This thesis summarises the design, development and installation of an automatic industrial in-line quality measuring and control system. The research project was initiated by a company manufacturing metallic balls for ball bearing assembly. The diameter tolerance of the components produced determines the value of the product and the market in which the company trades. Currently this company supplies the medium value market (automotive) and is striving to break into the higher value market (white goods). To do this, two aspects of the production system need be enhanced: 1. The frequency at which the product is sampled and 2. The level of precision measurement carried out during production. The project caters to both issues with the development of a closed-loop automated measurement system with machine control feedback. The overall objective of this project is to develop a prototype for a two-machine sampling operation and conduct tests and experiments to access the justification for company investment in an automatic sampling and measurement system. The thesis details the design and development of a component retrieval and transfer system, a component management system to normalize ball temperatures and feed the measurement device, an SPC based machine control system and the associated communication network. The design and proving of concepts, in a laboratory, is outlined. The building of the prototype, at the manufacturing plant, is described in detail; as is the rigorous testing and development of the prototype. Finally, the outcomes from this phase of the project are discussed and assessed and recommendations are made regarding the future development of the system.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2008|