As the market leader in digital microscopy, KEYENCE Corporation has been recognized by R&D Magazine for its developments in the field of microscopy and awarded with an R&D 100 Award. Regarded by many as the “Oscars of Innovation”, the R&D 100 Awards acknowledge and showcase the top 100 technology products of the year.
The Problem: Tribology is one of the main focal points of scientific research at the Institute for Materials Science II. On the one hand, this research is comprised of the application-specific development of suitable tribo-materials for functionalisation of their surfaces by laser-assisted surface engineering methods. On the other hand, the research at IWK II focuses on developing models for characterizing the friction and wear behavior of material pairs.
The Problem: The automated tray loader will occasionally load a tray improperly on the conveyor track. This misloaded tray eventually crashes the production line creating downtime, machine damage and potential danger for operators.
The Problem: The operators switch between jobs to keep fresh, however some components are not always placed onto the assemblies. This can create several scenarios. The first is that the assembly damages parts within the automation equipment.
The Problem: Gauging was performed using hand gauges, contact-type gauges, or some other less accurate indirect methods. Having no standard developed practice, workers at the plant were not taking reliable measurements.
The Problem: Each medical cartridge in the nest must contain only one bead of blood. What was happening is the cartridge would get by with no bead in it or more than one. All of these beads are forced down a tube by air.
The Problem: The customer runs a continuous web of material through their printing presses and would like to run uninterrupted for a full 24 hours per day of manufacturing time. Ideally, the only downtime they expect is a manual change of rolled material when the previous roll is exhausted.
The Problem: It was determined that there were two major problems with the current method of measurement.
- First, the measurements being done by hand were very inconsistent. The material being measured was not rigid, and thus the measurements varied as the amount of force applied to the micrometer by the operators changed.
- Second, the process problems that caused the thickness variation occurred very quickly, and the current “spot checking” method uncovered the problem often times too late. Thousands of dollars worth of “out of spec” material had been produced, only to be scrapped.
The Problem: Sensing the diaphragm is difficult with conventional methods due to the change in color of the rubber and powder coating that can often occur. There is a noticeable height change when the gasket is present, but since the rubber is flexible it can vary from 2-5 millimeters off the base of the unit.
The Problem: Stand-alone style terminals have touch screen panels that act as the interface between the customer and the machine. They needed a way to alert the Kiosk when a customer approached the machine. This would enable the machine to “shut down” during periods of inactivity. This shutdown would have numerous cost savings through the life of the machine.
The Problem: Keyence was the first to develop LED micrometers. Compared with conventional laser systems, LEDs are typically too dark to achieve high-speed performance. Using a megapixel CCD receiver for high accuracy results in a further reduction of the amount of light per pixel. A number of different methods were tried, resulting in failure after failure.
The Problem: The customer could not stop the line due to the sintering process or the time needed to cure in the oven. Due to the time interval in between the measurements, sometimes good product had to be thrown out along with the bad, costing production time and money. Calipers could potentially damage the product and the readings were inconsistent from shift to shift.