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Freudenberg upgrades its quality process with new vision inspection units

  8/14/2019 - Plymouth, MI - A new inspection unit that combines proprietary vision control technology with advanced automation and the benefits of additive manufacturing is transforming the way Freudenberg Sealing Technologies handles quality checks on very small parts. Freudenberg’s inline spring inspection machine, a packaging marvel no bigger than a standard microwave oven, scrutinizes 6-12 mm diameter garter springs at a rate of four per second for defects including kinks, gaps, irregular diameters and poorly joined ends. The machine segregates defective components out of a typical batch of 10,000 springs and then bags and labels the remainder for tracking and shipping to customers. Despite the minimal cost of each spring, a couple of pennies apiece, the first inspection unit installed at the company’s Bristol, NH, manufacturing plant is already lowering the company’s costs. Plant personnel note that scrap rates have dropped, variability in the inspection process has been reduced, lost production time on the line has been cut and working conditions have improved. Prior to installation of the inspection unit, employees used a light table and magnifier to inspect springs manually for defects. Under this process, thousands of tiny springs were visually checked on the light table and when a certain number of defects in the batch was detected, the entire batch was scrapped. Significantly, the new inspection technology is also eliminating the possibility of expensive customer recalls. As the unit identifies and tracks the defects it encounters, software transmits this information back to the spring making machine. When too many defects are detected, the inspection unit automatically shuts down the spring making machine so misalignments and other issues can be addressed. Defects can be addressed nearly as quickly as they are detected, said Robert Scavuzzo, vice president of Global Advanced Manufacturing Technology for Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. This dramatically increases the company’s ability to eliminate production of defective springs in the first place. “You will never inspect quality into a component,” Scavuzzo said. “You have to prevent defects in the first place. This unit makes it possible.” Freudenberg is developing a dashboard in conjunction with the inspection units that will collect data and allow operators to see which machines are operational and which need adjustments on one screen. Such visual capability is a powerful tool in today’s zero-defect environment, and is based upon proprietary automatic vision control technology recently developed by Freudenberg. The company’s Flexible Image Process System uses a series of algorithms to process a part for defects in less than 50 milliseconds. Based on the algorithms, the inline spring inspection unit inspects springs for eight different dimensional and surface defects. This technology is at the heart of the inspection unit’s automated vision control (AVC) capabilities. But the units also required other technology innovations to go from concept to operational design, noted Scott Sulhan, a senior engineering expert specializing in robotics and machine design at Freudenberg. In developing a prototype inspection unit, Sulhan was handed an extensive list of manufacturing requirements. A small, compact unit was imperative in order to fit the inspection units under manufacturing machinery. The units needed network capability that would allow operators to track the system on a large plant screen and on their cell phones. A small electronic dashboard that showed statistics and data needed to be incorporated into the unit. In addition, a mechanical chute that could move the springs quickly and smoothly through the inspection process and into separate bins needed development. The chute design that Sulhan developed incorporates intricate channels and extremely thin parts to move the tiny springs smoothly through the inspection process. Sulhan turned to additive manufacturing to help the company achieve perfectly machined success. “These components would have been incredibly difficult to machine using traditional methodologies because of their size and the intricacy of their design,” Sulhan said. Instead, Sulhan asked colleagues who were working with Additive Manufacturing equipment to help him develop the necessary components. The team worked to manufacture a variety of intricate parts layer by layer, saving considerable time and money. Additional component adjustments were designed and manufactured quickly, again using Additive Manufacturing, once the prototype was assembled and potential mechanical issues were discovered. Freudenberg will machine and build the new inline spring inspection units at its Machine Tool Center (MTC) in Northfield, NH. Equally important, with the successful development of a highly precise, remarkably small inline spring inspection unit under its belt, Freudenberg intends to develop larger inspection units for use in other manufacturing operations. The Flexible Image Process System and additive manufacturing methodologies will be incorporated into these efforts as well. “Freudenberg is proactive and innovative in how it maintains quality and value on behalf of the customer,” Scavuzzo said. “Advance Vision Control technology is very expensive. But through MTC, Freudenberg can rely on its own technical engineers, scientists, program developers and machinists to supply state-of-the art inspection equipment and systems that meet customer demands while making widespread installation possible within our manufacturing plants.”

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Trelleborg relocates its marine and infrastructure headquarters - click to expand

Cooper Tire’s Tread Wisely program reminds young drivers to check their tires - click to expand

Steere Enterprises announces 70-year anniversary - click to expand

Global medical tubing market forecast with a CAGR of 8.4 percent through 2026 - click to expand

CPI announces finalists for 2019 Polyurethane innovation award - click to expand

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Davis-Standard and Maillefer to highlight new technology at K 2019 - click to expand

Purchase the Chemical Resistance Guide for Elastomers IV and receive a free Blue Book - click to expand

Desma makes the future efficient - click to expand

Limited places available for Endurica and Rubber Consultants training courses next week - click to expand

OTR tires market worldwide projected to grow by $1.8 billion by 2025 - click to expand

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Elkem ASA acquires Basel Chemie - click to expand

King Country Retread joins Marangoni network of independent dealers - click to expand

Bridgestone adds new sizes to Firestone Transforce AT2 tire - click to expand

Synthetic polyisoprene rubber forecast with a CAGR of 8 percent through 2029 - click to expand

PolyOne to sell PP&S business to SK Capital - click to expand

Nokian Tyres begins construction on world class administration building at its factory in Dayton, TN - click to expand

Monday, August 19, 2019

Toyo Tire introduces Open Country SxS for outdoor enthusiasts - click to expand

Evonik acquisition of PeroxyChem delayed by FTC lawsuit - click to expand

Myers Industries announces quarterly dividend and second quarter results - click to expand

Wacker opens technical center in Bengaluru, India - click to expand

Dow wins four 2019 Sustainability Awards from Business Intelligence Group - click to expand

Dunlop run-flat tires chosen as original equipment for 2020 Nissan GT-R - click to expand

Friday, August 16, 2019

Industrial rubber market expected to reach $38.31 billion by 2026 - click to expand

Global automotive tire market forecast at $628 billion by 2026 - click to expand

Toyo Tires introduces the Extensa A/S II value oriented all-season tire - click to expand

Yokohama announces first half financials for 2019 - click to expand

Book of the day - Rubber Molding Principles - click to expand

U.S. Department of Commerce initiates circumvention probe of CORE steel from five countries - click to expand

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Momentive to showcase new silicone technologies at K 2019 - click to expand

H.B. Fuller completes sale of surfactants, thickeners and dispersants business to Tiarco - click to expand

Huntsman Polyurethanes announces ACS distributor in Canada - click to expand

Songwon Industrial Group reports positive results for second quarter - click to expand

RTP acquires Zeotherm thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) product line from Zeon Chemicals - click to expand

Global specialty nitrile butadiene rubber market forecast at $768.1 million by 2025 - click to expand

ChemSpec awarded NACD membership - click to expand

Market Reports

Global medical grade silicone market is expected to reach $1.84 billion by 2023 - click to expand

Silicone Film Market is projected to grow to $1,087 million by 2023 - click to expand

Global silane market size is expected to reach USD 2.17 billion by 2025 - click to expand

North American floor adhesives market is projected to reach $1.09 billion by 2024 - click to expand

Global medical tubing market forecast with a CAGR of 8.4% through 2026 - click to expand

Synthetic polyisoprene rubber forecast with a CAGR of 8% through 2029 - click to expand

OTR Tires market worldwide is projected to grow by $1.8 billion by 2025 - click to expand

Global automotive tire market forecast at $628 billion by 2026 - click to expand

Global green tires market forecast at $178.07 billion by 2026 - click to expand

Industrial Rubber Market is expected to reach $38.31 Billion by 2026 - click to expand

Global specialty nitrile butadiene rubber market forecast at $768.1 million by 2025 - click to expand

Global industrial yarn products for V-belts and industrial hose market forecast with a CAGR of 4.4% - click to expand

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