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Universal Measuring Software Harmonizes Multiple Inspection Hardware Platforms

Since 1988, Fujigiken Inc. has been expanding 4 core businesses in Japan: the trial manufacture of car seats, the trial production of cars, small-volume production and supply, and jig production. Fujigiken makes the best use of 3D systems for all processes related to production, from product development and architectural design to the manufacture of stamps, molds, and jigs, and finally assembly, measurement, and inspection.

Staff network between the head office in Mie and their factories in Kagoshima and Thailand. Together, they are able to provide high-quality products on time, according to the needs of customers of car manufacturers, by establishing a rational and efficient production system. The Quality Assurance Department uses several types of 3D hardware devices to takes measurements: FARO Arms, FARO ScanArms, Mitutoyo CNC CMMs, a Mitutoyo non-contact laser probe, an OPTON Cloud Former, and a Hexagon BLAZE 600M.

The Challenge – Finding a Better Solution

When performing part inspections, an inspection sheet would be created based on drawing dimensions. Then, a group of 13 or 14 operators implemented the measurements by using the dedicated software for each of the hardware devices, aided by engineers trained on certain devices. The measurement results were manually input in Excel and submitted to their customers.

This system was time consuming and the manual data entry made it error prone. Each operator was limited to only certain devices and it took a lot of time and effort to train personnel to become productive. In addition, they couldn’t open large data files directly using their current inspection software. Consequently, those data files first had to be edited. As a result, the speed of their operations was slowing down, and their PC froze when they used the software of other makers.

As well, a customer of the Kyushu factory, who is a car maker and a PolyWorks user, requested that Fujigiken submit PolyWorks data with their measurements results.  This customer request, combined with the need to unify their measurement devices under one common software platform, exacerbated by the recent purchase of the Hexagon BLAZE 600M, required Fujigiken to find a better software solution for its measurement and inspection operations.

The Solution

Following a suggestion from a Hexagon representative, Fujigiken contacted PolyWorks Japan for a demonstration of their PolyWorks|Inspector software. A sales representative and an Application Specialist visited and demonstrated how PolyWorks|Inspector could be used with their FARO arms and Mitutoyo CNC CMMs. PolyWorks Japan also tested the CMMs using customer requirements and explained to the Fujigiken CMM operator in detail how to measure parts using PolyWorks.

The Quality Assurance Department decided to adopt the PolyWorks|Inspector software because of its universal software platform, which enabled connecting directly to all their portable measurement devices and their CNC CMMs. In addition, they decided to use a PolyWorks floating licensing scheme, which made Inspector easy to use on all their networked PCs.

The team members took PolyWorks training and found PolyWorks software easy to operate and were satisfied that its hardware device plug-ins let them use all the functions of their portable CMMs and their CNC CMMs. The Quality Assurance Department began using PolyWorks with their portable CMMs and soon afterward their CNC CMMs. They were able to use several hardware devices for the same inspection project! And PolyWorks could open the large data files from their FARO ScanArms easily. Specialists from PolyWorks Japan visited regularly to help Fujigiken with their challenges until their operations went well. Overall work efficiency improved greatly.

Mr. Katsunori Kodaka, Section Manager of the Quality Assurance Department, stated, “PolyWorks|Inspector is now used for the entire measurement and inspection process. We can operate PolyWorks intuitively and prepare the setting of measurement points in advance, by using CAD models. Measurement work can be completed quickly, and operational efficiency has improved. It’s also very convenient, since we can create reports for the measurement points so easily. This function makes our preparation much easier than before.”

Business development for the future

Fujigiken is also considering installing the PolyWorks|DataLoop measurement data management solution. Mr. Shigeru Sato, President & Director, explained, ”We are currently considering enhancing project analysis during our manufacturing processes. While quality assurance will directly benefit, our goal is to support our customer’s increasing needs, such as the request for the assembly of products, deviations, the submission of color maps for laser-scanned data, and more. To achieve our customers’ needs to obtain data during our manufacturing processes, as well as the management of historic information and previous data, powerful search functionalities and data sharing are essential. Our customers require feedback concerning measurement, design level, results analysis, deviations, pass/fail results, the variation of measurements from CAD data, and more. For the next step, we would like to install PolyWorks|DataLoop, the measurement data management solution, and aim to unify the forms and the efficiency of management for measurement results.”

Fujigiken can provide consistent service from development and design to the completion of products in-house, and their volume of business is growing. Their business includes preproduction and small-volume production, and they expect the latter business will continue to increase. They have successfully improved productivity and work efficiency while reducing operation time. Fujigiken will keep manufacturing high-quality products efficiently and promptly by utilizing the PolyWorks software.

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