November 28, 2016

Through a connection made at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, two startups are working together on a shop-floor system that helps manufacturers automate quality control (QC) using tag-less tracing and robotic 3D scanning. ARIS Technology and Covisus Inc., both DMDII members, are demonstrating their collaborative solution this week at the Defense Manufacturing Conference in Denver.

The technology combines the strengths of the two companies: Covisus’ virtual tagging system—known as vTags—for tracking parts, and ARIS’ automated robotic 3D scanning system for quality control.

In this collaboration, when a part is machined, Covisus’s QuanTEK technology assigns a vTag and links the unique surface texture of the part to its part number within the ARIS database. Parts are picked at random from the batch, identified with a vTag, and placed in order on the ARIS tray. ARIS automatically runs the inspection for the parts and generates the QC results.

As the results are completed, ARIS performs statistical process control (SPC) and allows real-time reports to be viewed on a secure website portal. The analytics that are generated provide insight into “not only the quality data of that specific part, but over time and across production,” said Mingu Kang, CEO of ARIS.

ARIS can perform SPC on randomly selected parts from the batch as the production order is digitally tagged through vTags, which are linked to ARIS’ QC results. After QC, an operator can sort pass/failed parts without any physical tracing method, such as bar codes. Traditionally, a manufacturer would need to manually input a part’s number or other data before scanning or sorting into the pass or fail category.

“By removing the human from the loop and truly showing digital manufacturing, you reduce cost, you reduce human intervention, and therefore errors,” said Naresh Menon, CEO of ChromoLogic, the parent company of Covisus.

Similarly, 3D scanning is often a manual process requiring specialized skills. To generate 3D scans using ARIS’ technology, however, any floor worker can click a button on the touch screen monitor and generate 3D scan data, which are compared with a CAD file to create quality reports. But Kang emphasizes that while the solution reduces a manufacturer’s need for skilled talent, its larger value lies in improving the quality of production.

“It’s not only about cost savings; these technologies working together can potentially improve revenue by enhancing product quality and competitiveness,” he said.

While both companies’ technology can be used within a variety of industries, the initial focus of the joint project is the aerospace market. The Covisus system is currently used by Boeing for parts inspection and mitigating counterfeits in the supply chain. Kang and Menon hope to incorporate the ARIS technology for parts inspection as well.

The two CEOs met at DMDII’s first Startup Showcase, which was held in conjunction with the Institute’s quarterly members-only Technology Showcase in September. They began installing their joint system six weeks ago on the DMDII manufacturing floor.

This week Kang and Menon are at the Defense Manufacturing Conference, an event that brings together government and industry leaders with manufacturing subject matter experts. The two will be presenting demos and discussing their collaboration in the DMDII booth (#832) during the conference, held Nov. 28 – Dec. 1 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

The booth will also feature demos and presentations for DMDII’s Digital Manufacturing Commons, an open-source software platform for connecting communities and sharing solutions across the manufacturing product lifecycle.