March 14, 2011
InspectionXpert for Pro/ENGINEER Released
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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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. A
    ccording 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.

    Process Flow Chart for First Article Inspection per SAE AS9100-QMS013 (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., 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.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.

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