We explain five basics of inline quality control in the milling process in metal or composite processing and how IIoT can help you with this. In this article you will find:
    • What is inline quality control
    • Successful inline quality monitoring using IIoT platforms
    • Benefits of Inline Quality Control Examples of inline quality control in the milling process
    • The portal for inline quality control in machining

What is Inline Quality Control?

Inline quality control describes the data-analytical (real-time) monitoring of production with regard to dimensions, material fluctuations, manufacturing errors, etc. It is characterized by the fact that it takes place within the process and not downstream, as is usually the case. With the help of special software and AI, it is also possible to make predictions about the quality (“predictive quality”).

Successful inline quality control using Industry 4.0 platforms

IIoT platforms make it possible to track production facilities, tools and workpieces at any time. Sensors and/or systems send measured values ​​to the platform. The system records all possible parameters via structure-borne noise, measured performance and other key figures – and thus also deviations.

Detect material deviations and cavities

Inline Quality Control is able to detect differences in hardness in the material or cavities (air inclusions in cast parts) as early as the production process. Normally, such anomalies are only noticed when components turn out to be unusable due to inferior quality. Sometimes there are complaints or warranty claims. Since all quality data from the manufacturing process is already available, subsequent measurement or examination of the products is no longer necessary. This saves one work step at the end of production and thus brings both a time and a financial advantage for companies. In the video, we use our IIoT platform CuttingEdge, which specializes in machining, to demonstrate how quality deviations in the material are displayed in the data visualizations (in German only).

What advantages does inline quality control offer companies with regard to the production process?

Products that are not in perfect condition are excluded from the production process at an early stage. Inline Quality Control thus prevents “scrap” from being processed further in further production steps. This allows companies to save costs and resources. Customers receive products of higher quality and warranty inquiries and complaints decrease. In the event of a complaint, the data can be used to prove whether the component left the factory in perfect condition.

Example of inline quality control in the milling process

An example of inline quality control is the research project “Inline production and quality control in the milling of metallic and CFRP products” (MAI ILQ2020 for short), which ended in 2021. As part of MAI ILQ2020, the project partners worked out how the quality in milling processes can be improved through the cross-company exchange of data. Digital twins (administration shells) of milling tools were created and enriched with process, geometry, type data etc. of their entire life cycle. Thanks to the secure, independent platform, whose range of functions is specifically tailored to the milling technology, each project partner retained sovereignty over their own data. The technological know-how of each partner thus remained protected. By exchanging the data and analyzing and processing it using machine learning, the companies involved hoped to be able to improve their products and reduce production costs.

CuttingEdge: The portal for inline quality control in machining

With the IIoT platform for machining, CuttingEdge, a commercial further development of the prototype used in the project is now available for all companies using this technology. The special community relies on a cross-company approach. This enables everyone involved along the value chain to benefit from the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0. Data always remains under the control of its creators and know-how remains protected.

Quick guide for your start with the IIoT

    • Eight-page practical guide for companies planning to get started with Industry 4.0 for their production
    • Definitions – What is Industry 4.0? And what IIoT?
    • What exactly is an IIoT platform?
    • How exactly can you benefit as a company and on what scale?
    • Where is the lever for optimization and savings?
    • How do you specifically approach the introduction of an Industry 4.0 platform?
    • Checklists for the most important considerations in advance and the top security criteria of a platform

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