These machines, referred to as examining machines are mechanical systems with little automation in the modern sense. They rely on a complex manual calibration and alignment procedure to accurately detect defects in the product being inspected. Being built in the 1960’s the examining machines did not meet current safety standards. Over the years, the client had modified these machines leading to excessive wastage and false positives in the inspection process. Operators were making judgement calls on what product was “acceptable” leading to inconsistencies in product quality. Because this is such a niche industry there are no options for off the shelf equipment that is suitable for the application or environment.
Stage 1: Conduct a feasibility study to analyze the current machines and production process. This is a high level study to determine capital planning budgets. The primary goal was to help the client determine whether to pursue the project and identify what we don’t know about the processes or systems involved. The output of stage 1 is a fixed fee proposal to complete detailed design in stage 2.
Stage 2: During this stage we worked with the project stakeholders on the client side including management, equipment operators, quality control and safety to detail the project scope and design criteria. Because of the dangerous nature of the product being inspected it was critical to have the client’s subject matter experts involved at all stages to ensure we weren’t going down design paths that were unworkable due to safety risks. Tusk had to create completely new methods to perform tasks that have industry standard solutions. The product our system was inspecting has properties that make many of these typical solutions dangerous or unworkable and we had to develop new technology, reinvent the wheel.