Located in the heart of one of the UK’s traditional industrial areas in the West Midlands, Metal Assemblies Ltd produce high-quality stampings and assemblies for its customers who are mainly involved in the global automotive industry. While much of company’s output is UK-based, approximately 25% of its production is exported to Europe, as well to Asia and South and Central America.
As Metal Assemblies has experienced rising demand, an increasing amount of the company’s important 3D component scanning work was being subcontracted. In addition to the delays that this caused, this out-sourced work was also proving expensive. As the volume of subcontracted 3D scanning reached a critical mass, a potential return on investment was calculated and a search was made for a suitable scanning system to complete much of this work in-house.
To aid them in their efficiency and profit-earning quest, Metal Assemblies purchased a 2.5 Meter capacity, FARO 8-Axis Quantum ScanArm featuring a Laser Line Probe and advanced, integrated 8-Axis rotary turntable capabilities.
Even though Metal Assemblies’ 3D scanning subcontractor used a FARO 3D scanning system, other brands were also considered. Although, after witnessing practical demonstrations of several companies’ products, Metal Assemblies’ Quality Manager Simon Bullows believed that the 8-Axis Quantum ScanArm was the most impressive system. Endorsements from several enthusiastic FARO users further convinced the company to place an order.
Specs and Tech: In-House Success
“Although we have a high-specification, fixed Coordinate Measuring Machine, it is unable to make the surface scans that we need when performing work such as product development,” Bullows explained. “Therefore, for some time we have been outsourcing this work. As the volumes of subcontracted 3D scanning work grew, it recently reached a level where it became feasible to purchase our own scanning device. Having considered equipment from other metrology companies, following an excellent demonstration, we came to the conclusion that the FARO 8-Axis Quantum ScanArm fitted with the company’s FAROBlu Laser Line Probe was perfect for our needs.”
The advanced FARO product seamlessly integrates a FARO Quantum ScanArm with an eighth-axis, making the FARO 8-Axis Quantum the world’s first eight-axis portable coordinate measuring machine (PCMM).
Ideal for Metal Assembly’s use, the company ordered its 8-Axis Quantum ScanArm fitted with the FAROBlu™ Laser Line Probe. Blue laser technology enables extremely fast scanning and delivers excellent results even on complex, dark, and reflective materials, common in automotive applications.
As the first portable CMM arm in the market to be internationally certified to ISO 10360-12 standards, FARO provides a superior inspection tool solution, setting a new industry performance bar, and ensuring maximum measurement consistency and reliability. The FARO 3D measuring arm can perform in a wide range of work in conditions, including operating in extreme temperatures and in shop floor situations.
An industry exclusive, the integrated 8-Axis rotary scanning platform decreases scan time by up to 40%, with no loss of accuracy. There is no need to move around an object to scan it, instead, users simply rotate the platform as they probe or scan the part under inspection.
“After our FARO training sessions, we are quickly becoming competent in the Quantum’s use,” Bullows added. “In addition to performing all of the 3D scanning tasks that we previously outsourced, our FARO Quantum ScanArm is now proving ideal for a range of tasks such as first article inspection (FAI). Given the speed and accuracy of our new FARO device, once our parts pass FAI our production processes can proceed with confidence.”
Enhanced Profits, Enhanced Workflows
For Metal Assemblies the incorporation of FARO’s 8-Axis Quantum ScanArm with Laser Line Probe and advanced, integrated 8-Axis rotary turntable capabilities carries numerous current – and future – benefits. These include, but are not limited to: the fast identification of component features that deviate from nominal conditions, (allowing for prompt machine adjustments to be made before out of tolerance situations arise) in-process component inspection, and, longer term, capturing precise digital measurement data for reverse engineering parts that do not have relevant blueprints or CAD drawings.
From a metal stamping workflow perspective, FARO’s hardware and software solutions have greatly streamlined what was once a cumbersome process. Stamping metal for automotive applications, is, naturally, a complex, multi-step operation, and is used in the creation of a multitude of automotive parts ranging from engine components to doors and other body panels. After all, stamping is rarely completed in a single step, especially when dealing with complex parts. When evaluating the metal stamping process, several factors must be addressed:
- Stamping’s effects on the design functionality – are the stamped parts within the specified tolerances of the CAD model?
- Is the die consistently producing parts to the same specification? Are parts trending out of tolerance due to wear?
- All industry-specific requirements – Is the part safe and functional?
- What is the time required for production and quality control?
- Cost-effectiveness (What’s the ROI?)
Sixty-six Years of Success – And Counting…
Founded in 1955, continuous investment in the latest production aids like FARO’s Quantum ScanArm means that Metal Assemblies’ 75,000 sq. ft production facility boasts an impressive plant list. Today, the company’s advanced manufacturing facilities enable a wide range of output including presswork, machining, tube manipulation, robot welding and tool making. The high yield nature of the company’s modern plant, along with the work of its dedicated, 130-member workforce, allows the business to thrive in what is an increasingly competitive environment.
“In order to carry on achieving the highest possible standards we design quality into our processes from the start of each project,” Bullows added. “Through actions such as design reviews, training, in process Poka yoke [error detection and/or prevention], and constant process monitoring, we strive to maintain the highest standards at all times.”
Four good reasons about the FARO product
- The 8-Axis Quantum ScanArm equipped with FAROBlu® Laser Line Probe reduces scan time by 40%.
- Accuracy and ease of use of Quantum ScanArm makes scanning processes simpler and precise, therefore achieving operational excellence.
- Integrated rotary scanning system provides an additional 8th scanning axis for a whole new level of metrology measurement solutions.
- The operator can focus on the measurement of the part with no worries about uncomfortably reaching around the part or assembly.