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Auto Manufacturer Experiences Five-Fold Increase in Job Efficiency After Switching from Fixed CMM to 3D Scan Arm

Calsonic Kansei Korea Co. produces exhaust systems for automobiles and supplies them to leading auto manufacturers in South Korea and around the world. The company's decision to change its quality inspections from fixed CMM to portable 3D scanning has led to significant improvements in the entire work process.

Calsonic Kansei Korea Co., a South Korean automobile manufacturer that supplies exhaust systems to Renault Samsung Motors Co., was established in 1996 as a joint venture company based on the technology of Calsonic Kansei, a dedicated automotive parts manufacturer in Japan.

Calsonic Kansei Korea's shop floor where exhaust systems are produced.

 

 

The company adopted the One Touch Changeover System and Inline Manufacturing concepts and applied it to its manufacturing stages, right from parts production to final assembly. This enabled the company to produce automotive parts that can be directly mounted onto a completed car, simply by fastening a couple of bolts via intermediate assembly.

The company is committed to producing top-quality exhaust systems. To this end, it strives to achieve the goal of Zero Defect manufacturing, through the adoption of high quality standards and well-trained labor, as well as the application of fool-proof devices, NC pipe bending, and a synchronized robot welding system.

Calsonic Kansei Korea's exhaust system adopts a pre-converter and main converter, and is renowned for its quality and performance. To maintain its product quality, Calsonic Kansei Korea undertakes exceptional quality control practices and proactively finds ways to refine its processes.

The FARO Edge ScanArm is a portable CMM that is shaped like a human arm.

 

 

Since its inception, Calsonic Kansei Korea has mainly relied on the fixed coordinate measuring machine (CMM) and conventional hand tools, such as vernier calipers, R-gauges, and shape detection tools for quality control. A 2D measuring instrument takes a longer time to measure objects and has proven to be vulnerable to measurement errors. Separately, a fixed CMM has its shortcomings too -- it is inadequate for curves and contour lines on pressed parts and pipes, and it does not produce accurate results.

"It was difficult to measure contour lines or the overall shapes of objects with a fixed CMM, especially when forming iron plates," said the Deputy Head of the Quality Assurance Team at Calsonic Kansei Korea, elaborating on the challenges and struggles that his team faced with the existing system. "It was not easy to inspect shapes with our other tools in the inspection chamber either. One may be able to detect the presence of a gap, but it is difficult to check for its accurate dimensions or other associated data. I have to admit that product reliability can drop considerably in the process."

In a bid to improve its inspection process, Calsonic Kansei Korea came across FARO's devices.

"I remember my first encounter with the FaroArm, where we used it to survey contour lines and the cross-section of our pipes and pressed parts," recalled the Deputy Head of the Quality Assurance team. "It worked very well!"

Not long after, he came across another similarly impressive measuring device in the plant. Upon closer investigation, he realized that it was yet another FARO product, the FARO® Platinum.

Calibrating an inspection fixture with a tactile probe.

 

 

He added, "Our colleagues in Plant 2 purchased the device earlier to perform dimension checks on panels. It had actually been sitting there for quite a while, but because it was used only in Plant 2, none of us in Plant 1 had any idea how effective and efficient the instrument was for measuring parts."

"Our competitors have been using 3D scanning devices for a long time now," he continued. "Our customers in Europe would demand for 3D scan data whenever they had any issues with the quality. I realized that the overall expectations for quality assurance both in South Korea and in the global market have jumped from 2D practices in the past to an entirely new level based on 3D instruments."

Calsonic Kansei Korea is convinced that 3D scanning and measurement technologies have become fundamental for them to match up with global quality assurance practices.

From the range of FaroArm products available, Calsonic Kansei Korea picked the FARO® Edge ScanArm ES for its contact-type measurement capabilities as well as its scanning functionalities. The ScanArm ES was perfect for the needs of the company, since the team required 3D scanning for the pressed parts and also carried out contact-type measurements for calibration in the inspection chamber.

The ScanArm ES is a portable 3D articulated measuring device that resembles the human arm in appearance. The device moves freely with its arm-like joints and is capable of performing measurements either through probing or 3D laser scanning of the target objects. Within seconds, the ScanArm ES acquires point cloud data consisting millions of points.

Top: 3D Scan of a pressed part when viewed through the software. Bottom: A cross section view of the same pressed part.

 

 

Since introducing the ScanArm ES, the Deputy Section Chief of the Quality Assurance Team has reported a five-fold increase in job efficiency. He revealed, "On average, FARO devices are used around two hours each day, five days a week, excluding weekends. "What would have taken nearly a day with the fixed CMM is now completed within two hours, which is a five-fold increase in efficiency!"

Evidently, FARO devices have made significant improvements to the company's processes and efficiency.

Significant Improvements to Work Processes and Measurements

Previously, the inspection process was tedious, as technicians had to cut up products one by one before they could to take any measurements. Furthermore, the team often was unable to use the R-gauge due to the difficulty in obtaining measurements.

With the ScanArm ES, inspection processes have changed completely. The target object can be scanned completely within a time frame of just a few minutes. Following that, all of the data, including the measurements, are transmitted to the dedicated software. The 3D modeling data generated is then cut across its cross-section to allow for an immediate confirmation of accurate measurements -- whether width, height, roundness, or plane -- before they are compared with CAD data. All inspections can now be performed easily and swiftly with the ScanArm ES.

No More Complex Inspections

In the past, a complex inspection process spanning four to five stages had to be performed: first, an inspection with the fixed CMM, followed by first and second dimensional inspections of the parts that could not be fully verified in the first inspection stage.

Top: Scanning of uneven pressed parts with the 3D laser scanner. Bottom: 3D scan data with highly repeatable and accurate measurements.

 

 

Now, scanning with the ScanArm ES is all it takes to complete the entire inspection process, because the 3D modelling data generated within a few minutes allows technicians to directly arrive at a conclusion. The inspection process, which was previously spread across four or five stages, has now been reduced to a single-stage operation. As a result, the amount of time and labor associated with the inspection is considerably reduced.

No More Conflict in Measurements

Before, it was difficult to pinpoint specific improvement points on welded products in the inspection chamber. Even if the shape of each product was verified in the inspection chamber, it was difficult to identify the extent of its gaps. Consequently, welded products that exceeded the acceptable tolerance range remained undetected on occasion. This issue is now resolved as the ScanArm ES delivers error-free measurements and provides 3D shapes of welded products.

In the case of pressed parts with uneven surfaces, it was difficult to obtain accurate X, Y, and Z coordinates with the fixed CMM. Now, simply by checking the cross-section of the modeling data generated by the ScanArm ES, measurements of the processed parts' protrusions can be determined right down to the decimal points. Field staff can proceed with a set of accurate measurements instead of the previous rough estimations they had to work with. Such improvements have eliminated any misunderstandings or conflicting perspectives. The work process is also notably accelerated.

Growing Together with Partners

Previously, potential problems would be identified only after the processed parts were put into the manufacturing line. If there was a problem, the supplier of the product would then be notified. In fact, suppliers would achieve a final product that corresponds to the drawing only after multiple iterations.

Calsonic Kansei Korea Co., Ltd.

 

 

Now, however, any processed product received from a supplier can be promptly checked for discrepancies via 3D scanning. As there is no need to put them into the production line to obtain feedback, suppliers can now produce molds that match up with their drawings with greater ease.

Currently, the Quality Assurance Team of Calsonic Kansei Korea is using the FARO Edge ScanArm ES 90 percent more frequently than it uses the fixed CMM. Judging from the remarkable improvement in work efficiency the team has experienced since adopting the FARO devices, Calsonic Kansei Korea will continue to grow and advance with the support of FARO.

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Calsonic Kansei Korea Co.

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