Inspecting tooling components with the FaroArm.
With the rapid development of the automotive industry, consumers are increasingly mindful of the specifications and safety features of a car, but they are also paying much closer attention to the design and appearance of vehicles when considering a purchase. These ever-growing demands on car makers equate to stricter requirements on the design of a car body and on manufacturing processes. More specifically, manufacturers are expected to adhere to higher quality standards on their flexible automotive production lines. For one such company, Guangzhou MINO Automotive Equipment Co., Ltd. (MINO Equipment), FARO devices are the solution of choice for quality assurance.
Established in 2008, MINO Equipment is a leading high-end automotive manufacturing equipment supplier in China, providing customers with design, manufacturing, and integration services of automated production systems for various industries — including automotive body-in-white welding production lines, powertrains, new energy equipment, high-speed rails, aviation and aerospace — as well as electrical automation and robot systems.
MINO Equipment purchased its very first FARO Laser Tracker back in 2007 owing to its measurement needs, which grew as the company worked on projects involving large-scale automotive production lines and conveyor lines. Since then, the company has been working closely with FARO and relying on FARO’s measurement solutions for its quality control processes on the automated production lines. As at the end of 2017, MINO Equipment had invested in a total of four units of FaroArm (Platinum series and FARO Prime) and three units of the FARO Laser Tracker.
Mr. Li Weinan, Measurement Engineer at MINO Equipment, said, “What prompted us to purchase a coordinate measuring machine was our frequent need to measure non-standard products, and our company’s deepening requirements for quality control. FARO came to mind during the initial procurement stage as the brand had established an excellent reputation in the industry.”
The team at MINO Equipment uses FARO’s 3D portable measurement solutions to perform quality checks on its automotive body-in-white welding production lines, including inspections on welding fixtures, long conveyor lines, assembly lines, and more. Car makers place extremely stringent requirements on precision control and quality inspection because these production lines are where the various stamped automotive parts come together — including welding sub-assembly lines (e.g. engine compartments, side panels, flooring, vehicle roof panel) and final assembly line (e.g. main welding production line).
Capable of point-to-point contact measurements and non-contact scanning, the FaroArm is a portable CMM that performs a variety of measurement tasks reliably. Equipped with seven axes of rotation, the ScanArm can comfortably measure at any angle and fulfil the toughest inspection needs. Its laser line probe technology enables users to easily obtain highly detailed scan data across diverse surface materials, regardless of contrast or reflectivity.
The portable FaroArm allows operators to conduct on-line inspection of parts.
MINO Equipment relies on the FaroArm across its manufacturing process, deploying the device in three separate stages — pre-assembly, during assembly, and post-delivery. In the first stage, the team measures the large parts prior to the assembly process, inspecting geometrical tolerances (e.g. accuracy, hole distance etc.) to minimize defects. Next, the team uses the FaroArm in the equipment integration stage, when the system or equipment being built is about 90% complete. At this stage, the team checks for positional accuracy on fixtures and vehicle production lines to ensure welding accuracy. Finally, MINO Equipment brings the portable FaroArm along during installations for customer on-site delivery inspections. This allows MINO Equipment to help customers properly adjust the system before commissioning, to eliminate any differences between the intended design and actual finished product.
Examining the data after inspection.
Extremely versatile and easy to set up, the FaroArm offers operators the ability to complete complicated inspection tasks across production stages with ease. Its quick installation method makes it simple for technicians to set the FaroArm up anywhere on the shop floor to handle comprehensive measurements of positioning holes and surfaces, and to acquire complete positioning reference data. In fact, measurement engineers have always appreciated the FaroArm for its portability, high levels of efficiency, and high levels of accuracy.
“In general, some of the largest objects that we work with measure up to around 1.5 by 0.8 meters,” commented Mr. Li. “Manual measurements of such components are often time-consuming and laborious, but with the FaroArm, we can maximize work efficiency.”
Combining the contact and non-contact measurement capabilities of the FaroArm, the team at MINO Equipment can easily obtain accurate and detailed data of irregular parts as well as easily perform CAD-based inspections and nominal comparisons. For the inspection of guide rails ranging from 4 to 6 meters in length, the team used the FARO Laser Tracker, which has a maximum measuring radius of 80 meters. Armed with a fully integrated dual camera system, the FARO Laser Tracker automatically targets a specific point and simplifies the process of measuring large parts.
A large linear structure waiting to be inspected.
Commenting on the levels of measurement accuracy MINO Equipment requires, Mr. Li stated, “The FaroArm easily meets our requirements of both positioning fixtures (0.1 mm) and auxiliary positioning fixtures (0.2 mm).”
In the past, the company used to rely on conventional tools such as calipers and height gauges for inspections. These methods had their limitations, and the team experienced va rie d challe nge s with them. For one, taking ma nual measurements was time-consuming and the team was unable to achieve the levels of accuracy required. Human error was a huge issue, and it was also unable to inspect parts that were more complicated in nature.
With FARO’s equipment, however, MINO Equipment overcame these problems quickly and efficiently. Now, the team use the FARO solutions every day, in the harsh workshop environment that is unlike a controlled laboratory, whether in terms of noise, lighting, or temperature.
Mr. Li added, “FARO’s measurement equipment provides high levels of accuracy and excellent stability. It is the best in the portable measurement field. Where suitable, we will recommend FARO to our customers when the opportunity arises.”
On-site inspection of conveying guide rails for a car door assembly line.
Established in 2008, MINO Equipment is a provider of intelligent engineering solutions to the automotive manufacturing industry and general industrial fields, including R&D, production and integration of body-in-white, parts manufacturing systems, powertrains, general industrial automation systems, and high-performance welding guns.
The company is one of China’s largest and strongest intelligent equipment manufacturers, with four major integrated bases totaling an area of 29,100m² in the United States, Shanghai, and Huadu District. MINO Equipment also has four subsidiaries and four offices in China, Germany, and the United States.
MINO Equipment has been conferred many honors, including the National High-Tech Enterprise Recognition, Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards for China (3rd Place), Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Awards for Asia Pacific Region (27th Place), Top 50 Outstanding Equipment Suppliers in China’s Automotive Manufacturing Industry, 1st Prize in Guangdong Province Machinery Industry Science and Technology Awards, Key Enterprise for Guangdong Province Strategic Emerging Industries, and more.
For more information: www.minotech.cn
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