Land Rover has become the first UK vehicle manufacturer to introduce a new hand-held laser measurement solution into its manufacturing process, putting into development the GapGun3 portable laser gauge to enhance vehicle build process and geometric quality.
The Ford-owned manufacturer of sector-leading 4 x 4 vehicles has introduced GapGun into the manufacture of two of its latest models, the award-winning Land Rover Discovery 3 and the new Range Rover Sport, initially to measure gap and flush on finished vehicles where GapGun’s ability to function effectively without surface contact is a vital feature.
Designed and developed in the UK, GapGun3 can deliver significant enhancements in accuracy and consistency in applications where dimensional control is critical to product build and reliability. Using laser triangulation technology to take multiple calculations across complex geometries, it offers a step change improvement over other measurement devices, quantifying and recording complex dimensional calculations in just seconds. Tests have shown a tenfold increase in productivity over traditional mechanical measurement methods and delivers dramatic improvements in Repeatability and Reproducibility figures. The new technology has passed the preliminary measurement system analyses implemented at Land Rover.
GapGun3 will operate on a broad range of surfaces including unpolished and galvanised metals such as steel and aluminium, plastics, soft furnishings and glass and mirrored finishes. Once initial tests are completed, Land Rover has identified a range of opportunities for integrating GapGun further into the manufacturing process including measurements of body in white. Lightweight and easily portable, it’s also ideally suited to the measurement of seals and other components including dash and trim and for general quality assurance processes.
GapGun3™ is the latest development from Third Dimension Software Ltd, a UK engineering company specialising in the advancement of optical measurement devices, with a significant history of innovation within the aerospace industry. Founder Tim Monks, believes the unrivalled capabilities of GapGun3™ will have considerable impact both on the production line and in production quality management.
He confirms, “As we hoped, GapGun3™ is proving flexible and easy to use in the field. It has also been adopted as a means to managing quality control at multiple production sites, enabling measurements to be recorded locally and analysed and managed centrally.”
Easily adapted between hand-held and robot mounted operation, GapGun3™ has the functionality required to execute a wide range of measurement operations in just one single device, performing consistently without the need for frequent calibration. New wireless LAN communications provide up to six hours of cordless operation within 50 metres of the controller. Other enhancements include an improved rugged handle design, a 240 x 320 colour touch screen and full colour operating instructions using digital photos, images and CAD geometry. GapGun3™ is supported by enhanced statistical process control software enabling comprehensive planning, collection and analysis of measurement data.