– How automating screw thread checking can save you time and money, and increase accuracy and throughput –
In a production line handling or producing high-value parts, it is vital that the quality of these parts is verified as part of the process. Traditionally, this process is completed by hand: quality control operatives using a hand-held thread checker to verify thread depth, crossed or missing thread, mis-sized thread, damage or swarf. Using this manual process is slow, subject to human error and doesn’t give feedback on the accuracy of the thread which can be used by quality control.
Screw thread checking can be automated using a SMAC linear/rotary actuator to precisely measure position, angle and distance. This data is monitored by the controller and compared to pass/fail parameters to identify and reject faulty parts. It can also be interpreted and fed back to a database for a complete Quality Control history. The identification of faulty parts can be used in an automatic rejection process in the production line.
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To carry out the checking procedure, SMAC’s unique softland routine is employed to find the part and lands with a controlled, low force so as not to damage the gauge. While maintaining a low contact force, the actuator the rotates anticlockwise until the thread gauge drops into the thread. This is indicated by a sharp change in linear position. It then rotates clockwise at a pre-determined torque, therefore driving the gauge into the thread. An over-torque situation indicates a fault such as crossed thread, insufficient thread depth or excessive debris.
This technology has been successfully used in the production of car parts, high-value metal parts and in high-volume plastics. The results are consistently accurate, fast and have instant feedback for verification.