Silent Drawers

Manufacturer of furniture fittings optimizes quality inspection of plastic parts

Modern kitchens feature intelligent drawers. They close quietly and open when you touch them. To ensure that these systems work properly, Austrian manufacturer, GRASS, ensures the quality of its products with measuring technology from Carl Zeiss. Since the introduction of the O-INSPECT optical-contact measuring machine, the company receives initial sample test reports now in just half the time.

The challenge: small and sensitive parts

The greatest challenge in quality inspection at GRASS is the small and sensitive plastic parts used in the drawer systems. Before such parts enter volume production, the company generates a prototype test report. Up to 420 different dimensions have to be checked on a single part. The contact coordinate measuring machine that GRASS has been using for more than 10 years was no longer enough. Plastic is so sensitive that it can be deformed through contact with the stylus, thus falsifying the measuring result. Recently, the company used a variety of measuring equipment, including traditional gauges and height gauges. Prototype test reports took up to two weeks.

Solution: optical and contact in one system

To speed up this process and to improve the quality of the results, GRASS invested in an O-INSPECT optical-contact measuring machine in 2008. This system enables operators to easily switch between traditional contact scanning and optical measurement. Now it is possible to inspect all dimensions with one measuring machine, even very small boreholes with a diameter of just 0.6 micrometers. These were simply too small for the styli on the existing coordinate measuring machine; but size is no longer important with optical measurements.

Benefit: expenses cut in half

As a pilot customer, GRASS played a key role in the development of O-INSPECT. The system has been in operation at the company's site in Höchst, Austria, since early 2009. For Markus Ehgartner, Head of Operational Quality Management at GRASS, the investment was well worth the money: "Instead of two weeks, we now only need five days for the initial sampling of a new part." His employees also benefit from CALYPSO software which automatically captures every dimension and shows the measuring technicians at a glance what they need to know to analyze the part. GRASS sees itself well-equipped to meet the increasing demand for intelligent drawer systems.

About the company

Headquartered in Höchst, Austria, GRASS GmbH has been one of the world's leading manufacturers of furniture fixtures and processing machines for over 60 years. Guide and hinge systems from GRASS are used in the furniture of the well-known manufacturers such as Miele and LEICHT. "Every piece of furniture has a fantastic secret." This is how Austrian manufacturer GRASS describes its passion: moving systems for maximum convenience. Precision and quality are the end all, be all - in production and in measuring technology.