Manufacturing is just catching on to what bath soap companies have known for years – cleanliness sells product! In a never-ending quest for superior product and reliability, manufacturers, particularly in the automotive industry, are turning to the ISO 16232 standard to hold manufacturing practices to the same quality of engineering.
Technical Cleanliness standards are being applied to everything from drive train components to suspension and steering. Manufacturers have discovered that infrequently occurring metal objects can lead to component failure, costly repairs, and recalls.
Increasingly, major automotive companies have been requiring suppliers to provide cleanliness information. Now, in order to maintain or earn new contracts, suppliers need to meet or exceed cleanliness standards set by the manufacturer.
Although there are plenty of systems claiming to provide suppliers with cleanliness data, Leica has several easy to use and cost effective Technical Cleanliness Expert systems that provide suppliers with ISO 16232 cleanliness results.
Standard cleanliness procedure includes rinsing a part with a solvent and filtering the fluid through a 47mm diameter filter patch. The filter will catch inorganic material such as organic fiber, but it will also capture metallic debris. The metallic debris are concerning, depending on size they can either be insignificant or lead to component failure in a final product.
Scanning the filter paper with a microscope can identify the difference between organic and metallic objects using a polarizer. Since metallic objects are highly reflective, the software compares the polarized and non-polarized images to identify objects that are reflective (metallic) and non-reflective (organic).
Automation and routine save time, but they also significantly reduce user error. The Leica Cleanliness Expert system automates both hardware and software to make acquiring consistent conditions as simple as a few mouse clicks. With Leica systems, engineers can configure the image acquisition conditions and set the limits for cleanliness.
Once the system has been configured, users can log into the system with restricted access to settings and quickly work through the guided acquisition procedure. Generating consistent and accurate results has never been easier!
Reporting is also made easy and consistent with standard report templates – providing engineers and decision makers with the information they need in a familiar format.
In addition to providing engineers with XY size information, Leica also offers users the ability to provide Z data for the most detailed contaminant data. If a metal shaving is taller than it is wide, the motorized focus motor can capture an “extended depth of focus” image to calculate volume!
This feature could be the difference between failure in the quality lab or failure in the product. Measuring contaminants in 2D only provides half the information; 3D is required for the full picture.
One unique feature of the Leica Cleanliness Expert system is speed. The software will acquire both brightfield and polarized light images rapidly with a filter wheel and provide analysis results during acquisition. Therefore, if there are too many contaminants detected at 25% complete, the user can cancel the acquisition and report the results.
The high-speed filter wheel also means that the cleanliness scan happens more quickly. Other systems require manual polarizer switching leading to lost time and possible error. In a setting where results have to happen quickly and accurately for a shipment to leave the building, time equals money!
Upgrade with LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) to acquire real-time elemental analysis needed to move to the next step of the manufacturing process.
Leica offers a variety of configurations for Cleanliness Expert systems to meet just about any budget. The fully automated system, which is the pinnacle of speed, accuracy, and quality, may fit into the manufacturer’s budget, but it may not fit into the supplier’s budget.
However, the suppliers need to meet cleanliness to maintain and win new contracts – so Leica offers fully configurable semi-automated systems and manual systems to meet budget. At the entry level, a system can be configured with one of Leica’s digital microscopes!
There has never been a better time to have the experts at Nuhsbaum provide you with a system that meets your needs and your budget!
With over 40 years of experience in microscopy and a track record of delivering results for customers with cleanliness systems across the Midwest, the sales representatives and imaging specialists at Nuhsbaum are qualified and prepared to deliver results for your company.
Contact your representative to learn more about the Leica Cleanliness Expert system and how much you could save!