Designing test system to measure process line loads
A sausage manufacturer was losing up to 10,000 pounds of sausage every time a link in the smokehouse conveyor system failed. 6D test engineers created a load cell by instrumenting a chain link with strain gages to measure loads on the chain throughout the smoking process. A data acquisition system specially packaged to withstand heat and corrosion was mounted in line behind the load cell to capture this data. Data allowed 6D engineers to immediately pinpoint the mechanism causing the problem and suggest design changes to improve the line performance.
The cause of an expensive production line problem was rapidly identified and remedied. An in-depth understanding of their process line loads will help this company prevent waste and future downtime.
Test system design & buildup
Data analysis & recommendations
Automated mapping for unimpeded line flow
An automotive supplier needed a way to automatically map possible points of interference between fixtures on a body coating line and the vehicle bodies that moved on a conveyor line past them, an activity that had previously been performed by line operators using tape measures. 6D engineers developed a test system that used photoelectric sensors to take measurements along the line. A SoMat eDAQ system was installed inside the test body to process the data and helped to identify a list of locations where interference might occur. The test system also provides a method to check the potential effect of future changes in the paint booth configuration or construction.
Company now has a cost-effective, automated way to make measurements critical to maintaining unimpeded flow through a finishing process for existing car bodies. Tooling changes for new bodies can be evaluated before the new parts arrive.
Test system design installation
Evaluation of fitness-for-purpose
To address the problem of fatigue failures of internal heat exchangers in a large industrial pressure vessel, a 6D engineer worked with an international engineering team to develop a measurement and analysis strategy that evaluated the fitness-for-purpose of the current system under operating loads. The vessel system was instrumented, and critical load path strain responses to operating conditions were measured. The fitness-for-purpose evaluation showed very high levels of fatigue damage during normal operations and a short remaining fatigue life. After this evaluation, the client was able to initiate a redesign process before the system failed, using the measured loads as a baseline. The heavily damaged system was replaced during a controlled outage, minimizing disruption to the production schedule.
Instead of reacting to a catastrophic failure, the customer was able to plan for system replacement.