3D tool inspections

One NorthEast’s engineers have used laser technology to help improve production at 3M’s County Durham manufacturing facility.

North East Productivity Alliance’s (NEPA) Digital Factory utilised its Innovation Resource Centre based at the University of Sunderland to help with the inspection of tooling parts that were causing added waste in the manufacture of gas and vapour respirator filters.

The Digital Factory demonstrated a laser scanner that provides inspection, tool validation, wear analysis, object alignment, and 2D and 3D dimensional analysis of an item.

Fraser Shearer, 3M senior manufacturing technologist, said: ‘Traditional inspection methods take a long time and are very costly. However, using the latest digital technologies available from the NEPA Digital Factory, including its laser scanner, we achieved 3D measurements in two days without any factory down-time.

‘The laser scanner provided precise 3D measurements of parts directly onto a computer system for inspection, tool validation and 2D and 3D analysis.’

The NEPA team has also been assisting 3M with implementing Japanese lean manufacturing techniques with the aim of improving business processes.

Shearer added: ‘3M involved NEPA to complement our existing business improvement programs of TPM and Six Sigma.’

Dr Colin Herron, One NorthEast’s manufacturing and productivity manager, said: ‘NEPA works with local companies across North East England to introduce tools and techniques that drive improvements in manufacturing costs, bring greater efficiency levels, quality and future competitiveness.’