Muelles Castellano Success Story
Automated industrial inspection thanks to Zerogravity3D.
Muelles Castellano is a company that, since 1969, has been a benchmark for the manufacture of all types of springs, spring devices, wire shapes and strip parts for various industrial sectors such as automotive, electrical, electronic, lighting or household appliances.
The strict quality control required by sectors such as the automotive industry implies, for this type of product (bulk production, low unit cost), a manual process that has a high cost and impact on the production process, reducing productivity and competitiveness.
Research new techniques to develop an in-line, automatic, industrial-scale control system that would allow for quality control of up to 100% of the parts produced, increasing the company’s competitiveness and productivity.
The system had to be fast, precise and versatile due to the variety of shapes to be inspected. Sectors such as the automobile demand zero defects from their suppliers and otherwise they impose economic penalties in their transactions.
Increase productivity and competitiveness against suppliers with lower production costs due to the lower cost of labour on production.
The Challenges Ahead
Incorporate feeding systems that facilitate integration into the production line in a 100% automatic way, so that the plant operators only have to worry about the revision of the incidences and defects that the system detects.
Muelles Castellano has more than 50 years of experience in the industrial sector. It currently exports to more than 12 countries and has been working in the automotive sector for more than 20 years.
As specialists in their line of business, their main concern is the quality of their parts due to the demands of such competitive sectors as the automobile industry.
The manufacture of metal springs is a mature industry in terms of processes, raw materials, machinery and tools. However, the quality control of these parts generates a problem in terms of costs, times and adaptations.
There are a wide variety of parts such as torsion springs, compression springs, tension springs, wire shapes and strip parts. Some of these parts are critical parts of more complex machines such as cars, trucks, aircraft or precision tools.
Traditional quality control passes through 2D/3D laboratory scanners. In addition, due to the complexity and variety of shapes and categories, it is very difficult to automate the quality control process on 100% of the production with conventional 3D scanners. However, in many cases the final customer requires 100% inspection of the finished product.
These types of scanners require some manual manipulation on each part to obtain a complete 3D reconstruction, a process that hinders production and increases manufacturing costs.
Most companies apply sampling methodologies for their quality control process, so that only a small part of the production is actually controlled with laboratory instruments such as meters, profile projectors (analogue or digital), 2D and 3D computer vision and others. But all of them need human interaction and are slow processes that impact the process and make it impossible to automate the inspection of the entire production.
ITI has developed a new technology based on a multi-camera system to achieve a 3D reconstruction with a high level of precision and in an innovative way. The Zero Gravity 3D system is based on a set of cameras (currently 16) distributed in a «sphere». The spatial arrangement of the cameras is optimised to ensure accuracy in the reconstruction of the part. In this way, the system is able to capture objects without manipulation (manual or mechanical) and without concealment.
Each camera captures a different image of the object, synchronised and without visual concealment. This is achieved by launching the object with a linearly moving arm within the capture area. Each part will be compared with a reference model (CAD or training the system with AI techniques from real parts) independently. You can load as many CAD models or references in the system as necessary, in case you need to check multiple parts.
ITI’s patented system analyses geometric dimensions and tolerances (GD&T), as well as volume and surface, and makes the decision to accept or reject the part, in real time, which enables it to be added into the production line.
- Increased productivity. The tool represents a 72% decrease in the number of hours assigned to quality technicians to invest in manual quality control tasks. At the same time as there is no excessive downtime in the production of the parts, there is an estimated increase of more than 10% in the productivity of the chain.
- Complete verification of 100% of what is produced, which reduces the possibilities of receiving complaints from the end customer and provides traceability of the batches produced in the event of a complaint.
- Reduction of delivery times for each order. Thanks to the reduction of inspection times and increased productivity.
- Cost reduction due to complete verification of production and increased productivity. Likewise, being a production line equipment, it allows early detection of deviations (in dimensions, finishes, etc.) due to tool wear, allowing production to be stopped in order to correct the problem and thus avoid discarding complete batches already produced.