There are several areas where it is very obvious that automation technology generates added value. Testing of mass-produced parts is definitely a prime example. Manufacturers of small parts deploy cutting-edge technology to enhance product quality, cut costs and save time. That explains why so many punching and turning specialists headed for Kistler's stand at this year's Blechexpo. Test automation has clear goals: to detect faults quickly and reliably, and to define tolerances so that scrap is reduced to the minimum wherever possible.
Fairgoers' attention was focused on solutions such as the KVC 621 punched part test cell to measure and inspect complex geometries and structural grids. This modular system is chosen by many manufacturers to inspect continuous material with constant infeed. The punched part test cell is deployed directly in the line: as soon as the parts are produced, the system automatically checks whether they meet defined quality characteristics. Compatibility with hardware from third-party providers is an added benefit.
Sebastian Perner, Team Leader Sales at Kistler, recalls: "Another solution that generated enormous interest among visitors to the fair was the KVC 821 automatic testing and sorting system."
Thanks to high-tech 2D cameras and 3D laser triangulation systems, the KVC 821 can accomplish complex tasks and detect faults in the µm range. To inspect workpiece surfaces, for example, the automated test system from Kistler applies the "Shape from Shading" method: this involves illuminating the test specimen from many different angles.
By casting shadows, this reliable process makes it possible to distinguish topographic faults from surface fluctuations. As the result, the machine can differentiate accurately between relevant part deviations (such as differences in size) and non-critical deviations such as color variations. In just one minute, the KVC 821 can quickly and reliably sort up to 500 parts into the appropriate containers.
Vester Elektronik GmbH, based in Straubenhardt (Germany), joined the Kistler Group at the end of 2017. This was the first Blechexpo where the Straubenhardt team were present as part of Kistler. Following successful completion of the integration phase, Vester Elektronik GmbH will be renamed as Kistler Straubenhardt at the start of 2020. Now that Vester is part of Kistler, there are advantages for the two companies – and for their customers. Both partners benefit from each other's knowledge and experience. "At first, Blechexpo visitors were a little surprised to see our products sporting the new logo," according to Perner. "But we soon became closely involved in discussions with the specialists attending the fair – and we were delighted by lively interest they expressed."
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