User Case

Buffalo Manufacturing Works: Ready for Automation

Dr. Alex Kitt,
Application Engineer, Buffalo Manufacturing Works

“With the robot measurement solution by Alicona Manufacturing, we have found a solution that is applicable across all our technology focus areas. Particularly in terms of automated quality assurance we believe that we can do a number of measurements that are not achievable with other systems. This is due to the fast measurement speed that is well suited for in-process measurement!”

Increasing quality standards in manufacturing requires automated and integrated measurement solutions. Buffalo Manufacturing Works, operated by EWI, helps innovation-driven organizations across North America excel by partnering with their internal manufacturing, engineering and R&D teams to deliver better products, grow, and compete. Buffalo Manufacturing Works found Alicona Manufacturing during its search for a technology to ensure consistently high areal surface roughness quality. “We liked the robot from Alicona Manufacturing because it was ready to be implemented for potential automation applications,” reported Alex Kitt, an applications engineer at Buffalo Manufacturing Works.

In Alicona Manufacturing, the engineering team at Buffalo Manufacturing Works found an ideal partner to complement existing solutions for quality assurance. The robot is particularly applicable for in-line quality testing processes. Speaking about the initial projects they’ve deployed the Alicona system on, Kitt said “our first applications have consisted of measuring the form of injected parts for failure forensics and measuring both the roughness and form of 3D printed parts.”However, Kitt shared that quality assurance with the robot will be applied in many, diverse applications moving forward: “Our member companies range across key manufacturing market sectors and so do our applications. I may be working on an aerospace project one day and a medical project the next day.”

This part was printed using EWI’s EOS laser-powder bed printer from Nickel Alloy 625. It was measured using a 5XSX objective with a 2 um horizontal resolution and a 2 um vertical resolution. The measurement head was tiled relative to the top surface to better resolve the edges of the letters and to see some of the edge of the part.

Advanced manufacturing asks for an advanced metrology

With surface finish crucial for the quality and durability of a product, Buffalo Manufacturing Works is increasingly fielding requests from their customers to measure the surface roughness of various components, e.g. injection molded or 3D printed components. For these types of requests, the Focus-Variation based robot is ideally suited for the 3D measurement of complex parts. “The robot by Alicona Manufacturing is extremely flexible to use. For our current applications we use the robot because of its ability to measure large parts and the ability to measure the steep roughness profiles on rough 3D printed parts,” Alex Kitt points out.

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