Verifying Specifications for Auto Parts and Components

How automotive suppliers and manufacturers can investigate and document efficiently with digital microscopy

Documentation of an automotive clutch friction surface with a digital microscope dvm6_auto_fig_teaser_jan_2022.jpg

During the development and production of automotive parts and components, whether by suppliers or the auto manufacturer, specifications must be met. This goal is important, because the specifications are critical for maintaining the performance standards and safe operation of automobiles and other vehicles during their lifetimes [1,2,3]. However, the demand for more efficient and cost-effective development and production of parts and components while still meeting or exceeding the ever-stricter quality standards is always increasing. This article explains how investigation and documentation of parts to determine conformity with specifications can be done easily and quickly with digital microscopy.

Why are digital microscopes relevant for the automotive industry?

Digital microscopes are optical microscopes without eyepieces which display the image directly on a monitor [4]. They enable suppliers and manufacturers to do investigation fast and share and communicate findings efficiently with each other, especially when current components are changed or new ones introduced.

They also facilitate the easy documentation of results and creation of reports which can be referred to at a later time if the need arises. Digital microscopes are versatile and can be used for the investigation of diverse materials, from bigger, less sophisticated parts, such as tires and interior panels, to smaller, more complex, multi-component parts like microelectronics [5].

There is also the ability to configure multiple user profiles for the operation of the same digital microscope by several users doing a variety of applications. In addition, standard analysis methods and report templates can be developed for the obtaining of comparable results no matter who does the work. These attributes of a digital microscope allow a very efficient workflow for investigation and documentation [6,7].

Investigation and documentation with the DVM6 digital microscope

Why are investigation and documentation efficient with the DVM6 microscope? For the following reasons:

  • Go quickly from an overview to fine detail due to powerful lateral (XY) image stitching and a simple way to change magnification over the entire range  (these videos on overview and mag change demonstrate how easy it is)
  • View a part from multiple perspectives thanks to the fast microscope head tilting and sample stage rotation  (to see how it is done, watch the video on tilting and rotation) [7]
  • Versatile illumination to see a part’s diverse characteristics using the fully integrated ring and coaxial light [5]
  • Do analysis of parts easily with the intuitive software for analysis
  • Save time with fast recall of imaging parameters (encoding) using automated tracking and storing
  • Users need little training and microscope experience, because of the intuitive microscope operation [7]

Auto parts examined

Clutch disc

The clutch disc of an automobile was examined with the DVM6. Below are images (going from overview to fine detail and analysis) of the friction surface and the splined hub of the disc.

Clutch friction surface

Clutch splined hub

Gear

The gear of an automobile engine was also imaged with the DVM6. Below are images (from overview to fine detail and analysis) of the gear and its teeth.

Automobile body metal plate

Finally, a metal plate from an automobile body covered with white paint was investigated with the DVM6. The images below (from overview to fine detail and analysis) are of the plate’s painted surface showing scratches.

Summary

The table below shows the advantages when doing auto parts investigation and documentation with the DVM6 due to its key features.

Advantage

DVM6 Feature

Fast Large Overview2D Imaging
(large to small field of view)
X-Y Stitching
Quick & Easy Magnification Change16:1 Zoom Optics

Low, Mid, High Mag Objectives
12x to 2,350x

Change Viewing Perspective RapidlyEucentric Tilting, ±60°Sample Rotation, ±180°
Fast 3D Models3D ImagingExtended Depth of Field
Versatile Contrast MethodsIntegrated Ring & Coaxial Light Illumination
Easy Use & Image AnalysisIntuitive LAS X Software

Conclusions

The results reported here for investigation of auto parts demonstrate that an efficient workflow can be achieved with the DVM6 digital microscope when confirming auto part specifications. Suppliers of automotive parts and components and auto manufacturers can use the DVM6 to easily check that the parts meet specifications in order to maintain performance and safety standards.

Users can go easily from seeing an overview to fine details and analyzing during documentation and investigation of auto parts with the DVM6 . This efficiency results from a convenient way to: 1) change magnification rapidly over the full range , 2) tilt and rotate , 3) use the versatile, integrated illumination , 4) do analysis with intuitive software , and 5) operate the microscope with little training.

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