metal components

The Benefits of 3D Inspection When Manufacturing Metal Components

The machine vision trend is growing and manufacturers of metal components are specifically poised to reap major benefits from 3D inspection of metal components. Automated inspection technology includes robot guidance, automatic inspection, and 3D inspection and analysis platforms. A number of industries are looking towards this technology to improve production processes and product quality, including the food industry, plastics, automotive, manufacturing, and medical devices.

metal components

Vision and imaging technology has already proven to successfully increase quality and efficiency in the manufacturing sectors. The fast processing speeds of computer-networked sensors, when married with high-speed frame-per-second cameras, enable manufacturers to inspect and produce more high-quality products with a very fast throughput. The benefits of machine vision inspection for the manufacturing industry continue to be impressive:

  • computer feedback for tighter process control
  • reduced scrap rate and/or rework
  • higher quality gauging, measurements, and verification
  • upgraded performance of existing equipment and machinery
  • repetitive tasks are automated versus manual
  • inventory control through OCR identification

The image-based automatic inspection systems market sector has experienced 24% growth in 2016 as vision systems are entering new industries. New 3D smart sensors are the currently trending technology in the machine vision industry paving the way for 3D imaging of metal components for automated inspection.

Challenges in Metal Components Manufacturing

Manufacturing defects in metal components can occur at multiple stages of the manufacturing process. Some are introduced early in the manufacturing process, but the end result of product failure is responsible for scrapped productions or defective end-use components. The complex chemical, physical, and metallurgical reactions of metal components are better envisioned with 3D machine inspection of components to detect the following:

  • Raw material defects – shrinkage, porosity, holes, cracks, surface defects, residual stresses
  • Metal component defects – cracks, seams, surface defects, forming defects
  • Metal fabrication defects – burrs, chip-offs, welds, alignment, stresses

New technologies are leading the way for advanced imaging in the manufacturing process, from raw material inspection to final assembly verification.

Inspection Application Solutions

The IFM 03d Smart Sensor’s patented 3D chip technology is just one of the ground-breaking technologies which enables 3D inspection in seconds.

Each pixel of this chip matrix evaluates its distance to the object. The image of the object on the chip matrix and the respective distance values correspond to a 3D image. The integrated evaluation enables the detailed assessment of the object’s or scene’s conditions by means of box dimensioning, case completeness, distance or level detection in three dimensions.

With human-like vision, the 03D industrial smart sensor allows for the automated perception of metal components during material handing – in three dimensions. From verifying complete case fill to product sequencing and box dimensioning applications, the palleting process time is decreased.

Cognex has developed applications for machine vision technology which identifies irregularities, defects, and other manufacturing flaws such as functional flaws and contaminants. Additionally, 3D inspection technology can be used to evaluate the following processes or functions:

  • CNC machine measurements
  • X-Y stage positioning
  • monitoring die extrusions
  • thickness measurements
  • welder wire positioning
  • double feed sheet metal detection
  • brake press repeatability

SICK’s 3D vision inspection series offers an array of flexible and powerful products designed for operation in harsh industrial environments.

They range from versatile high-speed cameras that deliver high quality 3D and contrast images to smart and configurable stand-alone sensors that facilitate rapid development and easy integration.

SICK’s line includes solutions for:

  • gast 3D measurement and MultiScan for advanced industrial solutions
  • Gigabit 3D vision for tough environments
  • reliable and precise snapshot 3D for large field of view
  • intuitive 3D inspection for moving parts

With the integration of new camera technology and 3D sensors, manufacturing engineers are envisioning optimized shop processes and reduced scrap. Additional benefits of 3D inspection technology when manufacturing metal components include:

  • inspections performed in high-speed environments
  • surface defects are quickly identified
  • product quality can be tightly controlled
  • simultaneous height, thickness, and volume measurements

The manufacturing industry will continue to align 3D inspection systems into their automation processes to stay successful in a highly competitive arena. Contact us to discuss our machine vision integration platforms that are custom matched to your specific manufacturing vision. We offer a full-service machine vision consulting along with comprehensive field service capabilities.

Download our free capabilities booklet to learn more.