Manufacturing inspection and reverse engineering at a sheet metal company in Burnie, Tasmania, has been made far more accurate and efficient through recently installed imaging equipment.
SERS Sheetmetal Works and Lasercutting Services is now winning lucrative defence, marine and other contracts it could not previously tackle because it was not able to supply the required certification of accuracy for machined components.
“Our clients require very fine manufacturing tolerances, sometimes in the range of plus or minus 0.02 mm. Hand checking using a micrometer just wasn’t giving us the accuracy and ease of measurement we needed,” said SERS Managing Director, Diane Edgerton.
The capability gains came about since purchasing InspecVision, from Advanced Sheetmetal Technologies , which uses a high resolution static camera and powerful software to create a dxf image of the machined component.
This image is then compared with the design dxf by overlapping the two images on screen. InspecVision automatically measures any deviation from accepted tolerances and produces a report.
“We know immediately where our workmanship has erred and can correct it. When we’ve achieved a pass, we print out the report and give it to our client along with the finished component. This is a huge step forward for our Quality Assurance,” Edgerton said.
“We can now give our customers all the certification they require. In fact, in our reporting we go over and above what they ask for.
“A major benefit for us is that we can take on clients such as the Defence Department that we couldn’t service before because we didn’t comply with the required inspection documentation,” she said.
As well as using InspecVision for quality control purposes, SERS uses the technology for reverse engineering components or drawings supplied by clients – resulting in enormous gains in productivity.
The equipment creates a digital image of a component or a printed illustration that is automatically converted into a dxf file for laser cutting, routing or punch pressing. This has hugely reduced the drawing time in the workshop – a major commercial benefit for SERS.
“I would say it’s made us ten times more efficient in this area, allowing us to take on much more work than before. It has really opened the door for us,” Edgerton said.
“Sometimes customers will supply damaged parts they want replicated. The InspecVision software program is able to make good the damaged area in the digitised drawing, so we can proceed to manufacture.”
SERS is now looking for further uses for the program that will help the company go even further in the services it offers customers.
“Advanced Sheetmetal Technologies has been excellent in showing us what InspecVision can do.”
“Its technical experts came down to Tasmania to install the equipment and train our staff. They always make sure they’re readily available to us. Back up service is there all the time,” she said.
InspecVision’s technology offers many advantages:
- Speed – complete component measurement at speeds of 100 to 7000 (or more) times faster than competing systems
- Reliability – No moving parts to recalibrate, less to wear out, unlike competing system which have expensive and sensitive scanning lasers or moving cameras
- Accuracy – No moving parts means near perfect repeatability and better accuracy
- Robustness – Unlike competing systems the InspecVision system is highly tolerant of vibration, dirt and scratches on the glass measurement surface.
Developed by European company InspecVision, the product has several standard sizes but can easily be configured to dimensions that suit client needs.