An order for an international automobile manufacturer challenged the abilities of automotive supplier IAC Group. ZEISS supported the company with a total system comprised of measurement planning, programming and documentation, as well as a user-friendly measuring machine with fixture equipment and on-site service in Romania.
On behalf of international automobile manufacturers, the company manufactures systems and components for the exterior and interior of vehicles. Exact documentation of quality inspection is a fact of life at IAC.
In 2010, IAC received an order to design and manufacture around 100 components for a new model, including the dashboard, center console and door paneling. The designs originated from the proven IAC site in Basildon, UK. IAC planned production in Romania beginning in 2012.
One aspect seemed particularly important: how could the documentation of the measurements be generated in the format requested by the customer? Standard measuring software was not the solution.
ZEISS met the demands of the automotive supplier regarding measuring machine, fixture equipment, software and service, thus laying the foundation for a pilot project.
The client required quality planning in advance with precisely defined and numbered measuring points. In each of the four or five development and coordination steps, the measured points had to be adapted accordingly.
IAC implemented a new process with the help of ZEISS: the key difference to the past: the dimensional engineers in Basildon now specify the measured points right in the first draft of a product. They specify the respective tolerances and the customer-specific numbering – directly in the CAD model. An add-on tool from Gigatronik enables them to enter the points in CATIA. Finally, IAC coordinates planning with the customer.
"The CAD model with the measured data is used as the basis for three processes," explains Roger Douven, who is responsible for purchasing quality inspection for the IAC Group. "First for the design of the clamping equipment, second for the generation of the measuring program and third for the documentation." The clamping equipment is used to fix each workpiece for the measurement in exactly the position it will be mounted in a car. Generating the measuring program – offline with CALIGO measuring software – is also based on the measured points specified in the CAD model at the start of the process. Measuring technicians save around 60-70 percent of the time needed for programming because they no longer have to start from the beginning. Furthermore, the measurement point planning in the CAD model meets one main goal: it provides the foundation for documentation using PiWeb software from Carl Zeiss. After each measurement, the measuring results are automatically transferred to the central database of the documentation software. In this project, the results come from the CARMET II measuring machine from Carl Zeiss. In the end, PiWeb automatically combines all of this data into standardized documents. Carl Zeiss prepared the CARMET 3D coordinate measuring machine for the measurements so that inexperienced users can operate the system intuitively. And if anything should ever go wrong, Carl Zeiss employees are just around the corner.
The IAC Group is a leading, international supplier of components and systems for car interiors. The Group's customers include all well-known car makers, for which IAC offers a broad portfolio of interior components and systems. The company has 76 production sites in 15 countries. The company is headquartered in Luxembourg.