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Changing the view results in more than meets the eye.

When Nemak Canada Corp.'s Windsor Aluminum Plant, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, decided to replace its outdated four-camera 2-D inspection system, it originally wanted to upgrade to the latest 2-D technology system available on the market. But when the company teamed up with Vista Solutions Inc., Windsor, Ontario, Canada, the plans changed.

The role of Nemak's defect inspection system is to inspect sand breather cores. The breather cores are manufactured from highly densified and compressed sand and resin. Each core consists of 12 breather tabs, and each tab is approximately 0.4 in. in diameter and less than an inch in height.

During the casting process, molten aluminum is poured around the formed sand core, and during the formation of the sand core, any voids or pieces of sand that are missing from the core results in aluminum being poured where it should not be present. Breather cores must be inspected for missing or defective breather tabs or legs that viii cause blockages within the finished casting, which result in massive aluminum scrap costs and quality-related defect costs for the end user.


To match the best system to Nemak's inspection needs, Vista advised the metalcaster to switch to a 3-D inspection. Nemak agreed and provided Vista with sample sand cores for evaluation.

Vista decided the SICK IVC-3D would be the best system for Nemak. The new system is mounted on a stationary stand positioned directly adjacent to the forming press. When a sand core is completed, an existing material handling robot removes the core from the forming press and passes it directly in front of the SICK IVC-3D vision system. By implementing the new system in a location that coincides with the robot's natural process path, productivity has increased. Under the old 2-D system, the robot was required to remove the part from the press and advance to an inspection area not part of its natural process path.

As the system inspects the part, it builds a 3-D map of the inspected surface. The camera then collects profiles of the part at a rate of up to 5,000 per second, processes the profiles in real time and stacks them into a continuous 3-D surface map of the core's surface.

The SICK IVC 3-D provides a more robust and accurate defect inspection system, allows for true 3-D inspection information and is capable of inspecting all the breather tabs with a single vision system. The system's total ethernet capability also allows employees to access the inspections in real-time directly from their desktop computers.

The supplied solution offered major cost savings to Nemak. At approximately 60% of the cost of a new four-camera, 2-D system, the 3-D system's improved inspection capabilities resulted in overall effectiveness of 97.7% in scrap detection rate compared to the previous 2-D system's 85% scrap detection average.

Visit or call 519/974-3330 for more information.
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Title Annotation:New Product
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:May 1, 2008
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