When UltraSource, Inc. of Hollis, NH experienced a significant increase in parts production, they knew they needed faster and more reliable inspection.
UltraSource, a high quality supplier of thin-film circuit devices and related services, produces components for commercial and military markets using precision sputtering, photolithography, and dicing technologies. These parts are used in products such as cellular and wireless communications, microwave, fiber-optic, infrared, and laser components.
After looking into various optical inspection options, they came to the conclusion that a vision system would best meet their requirement to expand QC productivity while increasing their ability to gage fine tolerances.
Quality Assurance Manager Daniel Tessier evaluated several vision systems. “I found four potential vision systems that seemed to match my expectations,” Tessier remarked. “Based on the equipment's specifications, I decided to see demonstrations of each system to determine which one would best measure our products.”
Tessier found that two of the systems didn't have the necessary accuracy or precision needed for their application (tolerances of +/- 0.0005” or less). These two systems also had unacceptable repeatability limitations for their application.
Another major manufacturer's system met their requirements but was far too expensive -- their base system, with all the necessary features to achieve the required gage R&R requirements of 0.5 microns or less was almost twice the cost of the Starrett Galileo QC-5000 Automated Vision System that they selected.
Starrett Galileo Vision System Reduced Errors by 85%
Since the Starrett system met or exceeded the company's QC requirements, UltraSource purchased a system for the in-process and final inspection of thin-film circuit devices.
One benefit of using the Galileo system was that statistical data collection became possible on all devices inspected on the system. Cpk studies took hours to do manually. With Galileo, they could collect and study the data in minutes. Also, measured data could be instantly downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet to quickly see how, and if, process improvements were made.
“Galileo's software is easy to understand. Within days, my lead mechanical inspector and I were able to write and design complex programs for our highest volume customers. Additionally, the software is flexible enough that our lower volume, semi-repeat jobs can be programmed in a few hours,” said Tessier.
After training with the software, UltraSource took the productivity advantage one step further by developing a modified glass plate and a pallet system that made inspections faster for two of their high-volume customers' products.
With the combined productivity features of Galileo and the palletized inspection method, UltraSource was able to 100% dimensionally inspect product in 50% less time and collect 100% of data on all features measured by the machine. In addition, in-process inspections on their more complex devices that once took three to four hours to complete were now done in less than 90 minutes. Essentially, inspection duration was reduced to little more than the time needed to physically load and unload the pallets from the machine.
“Training was fast and excellent by Starrett personnel. The software is easy to use and with minimal training, an experienced mechanical inspector can be writing useful automated programs within a few days.
I would highly recommend this system to any company searching for a cost effective vision system that can inspect in both automated and manual modes. The Starrett system provides excellent value, outpacing both the low end and high-end competitors. For us, it easily paid for itself in saved inspection time alone,” said Tessier.