October 2013 - Level 3 Inspection

Archive for October, 2013

Where’s the ROI?

Many people are concerned about getting a return on investment from advanced inspection services and automated systems. 

The ROI is there, you just have to know where to look… Below are some examples of how to maximize the ROI of 3D scanning and Computer Aided Inspection.

ROI in Development Cycle

  • Be the first to market
  • Find and fix problems to root cause with fewer iterations.
  • Use SmartCompare to identify “areas to watch” make smarter, shorter CMM programs
  • Refine forgings to be closer to near net
  • Balance scant Forgings so that they clean up at machining
  • Scan molds and dies as insurance and a “first look” at potential problem areas
  • Simplified product definition (PMI)
  • Reverse engineering

ROI in production

  • Get parts to market faster
  • Solve problem parts/fits
  • Lower high scrap rate parts
  • Keep bad parts out of the supply chain by driving CAI upstream in the process
  • Refine and shorten CMM plans
  • Scan 1/1000 parts for trending and die wear indications
  • Scan tooling
  • Implement design changes in a single iteration
  • Reverse engineering


  • Prove out design improvements faster with tangible data to back it up
  • Demonstrate better consistency through better data
  • Demonstrate streamlined quality process that drives confidence
  • Find and fix problems faster with better evidence

Overall business improvements

  • Write a spec for adoption and use of CAI with source selection criteria
  • Standardization of inspection practices, internal and external
  • Standardization of inspection results, internal and external
  • “Smart” data with the ability to trend over time
  • Repository of scan data for further analysis.

Computer Aided Inspection in the Product Development Cycle

Over the last 30 years CAD modeling became the mainstream method of product definition, in the beginning we continued to make drawings because of CAD limitations. As CAD improved those limitations were resolved but we still made detailed drawings.
Over the last 15 years most modern manufactures gained the ability use the CAD model as the primary product definition integrating it into CAM. This means products could be designed and manufactured using only the CAD model but we still made detailed drawings.
In the last few years modern quality departments have gained the ability to use the CAD model and embedded PMI data as the primary definition for dimensional and tolerance requirements but we still made detailed drawings.
As of today the CAD model and embedded PMI data can be used in conjunction with the existing specifications to fully define, manufacture and inspect any product.
But we still make detailed drawings. Why?
We look at drawingless or limited definition drawing initiatives as a reduction in duplicated effort and preservation of design intent. Everything created after the model and PMI is duplication, including every drawing, op sheet, cut path, tool design, inspection plan, and report that requires effort to recreate existing data in a different format.
Unfortunately, there is cultural resistance to 3D/limited detail drawing definition.
In aerospace the rate of production has doubled over the last 20 years, from a rolling 7 year average of 500 planes to 1000 planes. This increase in production averages is due in large part to advanced technology like CAD/CAM. In order to meet the existing orders for commercial and military airplanes the rolling 7 year average will need to double again. 
If history has taught is anything it’s that technology will play a large part in making this happen. Minimizing the amount of duplicated effort and maintaining the integrity of the design intent across the entire product life cycle is one way to significantly increase productivity.
Adding Computer Aided Inspection (CAI) to the existing CAD/CAM processes can streamline and shorten the development cycle by 30% or more. CAI may also reduce the need to make, fully detailed, drawings which will eliminate a significant amount of duplicated effort across the life cycle, throughout the supply chain.
Talk to us today about how to implement CAI into your existing process.