Inspecting parts in a lousy location: how to get around using a PCMM!

A major manufacturer of recreational products and regular client of Creaform mandated us to validate the new drilling jigs for their new plant located in Mexico. This project included the design and manufacturing of new bodies and covers for jet skis.

Because I had previously done some work for one of our client’s sub-contractors (with a Faro arm) in a metrology room fitted with a large steel reference table dedicated to inspection set-ups, I was able to help our engineering department design the jigs and optimize the use of the HandyPROBE portable CMM for the project’s inspection/quality control phase.

Inspection_jig_recreational products_QC

When the location for the QC is just…so wrong!

There was very little time left before the jigs had to be shipped to the new plant in Mexico, so I created the inspection programs “offline” in advance to be ready when I got to the sub-contractor’s place. When I got there, I quickly found out that the space they wanted to put me in for the inspection was not suitable. There was no way I could fit my 2 inspection jigs in there – I needed 12 x 20’ of space for each of them! The project manager showed me a couple of rooms, one of which had an unstable and squicky wooden floor (no, I’m not THAT heavy, but it squicked anyways!). Of course, this was a no-go: the movement created by me walking on the floor would ultimately have caused deformation in the data. At last, he showed me a warehouse right next to their plant, where they stock glassfiber parts. Despite the strong and yucky resin odor, it was still better than being stuck outside!

How I got around

I had to empty the room before adjusting the jigs and starting the photogrammetry with the MaxSHOT 3D optical coordinate measuring system. Thanks to the typical optical referential for each jig, I was able to save a lot of time putting up the primary set-up for each part. No need to probe the 1st alignment, because each jig would position the parts following their respective data based on the drawing. As soon as I put the part on the jig, I was ready to QC the required drawing items.

Based on my previous experience with the other sub-contractor where I had to use a Faro measuring arm to probe, I had roughly estimated to 4.5 hrs the inspection time for each cover, and to about 3 hrs for the body.

The 1st 2 weeks were pretty smooth inspection-wise because the production of the jigs was behind…but the delivery date, on the other hand, did not move a bit! Inspection being at the end of the chain, who do you think got in trouble?

Yes, you got that right.

Maximizing my time…how dynamic measurement helped me!

I had to find a way to save some time…OK, I have 10 parts of each to inspect, and I have 45 hrs available for the covers and another 30 hrs for the bodies. I have less than 2 weeks left, and I can’t be in the warehouse outside of the working hours…What do I do?

Computer covered in saw dust

I ended up moving the cover jig to the sub-contractor’s wood shop (with great fear of losing my optical referential and having to do it all over again). To my surprise and great relief, my C-Track recognized its referential by me simply aligning the jig’s reference plan! After cleaning up the saw dust from my computer and the C-Track, I was able to resume the inspection!

But I wasn’t out of the woods yet…I found myself looking for my inspection jig for the bodies…just to find out that it has already been wrapped for shipping with the cover jigs…This jig being about 2 times bigger that the cover ones, I was convinced that I would need to redo the photogrammetry…but hat’s off to the jig designer, this jig was well-though! I simply had to align my referential, and I was ready to inspect.


On the very last day of inspection, I had to take time off work, so one of my colleagues took over. He had the good idea to ask somebody else to follow him with the C-Track (instead of having to stop inspecting from time to time to move it himself). Thanks to the TRUaccuracy dynamic measurement functionality, he managed to complete the cover inspection in 1.25 hr – which does beat my own personal record of 2 hrs!

I want a rematch! 😉

Article written by Creaform

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