Manufacturing sheet metal parts can be particularly difficult. The production cost per component is very low compared with other industries such as metal machining. This drives down the resources available to the quality control process, even though sheet metal parts are often used in the most demanding applications such as aerospace or automotive or in very large production runs, all of which require inspection.
Even before the 1986 NASA Space Shuttle disaster that took the lives of seven crew members, o-ring manufacturers throughout the world have had to place a strong emphasis on the quality of the goods they produce, both in terms of dimensional accuracy and longevity.
Electric lamination inspection is a particularly difficult and demanding application to which the traditional range of metrology equipment is not well suited. Unfortunately, the inspection of laminations is not optional. The tolerances are quite tight and some of the reference features are quite small. The measuring machine must therefore have a very good accuracy and feature resolution.
Gasket and seal inspection is a particularly difficult and demanding application. With the advent of spiral wound, double-jacketed and kamm profile gaskets, gasket inspection has become a lot more difficult. The latest generation of gaskets are no longer manufactured from a simple 2D sheet, they are now a complex 2.5D or even 3D assembly made from a variety of flexible and solid materials.
Unfortunately, the existing inspection methods such as CMMs are slow, extremely complicated and expensive both to purchase and to run. In addition, conventional CMMs can only be used to measure a limited number of points. Due to the quality demands of industries such as automotive and aerospace, inspection is not an option.