A metal products manufacturer supplies a full line of product to thousands of customers worldwide. Thousands of these parts are manufactured on a daily basis at each plant across the United States.
There are multiple processes to produce each part. During the first process, the customer needs to control the thickness of powdered metallic material applied to a metal substrate. At some point during the process, an operator would use a contact caliper to measure the thickness of metal and coating. Each time a thickness problem was detected, the operator would adjust the rollers and then measure again until the optimum thickness was achieved.
The customer could not stop the line due to the sintering process or the time needed to cure in the oven. Due to the time interval in between the measurements, sometimes good product had to be thrown out along with the bad, costing production time and money. Calipers could potentially damage the product and the readings were inconsistent from shift to shift.
After consulting the customer, KEYENCE proposed the non-contact dual head LK-G32 as a solution due to its enhanced performance on specular and irregularly shaped/colored targets, including reliable measurement of metals. The customer designed a fixture to hold the LK-G units in place on the production line. Once set into place, the tolerance is simply programmed into the LKG unit. When the measurement rises above or falls below the tolerance, the screen turns red and a buzzer sounds to inform the operator that an adjustment to the rollers needs to be made. The LKG made it much easier for the operator to know when they had the correct thickness dialed in on the rollers, due its ability to continuously take dynamic measurements, and provide constant feedback. The customer still needs to conduct destructive testing, however the amount of material that actually needs to be discarded is minimal.
The high-accuracy and repeatability of the dual head LK-G32 on the metal proved to be successful.
The customer liked the solution primarily because it allowed them to sample continuously on their products. They were no longer stopping production to perform a measurement. More importantly, the KEYENCE solution has saved them from disposing of over $100k worth of unusable product. They are now running a higher percentage of quality material with a much lower ratio of scrap.