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Quality is one of the most important aspects of manufacturing today. Businesses must be able to trust that the systems they use will do what they need in a timely manner. Consumers place high demands on products and expect brands to live up to them. A reputation for poor quality can break a business by jeopardizing a brand image and consumer trust. This means that businesses must have robust, precise, and scalable quality processes and tools in place to remain competitive.

In the world of manufacturing and engineering, 3D measurement solutions can help greatly increase overall quality and enable scalable, repeatable, workflows that keep a business ahead of the curve and exceeding customer expectations. An integral part of Industry 4.0 and Agile Manufacturing, 3D measurement technologies can also improve quality control by helping obtain precise, repeatable, and fast measurements in an automated fashion. In this piece, we will explore the 4 ways 3D measurement technology can be used to improve quality control and help drive your business forward.  

Benefit 1: Enhanced Speed

A defect on even the smallest physical part can bring down a system. Identifying defects can be an arduous and time-consuming task. However, by using a 3D scanner, quality engineers can capture precise data on the geometry of a given part and use 3D scanning software, like ATOS Professional Software to quickly identify defects using color maps and other advanced analysis features. This reduces the time it takes to perform root cause analysis and take corrective action.

Additionally, 3D scanning inspection software reduces the amount of time inspection tasks take. By replacing pre-programmed points (that required highly skilled employees to dedicate non-trivial amounts of time to create) with 3D color & coordinate maps, inspection tasks can be reduced from days to hours. This means more time can be spent addressing problems since less time is spent looking for them. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with 3D scanning inspection software, we offer GOM Inspect Software free of charge.

3D scanning also helps reduce quality issues in the manufacturing process by speeding up the processes associated with capturing precise measurement data. Oftentimes, production deadlines can be the bane of quality. The old adage “fast, cheap, and good, pick two” is popular because the inherent quality/time tradeoffs many engineering teams must face often lead to cutting corners and reducing quality or dragging out projects and missing deadlines. A quality 3D measuring machine and associated software can significantly shift this paradigm and enable rapid inspection or prototyping without significant delays.

For example, the ATOS 5X, a scanning system specifically designed for tool, press, and body shops boasts acquisition times as low as 0.2 seconds per scan. This level of speed enables a precise, complete scan of a car body (inside and out) in about 30 minutes. Further, the precise digital scans enable digital assembly workflows based on the accurate 3D measurement data. Using the automotive industry as an example, this means analysis can be performed on an entire car body delivering precise and meaningful data for dimensional inspection.

Benefit 2: Increased Repeatability

The level of accuracy and reliability of a given measurement often dictate how repeatable a given process is. By leveraging precise 3D measurement technology, quality teams can ensure that their inspections produce repeatable and accurate results every time. For example, the ATOS Plus add-on is designed specifically to enable high precision and rapid product inspection workflows. Equipped with a 12 or 29 million megapixel camera, the ATOS Plus is certified and verified according to stringent VDI acceptance tests. To see the ATOS Plus in action, click here.

Benefit 3: Automation

Adding automation to workflows is one of the driving factors helping shape Industry 4.0. However, there is a common misconception that bringing automation to the world of inspection and analysis can often be too difficult to be feasible, particularly when it comes to 3D scanning. This misconception stems from the fact that 3D scanning technologies that require the use of CMM (coordinate measuring machine) required a coordinate position being referenced before the measurement process and single measurements taken at each programmed point where a probe contacts a given part’s surface. ATOS 3D scanners shift this paradigm and easily enable turn-key automated 3D scanning.

This means that regardless of a part’s position, the part’s precise geometry can be scanned and a coordinate system can be added after the fact from the measurement data. This enables a significant amount of automation to be added to inspection processes. To provide an impressive example from the automotive industry, check out this video of the ATOS 5X scanning a complete car body.  

Benefit 4: Improved Overall Quality & Process Improvement

Precision, repeatability, and precision are the name of the game when it comes to quality, and ATOS scanners like the GOM ATOS Triple Scan are unmatched in these areas. For example, Capture 3D was able to win the GE Aviation High Accuracy, High Throughput Inspection Technologies Challenge: “3 minutes or less with accuracy of 10 microns and repeatability of 5 microns.” using GOM ATOS technology. However, those specific process benefits are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the quality control benefits of 3D measurement technology. The wealth of quantifiable data is what truly makes 3D measurement such an important part of quality control.

Measurement is always the first step in quality control. If there are no quantifiable metrics to judge or standards to judge against, continuous improvement will be a challenge. By capturing precise, measurable data and enabling repeatable, automated workflows that limit human error, manufacturers position themselves to improve processes based on real-world data. In turn, this leads to improved overall quality for manufactured parts as well as faster turnaround times and the opportunity to improve vendor-facing and customer-facing workflows.

Conclusion: 3D measurement technology is a game changer for quality control

By leveraging a modern 3D measurement scanner hardware and software, businesses can significantly improve their quality processes. Each of the benefits we have discussed stem from the fundamental benefits of ATOS blue light 3D scanning hardware technology and the associated inspection software.

ATOS blue light scanners enable touchless measurements with a high level of precision. Not only are the measurements world class in accuracy and repeatability, they are highly automated and fast. This removes much of the room for human error associated with other manufacturing and quality control methods and helps reduce the time it takes to take an idea from the conceptualization stage to the production stage, while enhancing product quality throughout the entirety of the product lifecycle. 

When production problems and defects do occur, leveraging inspection software can help significantly reduce troubleshooting and inspection time and allow engineers to focus the bulk of their time on fixing, as opposed to identifying, the root cause. What makes GOM inspection software so compelling is it is able to increase the speed of problem identification without sacrificing accuracy, as our software is independently tested and certified by both PTB (Germany) and NIST (United States of America) and placed in class 1 (class with the smallest deviations in results).

If you have questions about how to best leverage digital twin technology to improve the quality of your manufacturing processes, please contact us today to learn more. At Capture 3D we are dedicated to providing our customers with industry leading 3D metrology solutions that are designed to meet the unique challenges of a given application.