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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.”

Friday, October 18, 2019

Struktol's additives and technical solutions showcased on redesigned website - click to expand

CPI announces two distinguished leadership award winners - click to expand

Solvay’s Veradel PESU line in India comes on-stream - click to expand

Michigan Rubber Group announces November technical meeting - click to expand

Book of the Day - Resistance and Stability of Polymers - click to expand

CPI survey reveals strength of polyurethanes across U.S., Canada and Mexico - click to expand

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Center for the Polyurethanes Industry announces winner of the 2019 Polyurethane Award - click to expand

Lanxess introduces a vulcanization accelerator for all types of rubber - click to expand

ARPM unveils training module: Job Setup and Production Flow - click to expand

Dow expands Nordel EPDM portfolio - click to expand

Global agricultural tire market forecast at $7.5 billion by 2024 - click to expand

Wacker presents liquid and solid silicone rubber grades with enhanced product and processing properties - click to expand

Goodyear declares quarterly dividend - click to expand

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Michelin introduces Endurance XT Silicone Beam wiper blade - click to expand

Adhesives and sealants market forecast to reach $73.8 billion by 2024 - click to expand

Huber Engineered Materials nearly completes Martinswerk expansion - click to expand

K Show 2019 opens today in Dusseldorf - click to expand

Gerlach opens office in Albuquerque, NM, to better serve North American market - click to expand

Arlanxeo illustrates the future of mobility solutions at K2019 - click to expand

Hexpol TPE launches circular TPEs at K2019 - click to expand

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Michelin announces sport touring tire line-up for motorcycles and scooters - click to expand

Global automotive mold market expected to grow at a CAGR of over 7 percent through 2024 - click to expand

Orion Engineered Carbons appoints Lorin Crenshaw chief financial officer of the Orion group - click to expand

Collaboration brings new colors to Dow’s 3D-printable liquid silicone rubber - click to expand

Mid Atlantic Rubber and Plastics Group holds educational symposium in November - click to expand

Braskem's Delta PP plant remains on target for completion by first quarter of 2020 - click to expand

Monday, October 14, 2019

Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. to promote Michael Graber to VP of Sales - click to expand

The Philadelphia Eagles and Braskem announce results from 2018-2019 STEM Scholars Program - click to expand

Michelin recognized by EPA with 2019 SmartWay award - click to expand

Cabot Corporation receives fourth consecutive gold-level rating from EcoVadis - click to expand

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx run-flat tire chosen as factory standard for Lexus LS - click to expand

Yokohama Tire launches two new premium winter tires - click to expand

Market Reports

CPI survey reveals strength of polyurethanes across U.S., Canada and Mexico - click to expand

Global agricultural tire market forecast at $7.5 billion by 2024 - click to expand

Adhesives & sealants market forecast to reach $73.8 billion by 2024 - click to expand

Global automotive mold market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 7% through 2024 - click to expand

Silicone surfactants market forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2024 - click to expand

Global silicone elastomers market forecast with a CAGR of 6.2% through 2024 - click to expand

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