Laser job shop ups inspection productivity

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A company providing high-power laser machines has added fast inspection capabilities to its systems that reduce inspection times dramatically. Laser Services, a job shop based in Westford, Massachusetts, USA, uses the Boulder Imaging ML Series metrology system with its laser processing machines.

‘Incorporating the Boulder Imaging ML12 has dramatically increased the up time of our machine production, which has resulted in comprehensive operational improvements,’ said Greg Sexton, president and CEO of Laser Services. ‘Our quality and customer assurance is transformed when larger parts that previously required up to an hour to inspect now take mere seconds.’

He added: ‘We are also saving significant time with our First Article Inspection (FAI) reports. Previously, FAI reports were very labour intensive for our quality control managers and caused significant downtime for the machine while parts were measured. With the ML12, we are now able to complete our First Article Inspection (FAI) reports in real time.’

Historically, a wide variety of techniques have been used to inspect parts, such as digital microscopes, CMMs, and laser micrometers, requiring up to an hour to inspect a single part with manual reporting. Additionally, laser inspection instruments do not provide the resolution required by the majority of Laser Services’ customers. With the ML Series, a part can be inspected down to micron-level precision and imaged and reported for SPC automatically in seconds, according to Carlos Jorquera, Boulder Imaging CEO.

The ML Series system measures high-precision, two-dimensional manufactured parts on a 12-inch-square surface, replacing the need for multiple systems to identify defects. It provides instantaneous, accurate measurement without the need for stabilisation platforms that are typically needed for vibration-dampening on the manufacturing floor. With inspection cycle times less than 20 seconds, it allows for 100 per cent inspection of 2D parts.

The stand-alone ML Series inspection station connects to the Laser Services server to load available DXF files. The operator simply chooses which part to inspect by selecting the appropriate DXF file, the features to measure along with tolerances, as well as any additional job or customer identifying information. The operator then places the part or parts on the inspection cell and initiates the measurement.

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