To automate inspection of tempered glass as it came out of the oven, Intigral Inc., a Walton Hills, Ohio, insulating glass fabricator, installed the FeneVision Line Scanner, developed by SoftSolution GmbH, Austria, and marketed and supported in North America by FeneTech Inc., Aurora, Ohio. Essentially, it is a faster, 8-foot-long version of the desktop scanner and all-in-one office printer technology, says DeAnna Negron, Intigral vice president, customer service and systems. Integrated with the fabricator's FeneTech-developed glass optimization and production/ERP system, the scanner is used for:
Surface quality and size comparison inspectionInspection of edge deletion qualityAcceptance or rejection of units based on empirical data Easy-to-read display of rack/slot number for tempered litesSystem-level problem solving, process reviews and overall production statistics using archived scan results for each lite.
Line scanners can be installed horizontally or vertically, anywhere in the process users want to improve or add inspection capabilities. They recognize dirt, fingerprints, smears, brush and roller marks, oil and water drops, scratches, point marks, chips, bubbles, inclusions, pinholes, gaps, and other marks and visible distortions.
Line scanners can verify the dimensions of each unit, and the location, size and shape of all outside and inside fabrications, including curves, ovals, rectangles and holes. This capability helps automate downstream sealing robots and other processes.
The FeneVision Line Scanner is a 400 dot-per-inch bar scanner available in lengths up to 10 feet. It has a resolution capability down to 0.1 millimeter or 0.004 inch: the width of an average human hair.
It can scan and detect defects on all surfaces of lites and IG in one pass. This is especially important in Europe, where 35 percent of IG units are triples. The scanner works with glass transmittance rates between 5 percent and 95 percent.
It also can read laser or other markings on the glass, and display these on the cell monitor, along with inspection results, for the operator. At rates up to 6,000 feet per minute, it processes glass within the usual cycle times, or faster than production flow.
Companies can use the FeneVision Line Scanner as a standalone unit, or integrate it with any ERP, production, optimization, quality or other system. It also records and archives all scans according to company requirements.
Before and after
Outgoing tempered quality was good before Intigral installed the line scanner, but as the person on the front lines when customers have issues, Negron has seen an improvement since adopting the technology.
Before Intigral installed the line scanner, operators had just a few seconds to inspect tempered glass for defects as each piece came out of the oven, Negron explains. Some operators, shifts and days were better than others. If an operator missed a flaw at the tempering oven, other associates sometimes caught the defect. Still, a small percentage of tempered lites with scratches, bubbles or other defects made it into finished units.
"The scanner has improved the consistency among operators across all shifts," Negron says. In-cell displays give Intigral's operators rack and slot number for loading. Before, they had to find and interpret the small type laser-marked on the glass. Negron says this feature allows operators to use the time between lites coming out of the oven to look at the quality of the lite instead of for the rack and slot number. "This frees the operator to add value in other ways," she explains.
Intigral makes IG for a large number of customers with a variety of product configurations, so the ability to adjust scan criteria is critical also. "We're in the just-in-time mass customization business," she says. "The possible product configurations are endless. This technology significantly reduces the need for human intervention."
At Intigral, remakes are automatically triggered if a lite is rejected. Information on each unit is captured in a database as well. This enables staff to look for trends that might indicate a change in process is necessary.