The Next Generation of Micro Part Verification

The Next Generation of  Micro Part Verification

In general, technology solutions utilised in the micro-manufacturing sector are scaled down versions of traditional macro technologies, and as such, their applicability in the micro world is questionable. Nowhere is this more the case  than in the testing, measurement, and validation of design intent. For micro and precision moulded parts, is vital that manufacturers implement an inspection regime that is 100% accurate and measures both internal and external geometries.

Many OEMs today use either CMMs, X-ray/CT scanning technologies, or optical comparators for micro part measurement, all of which present issues. CMMs are a “go-to” technology in macro manufacturing arena, but when analysing micro parts, their effectiveness is limited by the accuracy and aspect ratio of the probing system. X-ray and CT scanning equipment is not only extremely expensive, but also struggles to measure dense parts accurately, and optical comparators can only work in 2D.

Plastic-IT has recently introduced the next generation of measurement technology for the micro moulding sector to the UK and Europe — The CGI Pearl 700 desktop machine — which overcomes many of the issues inherent in the analysis of micro moulded parts by capturing precise part measurements through the creation of 100% accurate 3D data sets. The nature of this technology also allows for multi-cavity / multi-part inspection, which means that it is possible to ensure that each cavity is independently and precisely tuned to mould parts, instead of “averaging” across cavities. This is made easier through the ability to create and set measurement templates from the first part assessed, which reduces the measuring time of subsequent parts.

In addition, the technology is equally well suited to stand alone parts or multi-part assembled components, which have previously been either impossible or notoriously difficult to measure with any degree of accuracy.

The part to be inspected is first encased in a slow-curing plastic resin which is then placed in the CGI machine and sliced into ultra-thin 25 micron layers. As each layer is removed, an optical scanner captures the newly exposed 2D profile at an extremely high resolution of 1 million pixels per square inch. Cutting and imaging is repeated until the part is consumed. The collection of 2D images is then processed to build a 100% accurate 3D point cloud that details exterior and interior geometries. The conversion of raw scanned data into meaningful data sets is achieved through CGI’s Spec.Check™ software solution, which allows for complete part analysis, mould qualification, process control, and failure analysis.

The 3D scanner enables verification of CAD design intent and deviation cost-effectively and quickly, which makes a significant contribution to the design and manufacture of accurate and functional parts in a way that also allows for adherence to strict time-to-market requirements. Complete part validation can be completed in a matter of a few days.

A video of this exciting technology in action can be seen at

To talk to us about the technology, please contact:

Richard Webster, Plastic-IT — t. +44(0)1952 815703 or e.