Case Studies

High-definition Scanning Makes It Easy to Handle Complex Pipe Fitting Measurements

High-definition Scanning Makes It Easy to Handle Complex Pipe Fitting Measurements

In this era of rapid developments, market factors are ever-changing. How to quickly and effectively seize the opportunity of market changes to achieve profit growth has become the compulsory task for every enterprise. Among many market factors, policy orientation can be said to be a strong constraint. With the increasing environmental pollution, the government has put forward new requirements for many enterprises in the aspect of environmental protection.

On 22 June 2018, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the State Administration for Market Regulation of the People’s Republic of China jointly issued the standards for “Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions From Diesel Fueled Heavy-Duty Vehicles (China VI)” and stipulated that the standards will be implemented on 1 July 2019. In response to these standards, the major automotive companies in China are rapidly carrying out design transformation to meet the China VI standards that will come into effect. What will follow next is that the various major automotive groups will put forward new requirements for their suppliers.

More Complex Design

Located in Changzhou, a famous city south of the Yangtze River at the Changzhou National Hi-Tech Development Zone, Changzhou Liangxu Auto Parts Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Liangxu”) is a company specializing in the production of various types of automotive accessories such as exhaust pipes, intercooler inlet and outlet pipes, radiator outlet pipes, fender supports, clamps, etc. It is the main supplier of pipe products to China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Co., Ltd.

Since the first half of 2007, Liangxu has been engaged in some new product development projects and new forms of products have brought about new challenges. All types of pipe fittings and supports are the main products of Liangxu. Usually, Liangxu was able to complete the measurement work using a portable three-coordinate measuring machine specialized for measuring pipe products. After the introduction of new product development projects, they have encountered new challenges in the measurement of bent pipes and some sheet metal parts.

FARO ScanArm at the work site in Liangxu.

FARO ScanArm at the work site in Liangxu.

For example, the measurement of a bent pipe is usually carried out by taking three sets of points with a measurement arm to position a circular surface. However, when the end face is short to a certain extent, the data obtained by the dot method will be misaligned with the actual data, resulting in inaccurate measurement. For another example, the measurement of a fender support involves not only the hole location, but also the measurement of key information such as shape of the bent pipe, direction of the pipes, size of the punching groove, etc. Simple point-to-point measurement will fail when faced with this type of complex support.

A staff is using FARO ScanArm to scan a very short bent pipes.

A staff is using FARO ScanArm to scan a very short bent pipes.

Introducing FARO ScanArm

“It is not possible to perform quality inspection with the previous point-to-point measurement for this type of new products. We can only use the scanning function, so we considered the introduction of 3D scanning technology.” Mr Zhou Linyun, the Manager of Automotive Accessory Technology in Liangxu provided an introduction. Liangxu introduced a set of FARO QuantumS ScanArm in November 2017 to meet its daily inspection requirements.

The FARO’s QuantumS series ScanArms are the benchmark products of FARO. They are the first measurement arms to obtain the international standard certification of ISO 10360-12:2016. Its measurement accuracy is very high. With FAROBlu laser scan probes, they can carry out point-to-point contact measurement and non-contact scanning measurement. These two operating modes can realize seamless switching without disassembling any parts. FAROBlu™ laser scan probes use blue light scanning technology. Compared with a red laser, a blue laser has a shorter wavelength, stronger ability in recognizing small details of objects and can provide better scanning results with higher resolution. Since the actual scanning points can reach 2,000 per line, FAROBlu laser scan probes can capture the detailed features of complex parts. What is more commendable is that even for components and parts with black and reflective surfaces, FAROBlu laser scan probes can easily obtain accurate and complete point cloud data.

Now, the technical team of Liangxu can use FARO ScanArm to scan the bent pipes and fender supports and then compare them with the digital models to obtain a graphic quality report in color. It is very convenient to find out whether a bent pipe is within specifications or which part has exceeded tolerance limits. From this, Liangxu’s technicians can confidently decide what to do next.

Challenges Became Opportunities

In Liangxu, the development of new products involves customization of molds, first-piece production, first-piece inspection, customization of fixtures and inspection tools, etc. in accordance with the design drawings of customers. Whether it is regarding the verification of molds, first-piece inspection or the verification during vehicle loading by a customer, it is inseparable from the accurate measurement assurance provided by FARO ScanArm. The size of the various pipe fittings varies from 30 to 40 centimeters to 2 meters and the measurement accuracy requirement is ±0.1 mm. FARO ScanArm is able to fully meet the daily production requirements of Liangxu, both in terms of measurement range and measurement accuracy.

Comparing the scanning data of a bent pipe with the digital model.

Comparing the scanning data of a bent pipe with the digital model.

Since the introduction of FARO QuantumS, Liangxu not only solved the previous measurement problems, but it can also face new orders and new requirements with ease. Since the issuance of the China VI standards, the design updates of automotive exhaust pipes and various supports has brought new opportunities to Liangxu.

Influenced by this policy, Liangxu has been in a busy production state since the second half of 2018. “FARO’s equipment can basically meet our requirements, especially the scanning function, which can well meet the measurement requirements of our new product development.” Manager Zhou said.

Opportunities are always given to the prepared, and it is the same for enterprises. FARO is committed in providing high-quality measurement solutions for enterprises seeking to improve their quality and efficiency. It hoped that more and more enterprises will be able to make full use of new technological advantages and never cease to advance bravely in the ever-changing environment.


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