Cross-Sectional Scanning Key in Molder’s Competitive Strategy
Matrix Tooling (Wood Dale, Ill.) has a three-pronged approach to compete in the
shrinking domestic tooling market: focus on challenging jobs, offer more value to its
customers and leverage technology. Its latest endeavor, adding Cross-Sectional
Scanning for first article inspection services, has enabled Matrix to achieve all three
When first article inspection was initially considered, Matrix realized that there were
Matrix Tooling added first article
two major obstacles. Paul Ziegenhorn, president, said, “Adding first article inspection
inspection to strengthen its
seemed to be a good business decision, but to make it work, we needed to control
competitive position in the
costs by significantly reducing the labor hours required. More importantly, we
shrinking tooling market.
needed to create a compelling reason for our customers to allow us to do their first
Matrix found what it needed when it discovered Cross-Sectional Scanning. According
to Gary Johansson, quality manager, “Cross-Sectional Scanning is unlike any other
inspection tool. It is an automated process that eliminates inspection planning,
fixturing and sectioning. When the scanning is complete, I have hundreds of
thousands of measurement points that describe every detail of the first article.”
Johansson estimates that his Cross-Sectional Scanning system, a CSS-1000, gives
Matrix a minimum labor savings of 30 percent. However, he finds that the time
savings are much bigger when doing first article inspection on multi-cavity tools and
intricate, complex parts. Johansson said, “I can do multiple copies almost as fast as a
single part. The CSS-1000 processes the parts as a batch, and the Spec.Check™
CSS-1000 automates inspection
software lets me create a template that automates inspection reporting.”
and eliminates planning, fixturing
“Cross-Sectional Scanning also eliminates the time consuming and inherently flawed
task of manually sectioning parts,” Johansson stated. If using CMMs or optical
gauges, each cross-section on a drawing, and every measurement that is not
accessible, requires cutting of the part. This operation adds labor and introduces error.
“It is a lot of work to pick up a single dimension from a section. We have to make
fixtures, cut the part, set it up and pick off the measurement,” said Johansson.
“When planning the inspection, I would allow roughly one hour for each section.
With our CSS-1000, it only takes a minute or two,” he said.
Matrix finds that Cross-Sectional Scanning reduces measurement uncertainty.
Sectioning parts for inspection
Johansson said, “We have tried every alternative for cutting parts, but each one
with CMM or optical gauges results
results in tearing, melting or rollover burrs. After cutting, the edges are then hand
in tearing, melting or rollover burrs.
worked to clean them up. This changes the dimensions.”
He also noted that cutting a part is likely to cause distortion since molding stresses
are no longer constrained. Johansson stated, “Our clients are calling out
-0.000/+0.001 inch tolerances. Cutting a part to reveal a section will introduce error
that exceeds these quality specifications.” He continued, “With our CSS-1000, there
isn’t any tearing, melting, burrs or distortion. Measurements are fast and accurate.”
Beyond automation and accuracy, Cross-Sectional Scanning’s unique approach to
Dense point clouds (left) are
inspection offers unexpected advantages that have amazed Matrix’s customers.
aligned to CAD data (right) to
Combining the dense data set from the CSS-1000 with powerful software, Matrix has
generate color maps.
unrivaled measurement and reporting tools.
After submitting an inspection report, customers often request new, previously
unspecified measurements. If using traditional tools, Matrix would repeat the
inspection process, possibly having to section a part, to get the new measurement.
“Since I have the CSS-1000 scan data on file and inspection templates archived, all I
have to do is open the file and make the measurement. It takes me just a few
minutes to respond to the customer’s request,” said Johansson. While the rapid
response is appreciated, what grabs customers’ attention is the inspection documents.
“Our customers know that we are leveraging new technology as soon as they open
our inspection reports,” Johansson stated. Accompanying the usual tabular reports
are visual depictions of the inspection results. Measurements are annotated on
section views in green (pass) and red (fail). Matrix also uses Innovmetric’s
PolyWorks® software to create vivid 3D color maps that illustrate deviations of the
first article from the original CAD data. “Customers are absolutely amazed when we
present these visual reports,” said Johansson.
“We are giving our customers reports and data above and beyond what they could
get if they performed their own inspection,” said Ziegenhorn. “This is the compelling
Customers are amazed when
reason for them to consider our company for the first article inspection.” He
presented with visual inspection
continued, “Our customers are impressed with our first article inspections services,
reports, such as color maps from
and I am pleased that we can do this work profitably.”
Innovmetrics’s PolyWorks software.
1 5 1 6 1 T e c h n o l o g y D r i v e • E d e n P r a i r i e , M N • 5 5 3 4 4 • P H : 1 - 8 0 0 - 2 0 7 - 4 3 1 8 • F X : 9 5 2 - 9 3 7 - 3 0 1 8
w w w . C G I i n s p e c t i o n . c o m