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Friday, July 9, 2010

Nuclear Parts

In an industry where safety is paramount, the accuracy and thoroughness of the inspection are more important than ever.
Level 3 Inspection has found a solution to the this dilemma and has developed a SmartFAI process that combines White Light Scanning (WLS) with computer-aided-inspection (CAI).
The combination gives Level 3 the ability to perform more comprehensive inspections on parts in a shorter amount of time. The First Article Inspection SmartFAI process involves verifying every feature on the part by comparing it to a customer-supplied part print and 3D CAD model. First-article inspections are done prior to full production release and often while a part is in development.
The Level 3 approach replaces traditional plate inspection or a CMM system with WLS, which can capture and calculate precise 3D coordinates for millions of points in seconds.
CMM captures only a few points in the time that WLS can capture hundreds of thousands, so Level 3 is able to do a more thorough inspection. The results are much more visual and therefore much more easily understood and interpreted.
Nuclear containment and power generation inspection poses some unique challenges, such as analyzing the dimensions of a newly manufactured part compared to the CAD model. This is difficult using a CMM system, which depends on the operator to accurately capture the points that will show whether or not the part is conforming within the allowable tolerance. Often, there is not enough point data to make an accurate comparison.
The new capabilities provided by computer-aided inspection have not come a moment too soon for the increasingly competitive investment cast parts market. Increasingly, companies are facing the demand for more quality inspection results in less time.
Level 3 Inspection’s customers are moving quickly to statistically based inspections in which the qualification is based not on a single piece, but on a sampling of parts, new part inspection would take much longer to complete without the ability to automate portions of the process.
Traditionally, studies based on a sampling of parts are done using CMM to generate metrics on dimensions for each part. This is a time-consuming process, since each part must be measured individually. Data is then typically transferred to an analytic program, evaluated, then published.
Level 3 is replacing the CMM-based process with automated trend analysis. Once a part is scanned and a report is saved, Level 3 can automatically generate portions of the capability studies defined by their customer or OEM specifications. Batch processing enables Level 3 to collect data and generate reports on a large number of parts. Statistical analysis tools allow Level 3 to compare parts for pre-defined factors such as repeatability, changes over time, and variations from part to part.
Speed is the key. Speed of inspection is always Level 3 Inspection’s main challenge. Everyone wants the results yesterday and our process is helping us deliver more complete results much quicker.
Contact us today to start getting superior inspection results in shorter time with easier understanding leading to higher confidence.

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