entire spectrum of PERI components: ZEISS COMET and ZEISS T-SCAN. Steck was pleased with this decision. “Learning to operate these user-friendly systems was no sweat. That helped me a lot when I was still learning the ropes,” said Steck, who started using the new systems as soon as he joined the department.

He measures the smaller, individual parts like ledger heads and wedges with the ZEISS COMET. The fringe projection system captures data at a rate of 1.25 megapixels per second with great precision, speed, and largely automatically.

The parts are positioned on the rotary table and fixtured as needed. After that, the measuring system runs automatically: “It is really great knowing you can trust the system, freeing you up to do other things during the measurement.”

Measurement Of Larger Components With The Hand-Held Laser Scanner ZEISS T-SCAN

With ZEISS T-SCAN, Steck measures larger components like formwork elements and the aforementioned ledgers UH. He takes the manual laser scanner and first measures the ledger pipe by itself and later the entire welded construction, including ledger heads.

“This is also quick and easy,” he reported. Steck demonstrates how ZEISS T-SCAN achieves the perfect measuring distance, using a green dot that intersects with the red laser stripe. He then moves the scanner over the upper and lower side of the component just once.

Generating precise, repeatable results is particularly important for initial inspection. “We have suppliers from all over the world. They receive standard test protocols with the measurement reports created with the ZEISS systems – this way, everyone is on the same page if any improvements are necessary.”

If the component meets PERI’s specifications, then random sampling is performed at regular intervals. The same process applies to new potential suppliers. During the approval process, inspection gages are created for individual components so that the team in the Incoming Goods area can perform quick, reliable measurements to check the products’ dimensions and functionality.

The quality of the inspection gages is also checked with the ZEISS measuring systems prior to use, and these are then recalibrated regularly.

Reconstruction of CAD Data With Reverse Engineering

In addition to these standard requirements, reverse engineering is also part and parcel of the engineer’s work. “Until now, reverse engineering has simply not been an option when dealing with old tools and their replacement parts. Often there are not any design drawings available.” That is why Steck scans these older components with the ZEISS COMET to create drawings based on these precise 3D models, including the exact tolerances. “For us, this is more than just reverse engineering – this is how we keep knowledge in the company.”

At PERI, measuring technology serves a variety of different purposes. “At the end of the day, it is nice to know that you have played your part in producing great components.”

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3D Scanner Market To Experience Double Digit Growth Till 2022

3D Scanner Market To Experience Double Digit Growth Till 2022

In its first forecast of the 3D scanner market, International Data Corporation (IDC) projects that worldwide 3D scanner shipments will grow to more than 273 million units in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.0 percent over the 2018-2022 forecast period. Total market value is expected to reach USD 1.74 billion in 2022 with a five-year CAGR of 11.5 percent.

Since the development of 3D scanners, the market has been largely focused on a few industries and use cases. Oil refineries and related plants are one of the largest clients for these products on an industrial level and manufacturing, particularly the auto industry, has used 3D scanning as a means of determining quality control and inventory management. Als0 as prices have come down over the past ten years, the market for 3D scanners has begun to expand and starting with ocular and dental use cases, the medical field has been exploring the use of 3D scanners for a variety of applications.

“The fragmented and concentrated nature of the 3D scanning market kept the market from expanding in the past. Within the past decade, continued interest in various vertical industries and similar factors leading to the growth of the 3D printer market are starting to push the market toward more mainstream applications. Our forecast looks at the main influences that push this market forward, and what we expect will lead to future developments,” said Max Pepper, Research Analyst, Imaging, Printing, Document Solutions at IDC.

For the purposes of this forecast, a 3D scanner is a metrological device that can optically identify, analyse, collect, and display geometric shapes or three-dimensional environments within a digital environment using computer-aided modeling. Optical 3D scanners use a variety of technologies, including structured light (both “blue light” and “white light”), laser triangulation, time of flight, phase shift, stereoscopic, infrared laser, and photogrammetry. IDC’s definition does not include contact scanners.

The 3D scanner market can be segmented into two sub-markets for handheld and stationary configurations. Handheld 3D scanning devices have a handle and are meant to be physically moved around an object to scan while being held. Stationary 3D scanners are those devices that do not fit the definition of a “handheld” device and includes shoulder- and cart-mounted devices as well as scanners attached to robotic arms.

In 2017, stationary scanners represented 57 percent of worldwide 3D scanner shipments with the remaining 43 percent belonging to handheld scanners. By 2022, IDC expects shipments of handheld scanners will grow to 45 percent of the overall market. This is largely due to the growth in the <USD 5,000 price band where handheld units are more popular and improvements in handheld technology among professional and industrial-focused products. In terms of market value, higher-priced stationary 3D scanners are expected to maintain their 89 percent share of overall market value throughout the forecast.

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New Heights For Aerospace Industry

New Heights For Aerospace Industry

The challenges that the aerospace sector, in particular, presents motivates manufacturers to generate more inspired solutions to meet customer demands. Contributed by Sutton Tools

Melbourne-based Sutton Tools has never been hesitant about the expansion of its global markets. To its credit, the manufacturer has recently delivered increased productivity gains for a European aerospace customer.

Jeff Boyd, export manager of Sutton Tools said, “Our business has been built on tackling the most challenging demands for tools, and the aerospace sector is a prime example of an industry that constantly demands sophisticated solutions. However, it’s a tough market where there is a lot of competition and success is based on the ability to prove productivity gains.”

Several aerospace component producers in France had been buying a competitor’s brand, leading the Sutton Tools European office to identify an opportunity to manufacture a better performing solution and in doing so, win the business by delivering a 20 percent productivity gain for the customer.  Continual demand to lower costs through productivity is a key issue for the aviation and aerospace industries, with customers emphasising the need for reliance on tool stability so they can confidently forecast their production schedules and reduce machine down time.

“We recognised that development of specific aviation industry cutting tools is critical. These tools need a longer life and faster cycle times when working with high strength materials such as titanium and Inconel,” Mr Boyd said.

“The customer’s needs focused on solid carbide milling cutters between 12 to 20 mm that could deliver stable performance across a range of applications,” recounted Mr Boyd. The search commenced for a solution with full understanding that the demands of the industry meant that the company had to push the boundaries of its design and manufacturing technologies across its entire knowledge base of microgeometry, materials, coatings and micro-finishing of surfaces.

Pushing the Envelope To Produce Smarter Tools

The engineering team at Sutton Tools focused on the need for a smoother, high precision surface finish which would also strengthen the adhesion of the tool coating. To achieve the high finish needed, test results were compared from grinding tools using the tool maker’s traditional Anca ball-screw movement machines with an Anca linear motion tool grinder.

The team also experimented with different grinding wheel grades and grinding parameters to determine the best possible finish. After studying surface roughness of the tools, it was discovered that the output from a linear motion grinder could achieve a higher accuracy of surface finish than ball-screw machines.

To validate grinding methods, an optical 3D scanning technique was utilised to measure the surface area roughness at 100-1 magnification on the rake face and cutting edge on the tools. This 3D technique enabled the quality levels to be managed to a considerably high level of accuracy.

“The intensive engineering approach by our team produced a successful outcome for the customer by improving their productivity,” Mr Boyd stated, adding also that such a process has effectively demonstrated that Sutton possesses the capability of being a reliable aerospace industry supplier.

While Sutton Tools operates advanced manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands and India, it is the Melbourne factory that has carried out the whole evaluation process and produced these application-specific end mills for the French aerospace market.

In the past, titanium was not easy to machine. However, since this material has been adopted in many industries, the experience amassed by fabricators gives us lots of titanium machining insight. Today, titanium can be fabricated just as simply as stainless steel.

Here are some noteworthy things when machining titanium:

  1. Recommended cutting speed. This should be less than 60 m/min for roughing and three to four times that when finishing. Otherwise, thermal softening as well as chemical reaction between tool and workpiece, may occur. Feed rates are entirely dependent upon chip loads as well as other elements, but should be large enough to prevent work hardening. Follow cutting tool manufacturers’ recommendations.
  2. Titanium conducts heat very slowly. During machining operations, poor thermal conductivity traps heat in the work zone, severely compromising cutting tools. If your machine setup can handle the additional load, consider raising the feed rate to transfer more heat into the chips.
  3. High heat and stringy chips. Because of this, a copious flow of clean cutting fluid is required.
  4. Titanium is extremely tough. Use positive rake geometry. The cutting tool must be sharp and should have a tough substrate and hard coating.
  5. Filtration to 25-micron or better is critical. Increasing its concentration to at least 10 percent, and installing a high-pressure pump of 500 psi or more removes chips from the work area. Using coolant-fed cutting tools with inserts enhances chip control. Investing in a high-quality machine tool is key if you are serious about titanium.
  6. Titanium will grab end mills under heavy loads. This leads to scrapped workpieces and broken tools. Getting no-fail toolholders for your cutters, and hydraulic vises with hardened and ground jaws for clamping titanium parts, remedies the issue.
  7. Develop a sound machining procedure prior to the first cut. All of the part features should be analysed, taking special consideration of unsupported areas, tall or thin walls and difficult to reach features. Planning your moves carefully by utilising the right cutters, feeds and speeds, and generating toolpaths helps meet the above conditions.
GOM: Measurement And Evaluation Software

GOM: Measurement And Evaluation Software

GOM has developed the V8 version of its measurement and evaluation software, GOM Inspect Professional. One of the functions enables the tracking of movements and deviations in real time. The live module allows Atos 3D scanners to trace single points as well as complete component geometries in space.

In addition, the software simplifies the analysis of recurring structures, which often occur on mould cavities, gears or connectors. Using the cluster analysis, a complete set of evaluations can be marked and shifted to the next position within a structure. At The push of a button, the software recalculates the individual inspection elements. In this way, the entire inspection process for recurring structures can be repeated quickly.

Aicon: Automated Scanning In Production

Aicon: Automated Scanning In Production

The stereoScan white light scanner can capture minimal deviations and delicate structures with high accuracy (<0.1 mm). In contrast to a coordinate measuring machine which touches single points, the
scanner captures the entire surface of the component. This results in a higher density of information. The user gets an exact 3D image of the measuring object with a colour map showing the deviations from CAD-data.

The 3D scanner comes with two 16-megapixel-cameras and is characterised by a detail resolution and an accuracy previously only known from coordinate measuring machines.

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