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Developing an automated 3D inspection solution for hot metal forging applications

03 February 2021

Anyone who works with metal pieces is familiar with the phenomenon of metal glowing red-hot when heated to a high temperature – and with the inspection challenges that this poses.

Production mistakes or flaws that may be easily spotted, even by a casual observer, when the metal is cool, may be impossible to detect while the metal is red-hot.

In addition, the extremely hot environmental conditions of the production process make real-time visual inspection almost impossible.

However, many industries – such as forging, heavy industry, and the automotive sector – require accurate inspection of metal pieces during the high-temperature manufacturing process, to ensure control of both dimensional accuracy and surface quality.

Without this inspection capability, mistakes are often not recognised until hours, or even days, after production, when the metal has returned to room temperature.

At this point, it is typically too late to correct the defects, so the workpiece has to be declared as scrap and needs to be melted down and reforged.

Not only is this inefficient and time-consuming, but it also wastes energy, and therefore increases fuel costs; the energy used to manufacture the scrap workpiece has been wasted, and the whole process needs to be carried out again – with no greater guarantee that the required quality will be achieved.

To overcome this challenge, SmartRay’s partner, system integrator HMP Technologie GmbH, began to investigate whether SmartRay’s modern, contactless 3D laser technology could be used to provide production-integrated measurement of high-temperature workpieces.

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA.

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