New Case Story: Equipped to double inspection capacity


Requiring a higher level of productivity and better insight into product conformance, Continental – Chassis & Safety upgrade their measurement facilities.

nikon metrology continental largeThe Quality department of Continental’s Chassis & Safety department (Veszprem, Hungary) recently invested in dual multi-sensor CMMs to revamp the inspection capabilities of their measurement laboratory. Continental wanted to gain a more comprehensive insight into their products, therefore began to look into multi-sensor metrology solutions. They required a high capacity system capable of high speed inspection cycles and combined fast surface scanning with highly accurate feature measurements. After outlining their criteria, several companies were consulted, prior to selecting two Nikon ALTERA CMMs, featuring the state-of-the-art LC15Dx laser scanners.

The Chassis & Safety division of the automotive company Continental are responsible for manufacturing a variety of small plastic assemblies such as wheel and engine speed sensors for automotive vehicles. The image shown here is an example of a typical sensor Continental would expect to measure, ready for inspection. The small, plastic sensor has a variety of acute angles and tight tolerances. The ease of which the LC15Dx makes of this will be discussed later. Renowned for their extensive expertise in driving safety, the Quality department plays a pivotal role in the success of this company. Day to day tasks in their measurement laboratory include feature and surface inspection, linear dimensions andGD&T analysis  to monitor production quality of the shop-floor and focusing new product launches. The quality department previously processed approximately 1600 measurement reports per year, each report consisting of around 20 measured parts, but they needed to gain a quicker, more comprehensive insight and obtain more information per report.

Multi-sensor metrology paves the road for faster inspection

nikon metrology abs speed sensor mediumABS speed sensor, aligned with tactile probeIn Continental’s measurement laboratory, their single tactile CMM was handling the vast majority of their inspection tasks. The Measuring Technician – Peter Somogyi explained that the main limitation of their existing CMM was its low capacity and that it was time to find a quicker solution. Tamas Brunner – Quality Engineer added that the software wasn’t up to their standard either requiring automation with latest GD&T measuring standards. They both continued to explain that with so many measuring tasks to process, their single, low capacity CMM just wasn’t able to keep up with their demand, let alone provide the level of insight necessary.

Tamas concluded that based on existing measurements, they needed to halve the inspection cycle with new tool measurements. By installing two modern multi-sensor CMMs, they aimed to gain a fast yet comprehensive insight with more data per report, significantly increasing their inspection capacity.

Vesz-Mont 2000 provide the Nikon solution for fellow Veszprem based company

Before beginning the search for a new solution, the quality department outlined their desire to utilise multi-sensor technology in the revamp of their facilities. After consulting CMM vendors, Vesz-Mont 2000, a Nikon Metrology reseller located in Veszprem offered the multi-sensor ALTERA CMM, as the most comprehensive answer to their requirements.

The final decision was made to install two ALTERA 8.7.6 CMMs, each providing multi-sensor technology with Nikon’s most accurate digital Laser scanner – the LC15Dx complemented with CAMIO software. Both Tamas and Peter strongly emphasised that the high accuracy of the LC15Dx (1.9um) was the main deciding factor in choosing the Nikon solution. With such a wide range of shapes, sizes, materials and surfaces to deal with, the LC15Dx is perfectly suited to Continental’s needs. The Enhanced Sensor Performance (ESP3) eliminates the need for preparation, such as powder spraying of dark or multi-coloured plastic parts. The specifically developed Nikon Lens provides the sharpest detail to measure the shapes, edges and features.  The new set-up also includes a TP200 tactile measurement probe for outlining parts or inspecting new features. The Renishaw ACR3 change rack ensures a smooth, automated exchange between tactile and non-contact probes, all controlled by Nikon’s CAMIO acquisition and processing software.

Short term benefits point towards long term prosperity

nikon metrology multi sensor metrology medium

The Nikon Metrology solution has immediately proven to be a resounding success. The direct benefits such as faster inspection cycles and increased productivity, amongst quick and easy visual reports point to the inevitable achievement of Continental’s long term goals. Peter Somogyi explained that the multi-sensor CMM allows for almost all type of measurements to be done with one machine, whilst previously needing to use multiple inspection facilities such as tactile probe, microscope, projector and conturograph.

With the best accuracy on the market, the Quality department have complete trust in the multi-sensor system and its insight, stating that it is also a very good tool for handling claims. As all measurement data is stored and available for reprocessing or further analysis, the new inspection system serves as a critical tool in handling potential customer claims. The quality of the new inspection process has introduced an increased insight into the parts critical dimensions, cavities and functional features. This enables faster corrective action, demonstrating the high level of productivity the Nikon solution brings.

Highly complementary of the new and improved speed of their measurement process, Tamas Brunner also pinpointed the software as an important benefit. He explained, “The graphical report is very quick and easy to understand. The part needs to comply to many different tolerances and the reports provide clear information”.

Following the upgrade of their facilities and the evidence of short term change already, Continental fully expect to reap the rewards of the long term benefits in the near future. Since the installation, their new equipment has already invoked an interest from the Moulding Competence Centre to see how the optical inspection can also speed up pre-production and development cycles.