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New robotic quality inspection technology

Posted on 21 Jan 2021. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 2114 times.
New robotic quality inspection technologyManchester-based precision aerospace part manufacturer Alloy Specialties has become one of the first adopters of a new robotic quality inspection technology, Tempo, from Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, that has enabled the company to increase its production capacity and staff productivity through automation.

Tempo comes from a series of Hexagon products designed to help manufacturers begin automating their quality processes in a way that doesn’t require large-scale investment and disruption. The part loading system enables teams to queue multiple inspection jobs and sort rejected parts, and easy operation means anyone can operate a coordinate measuring machine (CMM).

By using Tempo, Alloy Specialties has improved productivity by extending production time, improving labour efficiency throughout the day and helped ‘lights-out’ operations.

Dawn DiMauro, Alloy Specialties president, said: “In 2020, Alloy Specialties became a beta site for Hexagon’s new Tempo system. Hexagon’s support team has been outstanding and the Tempo system is meeting all our expectations. Currently, we are running one aerospace part exclusively on the Tempo system 24/7.

“As a result, we have seen significant impact in reducing our backlog, increasing capacity, and freeing up other CMMs. We anticipate being able to add additional parts to the Tempo queue soon and look forward to a continued partnership with Hexagon.”

The use of Tempo is part of a continuous push by Alloy Specialties to increase automation and, along with program revisions, has contributed to 50 percent faster quality inspection processes. This, in turn, is enabling the company to reduce costs and meet increased demand. As a result, Alloy Specialties is considering investing in an additional Tempo System in 2021.

Hexagon is working with manufacturers, like Alloy Specialties, to automate their quality processes in a way that does not require a substantial one-off investment. There is much to be gained from the implementation of smart manufacturing technologies, such as increased efficiency, productivity and process innovation.

But the cost of adopting new technologies can be prohibitive if outsourced to a system integrator. Such projects can also involve significant disruption as production lines are adapted, and staff are trained to use new solutions and work in a new way.

Making small incremental investments in automating quality processes, through solutions like Tempo, can help manufacturers address immediate challenges and prepare for broader transformation.

For example, Tempo is helping Alloy Specialties free up their skilled engineers, enabling them to take on more work while keeping staff costs down. In the current climate, the need to stagger shifts and schedule jobs with less staff on site can lead to resourcing issues. Making metrology processes more automated and more accessible empowers more agile cross-functional teams.

Ingo Lindner, VP Stationary CMM Devices, Hexagon’s MI division says: “All too often quality processes are an afterthought when it comes to smart manufacturing investments. Yet, this is a critical element of the manufacturing process and there is much to be gained from employing automation where it adds most value.

“Furthermore, it’s important for customers that automation doesn’t require a wholesale redesign of their workflow. Tempo is designed for fast installation with smart configuration software that guides the user through setup, so there is no need disrupt processes while it is implemented.

“As Alloy Specialties has found, smaller, incremental investments in the right technologies can have a huge impact. They can enable manufacturers to address the skills shortage by using their staff more effectively, enabling ‘lights-out’ production and paving the way for greater capacity and agility across their businesses.”