As overall standards within the Chinese manufacturing industry rise, an increasing number of companies are venturing abroad. These firms then soon realize that product quality is their greatest stepping stone to help pave their way to global success. For this very reason, Chinese manufacturers have been quick to seek out the latest and most advanced manufacturing techniques and inspection methods.
One such company is A.E.S. Advanced Engineering Systems Co., Ltd. (A.E.S.), a metal machining service provider located in the world-renowned historical town of Kunshan, Jiangsu Province. Specializing in machining and sheet metal processing, A.E.S. manufactures a range of products, including wind-power generation equipment, hydrogen fuel cell equipment, and rail transportation equipment. As with most growing Chinese manufacturers, the company exports mainly to America and Europe. In its quest for technological improvements and quality management, A.E.S. learnt about FARO devices through word-of-mouth nearly four years back.
A view of the Processing Workshop at A.E.S.
A.E.S. acquired the FaroArm in 2010 to address its inspection needs. Given that the company’s main business activities are export-related, its profits are primarily dependent on the quality of its output. Any failure on its part to ensure perfection would mean scrapping of the products after export, which can result in losses in the range of millions of yuan.
For quality assurance, A.E.S. conducts careful checks on its products every step of the way. From the time the team receives design requirements from the customer, up to the point of completion and delivery of finished goods, all products pass through a two-step process of rough machining and finishing in each process. Given how the various stages of production are intricately connected, a defect would invariably affect production in subsequent steps. Besides, there are incremental raw material and labor costs incurred as each item progresses through the stages. For these reasons, all items must meet the corresponding standards at each stage before moving on to the next. Quality control is crucial every step of the way because raw materials and labor are added into the equation at each stage.
A.E.S. uses the FaroArm with Geomagic® Qualify software to capture dimensional data of its products for comparison with CAD model data. The software analyzes and generates a color map that helps the engineer identify whether a product meets the quality standards, or if improvements are required. Specific areas on a product that fail the quality check are colored in red, while other parts that pass are shaded in blue. In fact, even the slightest, most inconspicuous flaws are clearly reflected on the computer. Mr. Chen Long, Quality Supervisor at A.E.S., said, “One of the benefits we have enjoyed with FARO measurement devices is how we are able to now standardize quality control across our entire production process. It is through this control that we are capable of establishing a consistent level of quality in our products.”
Prior to using FARO devices, A.E.S. used to rely on fixed coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), vernier calipers, and taper gauges for quality inspection. The company’s products were mostly irregular-shaped component parts that weighed between 200 – 400 kg. With the fixed CMM, it was difficult to obtain measurements at certain angles, and the mere task of positioning products on the measuring platform was arduous in itself. On the other hand, the traditional hand tools did not offer sufficient precision, and was susceptible to human error.
Conducting calibration with the FaroArm.
In contrast, the FaroArm precisely overcame the shortcomings of the existing methods that A.E.S. was grappling with. The portability and compact nature of the device allows users to deploy it near the products that need to be measured, eliminating the strenuous task of moving large objects for inspections. Additionally, the FaroArm’s versatility and infinite rotation enables measurements to be taken at any angle, fully satisfying the company’s business requirements with its superb levels of accuracy.
For the team at A.E.S., the most outstanding feature that the FaroArm offers is its ability to easily scan surfaces. Using fixed CMMs and hand tools, the team used could only provide point-to-point measurements. That became an issue when many of A.E.S.’ foreign customers started requesting for quality assurance on the surfaces of its products.
Mr. Chen explained, “In the past, we faced significant risks of our export products being scrapped upon delivery, because we were unable to conduct inspection checks on surfaces before shipping. With the added capabilities provided by the FaroArm, we are now able to provide customers with the information that they want.”
Samples of products that A.E.S. manufactures and exports.
Moreover, the team found the FaroArm easy to operate as it captures data quickly and easily, making it the most productive method of measurement that they have ever had access to. With FARO, A.E.S. reduced a tremendous amount of time spent on taking measurements, which helped the company ensure the timely delivery of goods to its customers.
At present, the FaroArm is an integral part of the production process at A.E.S., as the team utilizes it for 12 to 15 hours nearly every day. Apart from providing the team with highly precise and intuitive scanning capabilities, time-savings, and better levels of efficiency, the FaroArm has allowed A.E.S. to speak a common language with its European and American customers, when it came to the topic of international quality standards. In addition, the measurement reports generated by the FaroArm helped A.E.S. gain favor with these customers because of the objective nature of the information provided. Besides, the intuitive color scans also help streamline shipment processes by serving as an accompanying report for goods delivery.
Having taken its first steps to penetrate the international market, A.E.S. now has a greater ambition for its corporate vision. The company looks forward to further expanding its reach, exploring new methodologies, and to actively employing advanced technologies. In the future, FARO and A.E.S. expect to uncover more possibilities for collaboration, not just locally, but globally as well.
A.E.S. Advanced Engineering System Co., Ltd. is a metal machining service provider located in the world-renowned historical town of Kunshan, Jiangsu. Specializing in machining and sheet metal processing, A.E.S. manufactures a range of products, including wind-power generation equipment, hydrogen fuel cell equipment, and rail transportation equipment. A trusted name to many domestic and foreign customers, the company exports mainly to America and Europe.
In addition, the company also customizes machine equipment according to customer specifications, meeting a variety of needs across processing technologies. A.E.S. possesses independent import and export rights, and is currently undergoing national ISO 9001 certification.
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