The Control exhibition gives carmakers the chance to get upclose and personal with quality management tools.
Undeniably one of the premier events in the quality assurance calendar, the 23rd Control International Trade Fair is scheduled to take place at the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre from 5-8 May, 2009 Previously held in Sinsheim, this marks only the second time the event will be held at the 560,000 sq ft Stuttgart centre. With the reported success of last year’s event, organisers will be hoping that attendance this year will top that of 2008, which saw almost 25,000 visitors examine the latest technology from 902 exhibitors.
A ‘must see’ stand for most visitors will be that of Swedish company Hexagon Metrology, the world’s largest industrial measurement group.
“The automotive industry is a very important market for us,” says company executive Birgit Albrecht. While the company is confident that many of the products it intends to showcase at Stuttgart will attract automotive buyers, Albrecht notes that Hexagon is keen to stress its credentials as a ‘full solution’ provider.
Hexagon anticipates that its main attraction at the next Control show will be the Leitz Micra coordinate measuring machine. Based around a miniaturized LSP X1 scanning probe system, the equipment unites accurate scanning of surfaces and profiles with exact single-point inspection.
The Leitz Micra also features an innovative electronic control unit, with a modular layout to facilitate ease of servicing and a light alloy frame, specially designed to provide added rigidity while optimising the balance between rigidity and weight. In this way, notes Hexagon, the highest possible accuracy and outstanding long-term stability are achieved.
GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies plans to showcase its new XL Go VideoProbe. Weighing only 1.73 kg, GE claims the XL Go is the most portable, lightweight, high resolution video borescope on the market.
Combining portability with performance, the unit delivers clear digital images on a system that has been designed from the ground up to meet inspection needs across a wide range of industry applications, offering true cordless operation packaged with a host of features typically found in systems three times as large. Unlike other video borescopes, says GE, the XL Go has no bulky base unit, no backpacks, no tethered scopes or power cords to get in the way of quality inspection work.
Renowned for the quality and breadth of its measurement and instrumentation range, Mitutoyo will highlight its recently released extended version of its ABS AT715 series linear scales, capable of measuring ranges of up to three meters. Intended to detect and display axial displacement of machine tools and measuring instruments to the highest levels of accuracy, the unit has been designed to be retrofitted into turning, milling and grinding machines. The extended lineup means that some 30 different models are now available, capable of measuring ranges between 100 and 3,000 millimetres.
A powerful statistical package is critical to the success of Six Sigma and other data-driven quality improvement programmes. Minitab’s software focuses on quality related analysis. Its intuitive interface, combined with a comprehensive collection of methods, has made it the package of choice for thousands of companies in more than 80 countries.
The latest version of the program is Minitab 15, which is said to contain nearly 50 enhancements, including a feature which allows users to manage all tools and discuments related to a project in a single file, making it easy to share, review and archive work.
New for Control is Quality Companion 3, which provides resources for project planning, design, and organization, as well as ‘soft’ tools, such as process mapping, brainstorming and reporting. Existing Minitab users will also want to try the Quality Companion Dashboard. This free utility aggregates and displays data across multiple project files, enabling users to track the progress and results of multiple projects.
Dakota manufactures industrial ultrasonic testing equipment for automotive and related industries. Commonly used to determine the thickness of a variety of materials by making contact with only one side of the test material, ultrasonic test equipment has the ability to detect very fine pits, flaws, and porosity in materials.
On display for the first time at Control is Dakota’s CMX multi-purpose material and coating thickness gauge, based on a new platform using the latest FPGA technology. The CMX gauge features auto probe recognition, auto temperature compensation and a standalone ‘coating only’ mode. Not only will the CMX simultaneously measure material and coating thickness, but will also report the finding of pits and flaws at the same time, even at a scan rate of 50 readings per second. The unit can also create and store 64 custom setups for common testing scenarios.