Consumers are increasingly looking for sustainable transportation options, which is reflected in their interest in electric vehicles (EVs). Electric powertrain builds are quite different than the construction of combustion engine vehicles, and manufacturers are adapting their processes and products to better fit the current direction of the industry and generate crucial EV parts.
Likewise, metrology is evolving to fulfill the quality assurance (QA) needs of this new energy market. Let’s look at the role metrology plays in the automotive sector with the increasing demand for EVs, applications for metrology, and how AIMS Metrology provides innovative QA solutions to assure safe, dependable vehicles.
Role of Metrology in Automotive/Electric Vehicles
While contemporary manufacturing typically utilizes programmed machines for high-volume production, these machines can still lose alignment or their tooling can become dull over time, leading to unwelcome changes in the uniformity, tolerances, or overall precision of produced components.
For critical automotive applications, metrology helps ensure that EV parts continue to match exacting standards for high quality in the completed product. A metrologist or quality control (QC) specialist reviews the manufactured parts to guarantee that they meet the specifications for the final product. If the measurements are incorrect, manufacturing can make machine adjustments so that the equipment will produce components to spec.
However, it isn't possible for the human eye to capture measurements with the precision that the automotive industry requires for its components, so metrological tools like coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are essential in inspecting parts while simultaneously boosting productivity and lowering costs.
3D metrology, one of the various metrology subcategories, uses advanced technology to improve the quality of vehicle goods through both contact and non-contact optical systems for critical measurements. Another growing trend in the industry is a shift from off-line QC inspections to inline or near-line manufacturing, which necessitates more frequent, highly efficient inspections. Modern vehicle manufacturers are incorporating automated inspection tools into their QC processes, using the resulting data in their product management systems. The collected data gives real-time insight that manufacturers can then use to make important production decisions and maintain optimal productivity.
Advantages of Metrology Solutions for Automotive/Electric Vehicles
CMMs and other automotive measurement solutions offer many benefits to this sector's applications. These include:
- 5-axis multi-sensor systems. Most modern machined components are manufactured on multi-axis machining centers, requiring a 5-axis multi-sensor system like Revo to precisely measure these difficult to inspect parts.
- Non-contact technological advancements. Metrology allows manufacturers to automate inspections for things like thin edges or small holes in surface finishings and other processes, reducing the involvement of manual labor and freeing up human staffers for other work..
- Adherence to updated quality standards. Mobile and lab-grade 5-axis CMMs are essential for keeping up with modifications to measuring requirements and acceptable industry quality standards, such as the updates to the ISO 9001 and ISO-TS 16949 standards in 2016. Also, the flexibility of industrial metrology equipment helps ensure safety and accuracy for versatile new process innovations and products like EVs.
- Expedited production and turn times. Manufacturers can automate the inspection process with metrology, thereby boosting productivity, precision, and operational efficiency to offer faster turn times on products.
- Cost efficiency. Modern metrology systems can result in long-term savings by increasing quality assurance throughput and decreasing the incidence of defects and any necessary rework.
- Reliably accurate part geometries. Ideal for applications in which precision is critical and manual measuring techniques are insufficient, such as for drivetrain or suspension components, CMMs can quickly and accurately measure one or multiple parts in minutes instead of hours.
Metrology Applications for Electric VehiclesFor interior and exterior injection-molded automotive components, powertrain, suspension, general inspections, QA services, and more, metrology has applications for EVs in measuring:
- Battery housings & trays
- Component dimensions
- Contour of magnets, motor windings and housings
- Flatness of sealing surfaces
- Positional accuracy of mating surfaces
- Surface finish / roughness
- Surface profile of brake and cooling system parts
AIMS' Capabilities for Automotive/Electric VehiclesAIMS is a trusted ISO/IEC 17025:2017-certified OEM and provider of comprehensive CMM installation, calibration, repairs, warranty, and financing services. We engineer our 5-axis measurement Revolution® Series CMM line, which includes our Revolution® HB Shop Floor CMM and Revolution® Linear Motor CMM products, around Renishaw technology.
This rugged equipment withstands harsh conditions on the shop floor, dampening vibrations and offering slow reactions to thermal fluctuations. The mobile 5-axis design is highly adaptable for part or process changes, and its low mass enables high operational speeds that decrease turn times from days to minutes, all with supreme accuracy. We also offer the Equator™ Gauging System, styli, change racks, touch and scanning probes, probe heads, and incremental encoder scale systems, as well as contract programming and other turnkey solutions.