End-Of-Line Welding Mask Testing
With 3M - Science Applied to Life
3M developed a welding mask that supplies users with filtered air when being used. Fans for this product required testing to ensure they provide effective and stable airflow. Tests had to be reliable with emphasis on preventing leaks while maintaining pressure and flow. Air temperature was also controlled.
ADDQ provided an automatic test solution which could connect airflow from the product without leaks and provide stable conditions. All data was saved to a database for future reference.
This test system tested our manufacturing and mechanical expertise. It needed to fulfill specific requirements to be approved for production use. This included:
That the test system provides a consistent supply of airflow at different temperatures and pressures to the UUT
It prevents sensors from becoming contaminated, ensuring that the fan is providing purified air and does not leak from any connection points
Supplies power to the unit and activates push buttons when required
Uses a touchscreen interface which gives operators access to various editable parameters
Uses cameras to inspect LEDs visible on the product
Includes 2-pole emergency stop buttons
Has a comprehensive warranty period
All manual workstations must have a good ergonomic design, and be mounted on height adjustable desks
Label printing for the product
Barcode scanning and parsing capability - standard for all our systems
CE marked equipment- standard for all our systems
Security features including a login/timeout function - standard for all our systems
A document pack containing wiring diagrams, bill of materials, manuals and other documents - standard for all our systems
To ensure an air tight seal, we worked closely with our partner Nolek to design an automatic nozzle connection point. The test system automatically connects flow and pressure meters to the UUT during testing using a mechanical actuator design. It also connects to supply power and establish commutation with the unit. Finally it switches mechanical buttons on the surface of the unit. All of this is completed as part of the normal test sequence.
Aside from the mechanical challenges, 3M also has high software expectations. Our software platform QATS, allows us to quickly develop software with a lot of industry standard features. Capabilities such as login accounts, barcode scanning, sequential/parallel testing and GUIs are inside of the the platform by standard. This significantly reduces the time needed to develop test systems.
"This project combines our range of skills in measurement and control systems - including managing air flow, pressure, temperature, current, voltage and image analysis. We're really impressed with the result!"
Mats Backlund, CEO
Another way we reduce time to market when developing systems, is our reliance on a hardware platform. We use high quality, modular hardware that can be customized for different types of data collection. As the base hardware is the same (but can have different modules), we can reuse code bases between projects and create reusable hardware interfaces. A great example of this is the CompactDAQ product from NI - which was used in this project.
When delivering systems to our customers, we provide a document pack which contains an operator manual, test specification and hardware manuals. We also CE mark our systems (alongside the needed documentation). Operator safety is the most important concern when working with high voltage electronics or moving components. With our systems, you can sit conformable knowing they are well-tested before launch.
3M received a test system which was reliable, safe for operators to use and conducted tests automatically.
This EOL System is currently in use to produce welding masks on a large scale.
See more about what 3M do here.