Quality Magazine

NDT Applications: Montupet Maintains Quality

June 1, 2007
A Vector 2-D eddy current instrument from GE Inspection Technologies is used to inspect aluminum cylinder heads at Montupet in Northern Ireland. Source: GE Inspection Technologies


Two Vector 2-D eddy current inspection instruments from GE Inspection Technologies (Huerth, Germany) are helping Montupet (Livonia, MI) to maintain the high quality manufacturing standards involved in the production of aluminum cylinder heads at its Belfast factory. By using the Vector 2-Ds to provide 100% inspection, Montupet is ensuring that it adheres to its rigorous quality policy.

Montupet works in partnership with many of the major European and American automobile manufacturers and designs, develops and manufactures aluminum cylinder heads.

Cylinder heads at its Belfast factory are manufactured using the low pressure casting technique, which features very tight control of die filling to preserve the quality of the cast alloy. Following casting, the heads are “tubed” to debur all waterways and bores, before being heat-treated. They are supplied to the relevant automobile manufacturer with a 0.7-millimeter skin on the combustion face, and this is precisely removed by the customer before the head is fitted to the engine block.

It is important that this mating surface revealed by the final skimming is absolutely perfect. However, even the most precise of casting techniques carry a risk of shrinkage, so to ensure that any such flaws are detected before the heads are delivered to the customer, Montupet decided to investigate the use of eddy current techniques to detect any signs of sub-surface shrinkage or porosity. Consequently, they installed a Vector 2-D, on loan from Labquip, GE Inspection Technologies Northern Ireland distributor, to carry out preliminary trials.

This proved so successful that an inspection station was set up on the production line. The Vector 2-D has been calibrated to detect a 0.7-millimeter hole, 0.7 millimeter below the surface, to ensure that any cylinder heads delivered to the customer will be flaw-free when they are final skimmed. Setup is a simple affair with the instrument, as its single page setup menu eliminates the need for complicated setup procedures. Explaining his decision to opt for the Vector 2-D, Andy Chambers, process engineer at Montupet, says, “I particularly liked the instrument’s large screen, which makes it easy for the operator to come to a quick sentencing decision. The inspection process is now a very fast and reliable operation as the operator just needs to scan the probe over a template area on the casting. I also find the analogue outputs useful, as I can record these for inspection traceability, a feature which is particularly helpful for monitoring night shift operations.” In fact, the installation has been so successful that a second Vector 2-D has been installed on the production line to increase overall productivity.

Low frequency eddy current is ideal for this type of application, as sub-surface flaws in aluminum and similar structures can be detected at depths up to 10 millimeters. The Vector 2-D has been specifically designed to take advantage of this and provides on-line and off-line inspection in the automotive and metals sectors, where it is used to identify defects such as surface-breaking and sub-surface cracks in a wide variety of components, regardless of complex geometry. It features high probe sample refresh rates to allow accurate inspection at high line speeds, and it incorporates the latest filter technology to provide an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. As well as operating as a stand-alone unit, the Vector 2-D can also be easily integrated into automated systems, where its output can be used to activate a paint marking system, an alarm signal or an accept/reject gate, minimizing the need for human operation during the inspection process.



GE Inspection Technologies
+49 2233 6010
www.ge.com/inspectiontechnologies


Benefits

  • The Vector 2-D provides on-line and off-line inspection in the automotive and metals sectors, where it is used to identify defects such as surface-breaking and sub-surface cracks.
  • It has high probe sample refresh rates to allow accurate inspection at high line speeds and it incorporates the latest filter technology to provide an excellent signal-to-noise ratio.
  • It can also be easily integrated into automated systems, where its output can be used to activate a paint marking system, an alarm signal or an accept/reject gate.