Extensible CAD Technologies announced its new release of InspectionXpert for Pro/ENGINEER. InspectionXpert for Pro/ENGINEER is an inspection report automation and ballooning tool that extracts inspection characteristics from Pro/ENGINEER drawings and instantly exports them to inspection report forms. The new release features a completely redesigned interface and the ability to save inspection project data for later reuse or revision.
A few of the key improvements of InspectionXpert for Pro/ENGINEER include:
- Retooled InspectionXpert interface for better ease-of-use and project workflow
- Inspection project data and settings can now be saved for easy reuse or revision.
- Better control over the order and placement of inspection balloons
- Automate mapping of custom attributes and project properties to inspection report forms
- Refresh Project option to automatically identify and capture drawing changes
InspectionXpert for Pro/ENGINEER saves up to 97% of the time it takes to create a bubbled Pro/ENGINEER drawing and inspection report form, and because inspection project data can be saved, it’s incredibly fast and easy to handle drawing revisions. “We continue to expand the capabilities of our CAD-integrated versions of InspectionXpert to meet our client’s needs, both in functionality and ease of use,” explains President Jeff Cope. ”We’ve also added direct integration with Net-Inspect, and are providing ways to integrate with other quality systems such as CEBOS MQ1 that are helping our clients streamline their quality processes from end to end.”
The InspectionXpert product line eliminates the manual ballooning of inspection drawings and manual creation of inspection sheets for first article and in process inspections. InspectionXpert integrates with popular CAD programs including Solid Edge, CATIA, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks, and InspectionXpert First Article works with PDF and TIFF file formats.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Inspection via methods employing software has really come into its own during the past few years, both by companies specializing in developing inspection software, as well as software vendors coming at it from a slightly different direction, such as reverse engineering. Historically, inspection has been all about quality and performed as a function of an organization’s comprehensive quality assurance/management effort. Also historically, first article inspection has been a time-consuming process (especially for geometrically complex parts, such as turbines) because it was such a painstakingly physical measuring process. That, however, has changed with the advent of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and specialized first article inspection software that runs in conjunction with the device.
Specifically, first article inspection is used to improve product quality and improve the overall effectiveness of a company’s overall quality management program.
A company with a long history of commitment to quality is St. Vrain Manufacturing Inc. (Longmont, CO), a precision shop specializing in prototype, tooling, short run, and production machine work. According to the company, the objective of first article inspection is to verify that all applicable specifications and requirements pertaining to customer product are satisfied at the completion of the associated process on the first part. Approval to run additional parts with the process being monitored will be given when first article inspection indicates all contract requirements have satisfied. Additionally, the objective of the first article inspection procedure shall be to ensure that basic requirements are established and maintained as required by customer contract specific to a company’s responsibility to provide control over the process, provide objective evidence of product conformance to specification and continued effectiveness of the quality management system.
The result of the first article inspection process is objective evidence the manufacturing process is capable of manufacturing conforming product before additional products are manufactured with the process being monitored.
Below is a typical first article inspection workflow provided by St. Vrain Manufacturing Inc.
The evolution of first article inspection brings us to Extensible CAD, developers of InspectionXpert. Available as a standalone product, as well as the ability to work with several CAD packages (including SolidWorks, AutoCAD, CATIA, Solid Edge, and now Pro/ENGINEER), InspectionXpert lets you can generate a quality inspection sheet from a CAD or scanned drawing (via optical character recognition (OCR)). InspectionXpert captures horizontal and vertical dimensions, split dimensions and GD&T feature control frames.
Probably the biggest benefit to the InspectionXpert product line is that it virtually eliminates manual ballooning of inspection drawings and manual creation of inspection sheets for first article and in-process inspections.
In a nutshell, InspectionXpert is inspection report automation and ballooning software that helps generate inspection report forms and ballooned inspection drawings relatively quickly and accurately.
InspectionXpert integrated into CAD packages provides a single-window interface in the CAD environment with the familiar interface of your CAD package. InspectionXpert's Characteristic Tree displays dimensions, geometric tolerances, notes, hole callouts, weld and surface finish symbols extracted directly from CAD drawings.
With ballooning options, you can change the shape, size, color, and location of balloons. Inspection balloons are added to a separate layer on CAD drawings.
You can also set default tolerances by range or by precision for length and angular dimensions when an explicit tolerance is not specified and save them to your inspection project settings.
Inspection characteristic data is saved in CAD drawing files so when your drawing changes you can create a new ballooned drawing and inspection sheet.
Because InspectionXpert’s reports are Excel-based, designing inspection report templates is quite versatile. Macros, charts, pivot tables, formulas, conditional formatting and more can all be employed to create useful reports.
According to the company, the most dramatic savings are the time-savings that are achieved by reducing the manual processes often associated with creating ballooned inspection drawings and inspection sheets. Extensible CAD says that companies implementing InspectionXpert have achieved 100% return on investment in less than a month. If true, that’s pretty impressive.
So, while inspection may not be the most exotic part of the product development process, it is, nonetheless, one of the most vital for producing consistent and quality products. Software and digital methods have vastly improved inspection methods, workflows, repeatability, and results for the better, and will only continue to do so.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
MCADCafe.com’s VideoNews Brings Depth and Clarity to Press Releases
MCADCafe.com, a targeted web site addressing the informational needs of mechanical engineers, designers, and manufacturers has taken news to the next level by embedding video interviews with the people behind the news into its press releases.
David Heller, President of IBSystems Inc., MCADCafe’s parent company said; “By leveraging the power of remote video we are now able to interview the people behind the news, no matter where in the world they are, and embed these video interviews into our press releases to give our audience an in-depth learning experience.”
Today a typical press release is tightly formulated and just skims the surface. By including video interviews MCADCafe’s VideoNews breaks the mold by drilling down and adding details and clarity to deliver an immersive experience that’s just not possible with the printed word alone.
To leverage the power of social media VideoNews interview is also posted on YouTube, VodPod, and Facebook to broaden its reach and impact.
For More Information please contact:
VideoNews Managing Director
Football helmet Maker Whips Product Line Into Shape with ReverseEngineering.com and SolidWorks Software
Too often, these are mutually exclusive options, but not in the case of the world’s leading football helmets and faceguards. Three out of four pro football players wear Schutt Sports gear. The company’s Ion 4D, Schutt AiR XP and DNA Pro+ are the world’s only helmets to feature advanced TPU Cushioning—the material used in US fighter pilot and paratrooper helmets. Safe and cool, these helmets protect heads and look good doing it. Hardly spherical, a football helmet has a complex set of curves to optimize safety, fit, performance, and eye appeal. Adding to this complexity are cooling vents. Second, Schutt’s engineering documents were trapped in static 2D files, presenting a major productivity hurdle for engineers used to the speed and power of their 3D modeling software from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. The traditional method for converting products with complex shapes into 3D models is using calipers, tape measures, and micrometers to get measurements; plugging the dimensions into spreadsheets; and keying these dimensions into CAD models. Accuracy requires a lot of measurements, high-level spatial abilities, specialized engineering expertise, many professional staff hours, and a lot of luck.
Schutt engineers determined that digital scanning was the best solution. The company purchased an affordable Desktop 3D coordinate measurement machine (CMM) digitizer from FARO Technologies—essentially a wand you run over the contours of an object to capture the surface data. This solution removed the complexity of extrapolating discrete measurements into complex surface shapes. Digitization tools, however, typically create an ASCII point cloud of x, y, and z geometric data. In order to import it the data into CAD software, it’s converted into the industry-standard IGES data exchange format. That file is then converted, by a second IGES translator, into the CAD software’s native file format. This multistep translation into and out of IGES is only as reliable as the software code in the translators. Too often, errors pile up over several conversions, and features that are scanned become corrupted before they reach the CAD model.
Schutt discovered ReverseEngineering.com, whose reverse-engineering product can take a point cloud from a digitizer in real time and convert it directly into a native parametric CAD model, in this case a SolidWorks SLDPRT file. ReverseEngineering.com transforms SolidWorks software into a digitizing platform, accurately conveying points, open lines, closed lines, open splines, closed splines, circles, arcs, rectangles, and more. Schutt also uses ReverseEngineering.com’s software for inspection.
Hexagon Metrology enters into Cooperation Agreement with GE
Hexagon Metrology entered into a commercial cooperation agreement with GE Measurement & Control Solutions. This collaboration will see the first computed tomography (CT) system introduced into Hexagon Metrology’s key industry segments within the next few months. GE sees the collaboration as an ideal match, marrying its expertise as a technology leader in industrial and healthcare computed tomography with Hexagon Metrology’s strong presence in a wide range of industrial sectors, its metrology know-how and its market-leading software. Measurement & Control Solutions is part of GE Energy Services and is a leading innovator in advanced, sensor-based measurement, non-destructive testing and inspection and condition monitoring, delivering accuracy, productivity and safety to a wide range of industries, including oil & gas, power generation, aerospace, transportation and healthcare.
KeyCreator 2011 Released
Kubotek USA has officially released its latest version of 3D Direct CAD software: KeyCreator 2011. KeyCreator 2011 now supports 64-bit architecture, new and improved dynamic editing and a fully re-engineered IGES translator that imports files quicker and more accurately than previous KeyCreator versions, as well as in comparison to a widely used History-Based modeling program. With the 64-bit version, KeyCreator 2011 can work with more data and larger files giving users even more productivity power, especially with today’s complex assemblies. KeyCreator 2011 file size is only limited by the amount of memory available on the PC. KeyCreator imports the most common CAD file types and works with them as if they were created within KeyCreator. Based on Kubotek’s market surveys, IGES is one of the most widely used file formats for KeyCreator customers where non-native data is shared between companies. Updating the outdated IGES format, therefore, became high priority for Kubotek customers. Importing IGES files gained significant speed with new technology developed solely by Kubotek USA. According to the company, the re-engineered IGES technology provides better overall accuracy and better stitching and healing to produce solids compared to other IGES products on the market. In addition to supporting IGES modeling, KeyCreator 2011 also provides IGES file detailing and Product Management Information (PMI), and even exports references as an assembly. New dynamic editing features include Dynamic Free Array and Linear Array functions to quickly copy and locate components and features throughout a model or assembly. These tools add ultimate flexibility for model transformations.
Tech Soft 3D Launches HOOPS 3D Exchange v4.0
Tech Soft 3D released HOOPS 3D Exchange. Companies can integrate this proven toolkit to develop applications that read product and assembly information from leading 3D CAD formats. Packed with format, feature and platform enhancements, the newest version responds to the growing demand for accurate and extensible data exchange throughout the industry. The result is broadened accessibility and functionality in HOOPS 3D Exchange v4.0, which now reads the most current versions of Siemens NX (7.5), SolidWorks (2010/2011,) and includes VDA- FS, (versions 1.0 and 2.0.) Also, the PRC file format at the core of HOOPS 3D Exchange can now be easily published into data-rich and secure PDF documents. Other key enhancements include:
- Markup definition (semantic PMI)
- Platform support for the Linux 32-bit system
- Incremental assembly file loading
- Re-tessellate functionality
- Curve and surface evaluators
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