3-D laser scanning improves hose inspection

An Australian supplier of rubber hoses for automobiles has invested in 3-D laser scanning as a means to ensure that its products precisely match design specifications.

3-D laser scanning improves hose inspection
3-D laser scanning improves hose inspection

An Australian supplier of rubber hoses for automobiles has invested in3-D laser scanning as a means to ensure that its products precisely match design specifications.

Mackay Consolidated Industries (Victoria, Australia) -- a Tier 1 auto supplier of engineered rubber and bonded metal/rubber composite products for OEMs such as Ford, GM and Toyota -- produces hoses in many intricate shapes and sizes.

Until recently, the company evaluated the compliance of its products to specification by measuring them by hand. Engineers used squares and gauges to compare manufactured products to 2-D printouts of CAD drawings. But this process was time consuming, costly, laborious, and inaccurate.

The Mackay team also tried using a conventional coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for inspection. But this was difficult and time consuming. What is more, neither hand measurements nor CMMs provided the documentation support Mackay needed.

A ZScanner handheld3-D laser scanner from Z Corporation (Burlington, MA, USA) proved to be the solution to the company's problems. The ZScanner 600, for example, can take 18,000 measurements per second with two cameras, providing an x-y accuracy of up to 80 microns (up to 0.003 inches) and a resolution of 0.1 mm (0.004 inches) in the z axis.

Now, instead of creating complex fixtures to set up every scanning project, in most instances, a user can simply point the ZScanner at the target object. The resulting image -- a triangulated mesh inSTL format -- can then be downloaded into PolyWorks inspection software, which aligns the image with a customer-approved CAD model.

The process produces a detailed chart pinpointing where the part complies with the specification, and most importantly, where it does not, making it easier for the engineers to spot areas that are outside specification.

Mackay can also include the images of the hoses captured by the system in its customer documentation to demonstrate the quality of the finished product. This capability helped the company win General Motors' business in the Asia-Pacific region.

-- Posted byVision Systems Design

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