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How cobots are changing quality assurance in manufacturing
26. January 2017 / By Universal Robots / 7 Comments
If a product made it through your quality assurance processes with a defect and landed in the hands of your customer, how would you feel? If this happened to hundreds or thousands of products over time what would this cost your business? Time, product returns, stress, loss of customers and possibly reduced profitability.
California based software solutions company 3D Infotech was founded in 2005 and introduced a world first, Universal Metrology Automation ®. The integration of robots, 3D scanners, and inspection software to create a configurable automated metrology solution that addresses many challenges faced by manufacturers today
The Streamline automation software can be used to create a scalable metrology solution tailored to a specific application. It is compatible with all UR robots, any 3D scanner, and will automate 3D scanning to capture dense, high quality data for analysis in Polyworks.
3D Infotech President, Rohit Khanna said he partnered with Universal Robots because of their unique product offering which demonstrates thought leadership and industrial strength. Especially with the UR3 robot having an IP64 rating. Universal Metrology Automation ® has been certified by UR and is available through the Universal Robots+ showroom.
The entire inspection process, including scanning, analyzing, and reporting is completely automated within minutes. Saving businesses time and significantly increasing productivity.
A robot’s position, scanner exposure settings, and rotary table positions can all be configured simultaneously within Streamline. The user-friendly interface provides the operator the ability to setup the automated system in a simple way, allowing mass deployment across a variety of product families.
Instant, visual feedback from the sensor during programming allows the user to optimize robot paths and scanner exposure settings. Streamline can also be integrated with back-end processes such as an enterprise database, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and Quality Management Systems (QMS). Advanced integration allows machining applications such as CNC post processing to correct a defective part.
“Universal Metrology Automation ® is for anyone doing discrete manufacturing for example castings, forgings, plastics and machined parts. These large segments lend themselves to this type of technology. Complex manufacturing is a good fit“, Khanna said.
A variety of quality control solutions are being used by businesses today, which can create risk.
“Manufacturers started to use 3D scanners over the last 10 years or so however they don’t have measurement tools to go with the scanners. It’s not a complete solution.
“In recent years we’ve also seen businesses try to automate metrology, and it takes a long time - anywhere from six months to one year or more to implement - and this length of time can negatively impact a business. Our scanners and software can be implemented and up and running in as little as one week”, he said.
Many manufacturers are using hand tools like calipers, tape measures or height gages for measurement, which cause problems with consistency.
“A big challenge for manufacturers is repeatability. When there are operators working in the morning and there is a change of shift in the evening, the output can be quite different,” explains the 3D Infotech President.
“With traditional measuring tools, you only measure what you touch which works out to be under 10 percent of the product so problems can go through the quality assurance process and be completely missed. Our technology measures up to 100 percent of the product repeatably.”
With anything in life, you must take the first step.
“One way we allow customers to experience Universal Metrology Automation ® is by conducting a collaborative engineering study or pilot project which allows us to validate what we’re saying will work for their business. This allows the customer to see the value and opportunities this type of technology will bring to their business.
These are some of the benefits of Universal Metrology Automation ®:
One of the main features that makes this solution unique is the data analysis and reporting in PolyWorks, which provides Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) inspection capabilities, ensuring parts are manufactured to the specifications provided by engineering.
“Within the reports, you can see features and trends of certain parts so potential issues can be identified quickly before they become a problem. For example, Statistical Process Control in PolyWorks identifies trends in the manufacturing process and can alert manufactures of issues that may require further investigation. Manufacturers can quickly respond to these metrics and allows for data-driven decision making. We call this predictive maintenance, which has immense value for all businesses”, said Khanna.
As customer expectations and demand increases, its imperative manufacturers exceed quality standards and focus on delivering products efficiently in a cost-effective way without sacrificing quality and delivery.
If you’re interested in learning more about Universal Metrology Automation ® it is available through the Universal Robots+ showroom.
We believe that collaborative robotic technology can be used to benefit all aspects of task-based businesses – no matter what their size.
We believe that the latest collaborative robot technology should be available to all businesses. The nominal investment cost is quickly recovered as our robotic arms have an average payback period of just six months.