What is Computer-Aided Inspection (CAI)?


Traditional quality inspection techniques using micrometers, calipers, gauges, optical comparators and Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) are slow processes that require a lot of pre-planning or programming before beginning the work. These methods also require contact with the tool or product and can be a redundant process of measuring and re-measuring to double check practical errors. Modern metrology allows for easy 3D scanning of a product to create digital replica of it stored as a point cloud. Complete computer-aided inspection (CAI) products have functions for registration of scans to the CAD using options such as best fit, datum-based, or 3-2-1 alignment.

CAI can support rapid inspection using color maps to show deviation across the whole part, but it can also be used to investigate the details using dimensioning across sections to compare against drawing callouts or Geometric Dimension and Tolerance (GD&T) to enable quality controls related to assemblies. Automation can be introduced to speed up repeated operations such as checking for consistency in multi-cavity molds or studying deviation trends using Statistical Process Control by picking out certain critical dimensions over time. Using CAI with modern metrology tools such as 3D scanners can easily retrofit into many current inspection plans. Generally customers find that it can either augment the current workforce or decrease manpower requirements for handling similar workloads.

Computer-Aided Inspection Services

computer aided inspection diagram

At Innovia3D, we can use CAI tools to perform whole part or detailed inspection and also support first article inspection (FAI) or production part approval process (PPAP) projects on critical parts. We can also perform GD&T evaluations using a sample of parts to validate multi-cavity repeatability or parts gathered over time to support an SPC study for tool or process drift. There is no inherent size limit to the subject part, and we have experience doing parts as small as automotive control buttons and as large as airplane structures.

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