QMT Features: January 2011
Integrated metrology gears up
Tier 1 automotive supplier, Ogihara America Corporation, eliminates hundreds of inspection hours using advanced non-contact dimensional gauging technology

Ogihara America Corporation is a subsidiary of the Japanese Ogihara Corporation, one of the largest independent automotive die manufacturers in the world.  A Tier 1 supplier known for its  product quality of automotive class A parts, assemblies and related body panels, the company operates in the US from its Howell-based facility in Michigan.  Its production facilities provide critical parts and assemblies to General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler as well as to several Japanese transplants across North America.

All Ogihara facilities around the world share common processes for ensuring lean and streamlined operation. Common processes help Ogihara develop and manufacture more cost effectively while ensuring the best quality for the customer.
Ogihara’s Howell plant specializes in long term production jobs requiring stamping and sub-assembly of Class A quality panels via robotic material handling; robotic weld, sealer, and adhesive application; automated assembly lines; and automated material transfer. These panels are the visible surfaces of finished vehicles, fenders, hoods, trunk-lids, doors, body sides, roof panels, and other areas of high visibility for the customer.

Following a successful implementation of CogniTens Optigo-based solutions at Ogihara’s US based facilities, Ogihara’s management decided to take its implementation to the next level. The company chose to be one of the first suppliers to fully automate the dimensional measurements of automotive parts and assemblies using advanced non-contact gauging technology.

Based on the company’s requirements for the highest level of operational flexibility possible, CogniTens, together with its partner InspectionAir Gauge, designed a fully automated and standardized OptiCell footprint to provide rapid dimensional results for closure sub-assemblies originating from multiple vehicle programs.
The standardized OptiCell configuration offered tight integrations of sophisticated robotics technology, operator-machine interface as well as cell automation and control devices, such as rotary tables and flexible holding fixtures. This integrated approach accommodates the maximum number of parts and assemblies, while minimizing the costs associated with making changes

The OptiCell’s clean cell design and robust  measurement technology was designed to allow easy operation directly within the assembly bay area on the production floor and fits nicely into Ogihara’s common production processes. Through implementing the OptiCell systems, Ogihara was expecting to meet and surpass the highest quality standards for automotive parts and assemblies and also shorten launch and start of production times.

Process integrated metrology
Ogihara installed its first OptiCell in 2007 and added a second system in 2008 to support a new vehicle program by a major North American OEM to which Ogihara is providing various sheet metal parts and sub-assemblies. Today, based on its automotive OEM customers’ requirements, Ogihara has over 50 different parts to measure.

Ogihara’s  process combines OptiCell’s white light measurement technology  with fast and agile laser welding systems. Ogihara also devised process to complement the detail part inspection with functional build applications to produce the best parts for its automotive customers.

Today, Ogihara’s OptiCell systems provide production associates with instant line-side data required to make comprehensive functional build adjustments as needed.  “Implementing OptiCell is a major step towards realizing Ogihara’s vision of moving from traditional gauging systems to highly flexible and integrated measurement systems”, said Steve Peca, executive manager for Quality Systems at Ogihara America.

Based on their initial study, Ogihara was expecting to considerably reduce checking fixtures costs, shorten the time required to correct deviations and deliver the first production run.
Following their first system implementation Ogihara reported additional benefits:

• Easier and faster full understanding of initial part quality
• Realizing less quality loops for new production
and assembly tooling
• Starting mass production faster than ever before
• Higher quality products delivered to customers with lower cost of quality

After realizing the benefits of their first OptiCell systems, Ogihara decided to further expand its use in their processes.l


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