Demanding Geometrical and Dimensional Tolerances Required ‘Vision of Quality’

UK based IXYS UK Westcode Ltd has been at the forefront of power semiconductor design since the early part of the 20th Century. With origins in the mid 1920’s, Westcode Semiconductors began life as part of the Westinghouse Brake & Signal Company, making copper oxide based semiconductors. Manufacturing commenced at the UK Chippenham site in the 1930’s and during the next 30 years the company developed products based on selenium and germanium. Silicon power devices were introduced in 1957, a technology which is still used in products today.

Now supporting a diverse range of global customers and industrial sectors, IXYS UK Westcode Ltd has evolved into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of very high power semiconductors. IXYS UK Westcode Ltd. has achieved an outstanding global reputation based on its long pedigree of production and service excellence. The company’s dedication to maintaining the highest possible quality standards remains evident in every aspect of its endeavours. To help ensure the continued production of first class products, in addition to investing in state-of-the-art production plant, IXYS UK Westcode makes regular purchase of advanced metrology equipment for the company’s Quality Control Department.

Having recently embarked on a major project to manufacture a new, high-power module with a difficult to measure shape and challenging dimensional tolerances, it was decided that a very precise, flexible means of measurement needed to be sourced. The chosen metrology equipment needed to be programmable and capable of precisely measuring high volumes of parts in a fully automatic mode, in addition the proposed new equipment was required to be ‘future proof’ and able to accommodate a wide range of other company products.

IXYS UK Westcode Process Engineer, Fiona Lambert explained. “Our products comply with the RoHS and REACH Directives and are used in literally thousands of applications, all of which share the need for total quality. All of our products are subjected to rigorous testing and quality standards. ISO9001 and IEC68 provide the benchmarks against which all of our products and services are measured. As with all of our new developments, our major new project involving the manufacture an advanced high-power module, followed our strict Product Introduction Procedure. This rigorous process ensures the delivery of high quality devices to our rapidly evolving markets.”

“Given the unusual form of the new module’s base-plate, consisting of a flat top and a curved underside, each side with demanding geometrical and dimensional tolerances, and as many other aspects of the new product needed fast, high-precision measurements to be taken, we undertook a search for a suitable measuring technology.

“Having considered and dismissed several other metrology manufacturers’ options, we took samples of our new high-power module to Mitutoyo’s demonstration facility. The samples were placed on the bed of a Mitutoyo Quick Vision Active, CNC vision measuring system. The Mitutoyo device quickly performed a complex measuring procedure and generated a very accurate, graphic, on-screen 3D map showing both the accurate topography and the precise dimensions that we required. Subsequent measuring routines confirmed the impressive accuracy and repeatability of the achieved results and gave us the confidence to place an order.

“After attending an informative two-day training course and following the trouble-free installation and in-house calibration of our new Mitutoyo CNC vision measuring system, our operators soon became skilled in its use. We are now making the required in-coming and post process, precise quality control checks on our new high-power module and achieving excellent results.

“Given the high volumes of products we will be measuring when full production commences, we have had robust fixtures manufactured to hold the high-power modules securely in place whilst they are being measured. These fixtures will also allow quick loading and unloading on to the Quick Vision Active machine. We have also written several measurement programs that allow fast accurate, fully automatic CNC measurement routines to be performed. This detailed preparatory work will prove invaluable when we are in full production.

“We are confident that the programmable and CNC operating nature of our Mitutoyo Quick Vision Active will deliver the speed of measurement and levels of automation that will enable it to handle the anticipated levels of inspection work. Also, trials have confirmed that our new Mitutoyo vision measuring system is able to provide the necessary levels of precision and repeatability.” Mitutoyo Vision Measuring Systems are available in a wide range of sizes and accuracy classes to cover practically all precision 2D and 3D measuring applications. Each system represents an excellent investment in terms of productivity, versatility, quality of construction, training and service support.

Based on a compact design, Mitutoyo’s Quick Vision Active, as purchased by IXYS UK Westcode Ltd, is an advanced, easy to operate CNC vision measuring system that combines the flexibility of a high quality zoom lens with the speed of a state-of-the-art digital colour camera. Quick Vision Active provides a long list of advanced features, including programmable LED stage and coaxial lighting, a programmable 4-quadrant LED ring light, a high-resolution and high-speed CMOS colour camera and high-quality 7-step zoom optics with interchangeable lenses.

Mitutoyo’s Quick Vision 3D CNC vision measuring systems are supplied as standard with the latest version Windows 10 QVPak v13, user-friendly measuring software. The ‘smart’ software controls all relevant processes, such as light control, magnification and part programming.

For more information: www.mitutoyo.co.uk

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