Third Dimension transforms inspection techniques for Jaguar Land Rover

Since 2005, Third Dimension has worked in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover to implement the GapGun to help develop the world renowned quality of their vehicles.

Alan Olifent, Dimensional & Process Verification Manager of JLR, said: “GapGun is the ideal tool for quickly and accurately measuring small gaps and profiles throughout the car. It is important that these dimensions are monitored closely.

“No-one wants to see poor fit, experience wind noise or rain coming in through a seal in any car and this applies doubly to our luxury vehicles. We have used it extensively in our new Evoque range where it has saved time and money throughout the production process.”

“GapGun is becoming more established throughout the automotive industry. JLR was one of the first companies to see its potential as an easily useable, highly accurate and efficient measuring device. We are working with their engineers to expand what GapGun is capable of.” John Kane, Chief Business Development Officer at Third Dimension comments.

“Third Dimension took care of the metrology so that I could focus on making cars to specification on schedule.”  Craig Moore, DMBI Manager at Jaguar Land Rover

Using GapGun’s proven laser triangulation technology, high precision measurements of seals, gaps, steps and radii are produced on a variety of features and surface finishes of a car during production.

With its high speed data collection, processing and ability to output measurement data such as dimensional profile and deviation from nominal, GapGun has significantly improved the rate of response to component variation. This in turn has added real value contributing to record car production volumes for JLR to meet the growing demand from emerging markets such as China.

Before GapGun, JLR, like other automotive manufacturers, had used manual tools such as “carrot” (taper) gauges and vernier callipers. However to take such measurements with the precision required for today’s competitive automotive market, manual tools are simply not up to the job. They are too difficult to calibrate, are reliant on the use of skilled operators and therefore compromise the reliability of the results.

One method still used widely in the automotive sector are CMM’s (Co-ordinate Measurement Machine) which measures the physical geometry of the car using probes attached to a moving axis.

However, the overall process consumes a lot of time and specialist resources, involving; a complex set-up in a controlled environment and removal of the car from the production line. In contrast, GapGun allows measurements to be taken on the production line with data collected in a third of the time.

Aside from speed and portability, GapGun’s unique interchangeable measurement heads are a key factor in its ability to take a wide variety of measurements. These range from small interior features such as gaps between the buttons on a steering wheel to complex seal gap sections between the door and body of the car.

The flexible nature of the GapGun meant it was quickly integrated within JLR’s existing system.  GapGun generates a customer specific reference for each measurement point on the car. As it measures, a text file of the data collected under each reference is transferred to a PC via GapGun’s WiFi. The results data is then fed into the JLR system and included in the overall metrology trend data report.

Third Dimension recognises that the success of implementing a new tool hinges on the acceptance of the operator.  Therefore, GapGun has been designed to be easy to use and incorporates some of the best ergonomics on the market.

Operators at JLR favour the clip on battery which allows complete portability, for example to reach high measurement points on 4×4 vehicles, where measurement data is stored internally and later downloadable to a PC.

Additionally, audible and visual indicators such as the onscreen compass and green LED’s ensure optimal positioning of the GapGun relevant to the part. This allows the shop floor operator to understand measurement conditions instantly. As a combined result, training of operators and integration of its use on the shop floor at JLR has been fast and simple.

GapGun Services package delivers not only the tools for the job but the skills, metrology expertise, experience and the resources of Third Dimension’s support team, managing JLR’s new model projects from start to finish, adding value at every stage.

GapGun Services package came about when JLR found that they had a lack of capability for putting together measurements plans and implementation strategies.

Third Dimension introduced a complete package which would cover measurement planning, bespoke software, hardware, tooling, and training, analysis of data and support for each project. Based around an approximate 12 month implementation phase, planning begins right from pre- production development to just before full production commences.

Third Dimension deals with some of the most progressive automotive manufacturers in the world. Through sustained research into new applications and the improvement of solutions, Third Dimension is continuing to deliver efficiency and quality gains through speedier recognition of errors on the production line and tighter dimensional control procedures.

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