Published on 17-May-2024

Automate your Quality Control using In-Line and At-Line Metrology Solutions

Automate your Quality Control using In-Line and At-Line Metrology Solutions

Table of Content

Reducing Costs Drives the Need for Automated Quality Control

Automating quality control is indeed a compelling strategy for manufacturers to not only improve product quality, drive innovation, and address the manufacturing skills gap but also to reduce direct quality control costs as well as the expensive ripple effect of poor quality or lack of conformance.

In fact, according to the American Society for Quality, quality-related issues cost manufacturers 15-20% of sales revenue—with some going as high as 40%. Just think of all the quality control costs that can be incurred because of non-compliance:

  • Rework and scrapping
  • Production line downtimes
  • Recalls and repairs
  • Purchasing new materials
  • Changes to the production planning to accommodate a new run
  • Retesting

The push towards automated quality control has never been stronger. However, achieving it means rethinking how quality control is conducted in the manufacturing environment.

Why Traditional Measurement Systems Impede Automated Quality Control

Why Traditional Measurement Systems Impede Automated Quality Control

For many manufacturers, First Article Inspections (FAIs) are still often carried out in a dedicated metrology lab with a Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM). Bottlenecks are rampant due to the volume of inspections to be conducted. Oftentimes, there is only one CMM specialist or metrologist on hand to load, operate, and unload the machine, which slows down output. Time is wasted moving parts back and forth from the lab, making the quality control workflow inefficient. By sheer logic, automating quality control in a lab simply does not make any sense.

Other factories have tried to somewhat automate quality control by making the switch to using measurement arms right on their shop floors to eliminate CMM bottlenecks. However, measurement arms cannot afford the level of accuracy required for rigorous quality control because of ambient vibrations, dust, and changes in temperature and humidity. What’s more, measurement arms still need to be operated by a skilled worker, meaning that output is nevertheless sacrificed.

In other words, traditional measurement systems used to carry out inspections no longer cut it. They actually prevent factories from keeping up with cycle times, maximizing output, and lowering quality control costs. They also hinder automated quality control as well as the shift from preventative to proactive quality control.

And yet, there is a better way.

In-line and at-line metrology solutions: Making automated quality control easier

Many manufacturers are turning to in-line and at-line metrology solutions, which include 3D scanners, to automate their inspections and quality controls. Solutions, such as the MetraSCAN 3D-R robot-mounted optical 3D scanner and CUBE-R, a turnkey and completely customizable automated 3D scanning CMM, are changing the game and enabling manufacturers to achieve completely automated quality control.

They are being used for a wide variety of different applications, including in-process inspections of parts and tooling, in-line and at-line FAI, inspections of supplier parts before entering into production, and digitalizing quality control records for archiving, traceability, and upgrading legacy drawings.MetraSCAN 3D-R robot-mounted optical 3D scanner

Benefits of In-Line and At-Line Metrology Solutions