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High accuracy error detection in curved (prismatic) surfaces at high manufacturing speed

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DEEPVIEW (High accuracy error detection in curved (prismatic) surfaces at high manufacturing speed)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-04-30

A tube is a prismatic component designed to carry fluids from one location to another. Tubes are used for a wide range of applications as cooling, lubrication, braking or energy transmission systems, and are applied in a wide range of industries.
Today, unexpected leaking tube assemblies are a risk to personal health and safety and there are many environmental issues associated with unwanted emissions. They can also be very costly in the form of lost production due to nonconforming product. Industrial philosophy of preventative testing that virtually eliminates any unpleasant surprises to carefully manage planned maintenance, is at stake. State of the art precision test equipment operated by experienced personnel, does not fulfill the quality criteria that the sector is demanding.
In 2015, aimed thought a market-oriented demand, we have developed a novel defect identification pilot (hardware) based in staggered analysis of the reflected light (software) for prismatic elements.
Our solution will represent a breakthrough for non-only automotive, who will benefit of an affordable solution to monitor all their prismatic elements quality with the required accuracy without the need of expensive customization processes or personnel inspection (as it has to be done today, in order to reach quality standards).
We seized the opportunity offered by the SME instrument Phase1 to i) assess the necessary refinements/adaptations to fulfil clients requirements, ii) verify the exact demands of the different customer segments and define the right commercialization roadmap for each one, iii) broaden the study for other tube quality applications in which prismatic elements inspection is also crucial, iv) establish key partnerships for serial commercialization following the best “Value for Money” and, last but not least, iv) develop a detailed business plan.
The achievements can be categorized in four area:
1. Technical
Improvements in this area can be grouped in two categories, technical and product development. a) Product modularity has been defined, b) Technical gaps have been identified and addressed, c) calibration concept has been introduced.
Regarding product development, the achievements are: a) Identification of the required resources, b) Product development cost and production cost defined.
Two types of partners can be identified, commercial and technical. Commercial will share product manufacturing knowledge in order to define future performance. An agreement to adopt DeepView after phase II release has been signed.
Technical partners identified can help Tetralec create new services, increase customer loyalty and get better profit margins.
2. Regulatory and IPR.
There is no regulations that affects DeepView (excluding directive 2006/42/CE product safety regulation). Legal protection has been defined in two dimensions; a) product, that includes patents and intellectual propriety for software and b) geographical, defining the areas where the IP protection measures will preserve the company assets.
3. Business Plan
Competitors have been identified, and the performance of their products benchmarked against DeepView characteristics. DeepView product pricing and marketing positioning analyzed.
Other side markets have been identified; aircraft, space, medical, automotive, vessels, precision components. Automotive still is Tier-1 due to Tetralec contacts.
- Market potential has been monetized. Strategical markets have been defined. Product growth has been related to sales forecast.
- Market segments were also defined and analysed.
- Sales strategy for every market segment has been defined.
- Industry 4.0 infrastructure allows innovative economic cycles (pay-per-inspection, maintenance and calibration...).
- New services offers the possibility to trigger extended products or additional services based on the detailed data captured by DepView.
The results of phase I encourage the development of DeepView tool form surface quality control. In a short period of time, customers that include DeepView in its manufacturing process can expect an increase in the quality of its product and reduction of quality control cost. Just for these reason, the product is really innovative. Additionally, integrating DeepView into its production lines can give further benefits; these can be summarized in two categories; lower overhead cost (lower space floor needs for additional quality control machines, lower maintenance cost) and greater production flexibility, as DeepView has been designed to be fully integrated in the production machines, making redundant the need of additional quality control machines that complicate the layout of a new or redesigned production line.
Additionally, after talking extensively with potential customers, some trends appear clearly; a) government regulations and automotive manufacturers requirements are making compulsory the inspection of all the potential quality defects in every manufactured product in order to manufacture reliable and safe products; b) the need of integrating surface quality inspection in the early stages of production in the production machines (with no additional internal transport to quality control machines that compromise the production line speed and required additional space/manpower); c) the importance of adapting entire production system (and the quality control tools are part of the production system) to the requirements of a new product in the shortest period of time . DeepView gives a solution for these needs.
For Tetralec, DeepView can be the spring to transform the company from an industrial automation services company serving a determined geographical area into a manufacturing company selling its products to the major world markets. The experience in industrial automation is one of the key elements of project success. The projected growth in turnover, staff and margin will make the company evolve and focus in additional innovations that require its development in a bigger company.
For society and the demand point of view, enjoying safer and defect-free products without increasing its price is an objective by itself. This is especially important when the potential malfunction can produce serious injuries (brake or fuel tubes in automobiles).