A new type of inspection system yields savings of millions of euros for PKC
The Finnish PKC Group manufacturing lead and cable kits represents the top of the industry. Its vehicle electronics, leads and cables are used particularly in trucks and buses, excavation machines and agricultural and forestry machines. Cable kits are manufactured one lead at a time. Earlier, lead properties were inspected randomly and manually – at the beginning and end of a batch.
PKC wanted to improve the production quality and product measurement accuracy with a new system. Protacon was requested to join as expert in this development work. The first task for Protacon was to identify the measuring method that best suited this particular need. Next, they selected and acquired measuring equipment meeting the requirements.
In addition to providing acquisition consulting, Protacon was responsible for the design of the measurement system and processing of measurement data. Quality variations in the production process are immediately visible in online measurements and quality deviations can be immediately addressed. In the manufacturing process, leads and their connectors move at a very fast speed. Measuring this kind of quick “glimpse” at an accuracy of a thousandth of a millimetre is extremely challenging.
Nevertheless, it is possible with the measuring technique selected. Around 50–80 samples can be taken from a thin lead with a diameter of about 1.5 mm, although it moves at an approximate speed of 3 m/s. The measurement and inspection technique used by PKC is completely new in this industry and creates remarkable competitive advantage to the company. The new system significantly increases measurement accuracy thus improving product performance and reliability.
The possibility of human error is avoided when measurements are performed automatically and systematically on each product. The solution helps save both working hours and materials. Earlier, copper was always lost in a lead test. Translated to large volumes, savings can yield to millions of euros.
Protacon was requested to join as expert in this development work. In addition to providing acquisition consulting, Protacon was responsible for the design of the measurement system and processing of measurement data.