Internationally recognised as a flexible and reliable company, Dimac Srl is committed to partnering with the fastener industry and continuing to help drive the journey to zero defects. Here, we speak to Massimo Agrati, general manager at Dimac, about the role of inspection and sorting technology in today’s fastener industry.
Why is inspection and sorting important in the fastener industry?
“Inspection has always been a crucial part of the fastener industry. However, through the demands of OEM customers, fastener companies are starting to realise that adopting efficient 100% inspection and sorting equipment is no longer an option, but a must. Fastener manufacturers must be able to produce parts with zero defects, as the production speed and quality demands depend on them. This is even more true for those fastener manufacturers committed to supplying very demanding segments.
For instance, in the automotive and aerospace industries – where the powertrain, the reliability, and the safety of an automobile or an aircraft, are vitally dependent on the quality of fasteners – the expectations are that every part is of the highest quality and integrity.
This approach requires the use of efficient 100% inspection and sorting equipment, guaranteeing a reliable supply of high-quality products to customers, as well as additional feedback to improve the overall production process. This helps maximise uptime, critical part safety and prevent potential rework, recall or liability.”
With quality becoming a vital part of the fastener production process, what are the benefits of using Dimac machines?
“We benefit from new technologies such as Internet of Things, augmented reality and robotics, plus we equip our machines with only the very best mechanic and electronic components, as well as the latest high resolution optical systems for any dimensional measurement. Our machines also incorporate the most advanced laser and eddy current devices to determine metallurgical defects.
At Dimac we want our systems to be high-end, turnkey, Plug & Play solutions and our technological effectiveness is consistent with the Lean Manufacturing Process – which is proved by the appreciation of all our customers’ worldwide.
Currently, we have more than 900 machines running 24/7 all over the world, inspecting and sorting billions of fasteners – ranging from bolts, screws, studs, cylindrical parts, nuts, washers, fittings, and bushings.
Dimac inspection solutions prevent costly malfunctions and down times, removing defective fasteners at source, before they enter a customer’s production. Each piece can be inspected for burrs, scratches, thread damage or head cracks. Dimensional measurement such as thread parameters, lengths, diameters, radii, straightness, and recess depth, can be confirmed with higher tolerance accuracy.
A total control like that, smooths the operations in any fastener business and provides guidelines to help quality management always select the right action at the right time.”
How has demand for your machines developed in the last five years?
“Demand has been constantly increasing as it has become more crucial for modern manufacturer to equip workshops with reliable top class instruments – helping to 100% qualify and certify the fasteners being produced on their production lines.
In the past it was considered acceptable to simply look at a fastener’s silhouette to see if it had a thread or gross thread damage. Now sorting machines need the ability to find any defect. Thread damage can be anywhere, and if you’re not looking at it from 360°, that burr will get you. Therefore, Dimac aptitude is not only to keep pace with the market requirements, but to anticipate them.”
How important is innovation to Dimac?
“A key part of innovation is to continuously invest in research and development. For instance, we have recently exhibited our latest innovation – SPC-ROBOT – at Fastener Fair Italy. This is revolutionary equipment, one of a kind, using collaborative robotics to allow the automatic control of SPC data collection and measurement – directly from the production floor. With all our innovations, we are committed to further enhancing and integrating our series with state of the art technology.
Any new technology that is implemented by Dimac is designed to be compatible with our complete series of machines, introduced from 2000 – 2010. We look to increase the performance levels in a leaner and faster perspective, boosting them to run more smoothly, snappily, efficiently and to be more user-friendly.
We have also introduced new control stations on the overall MCV series, such as the latest heat treatment inspection station with eddy current module, to sort parts by classes of hardness, or the mechanical recess drives inspection station, with interchangeable penetrating gauges, increasing the accuracy detection to <0.1mm.
We have also updated our vision software with a new release of MCVx, as well as developing and distributing new packages and suites, like Volume Plus and MCVx Remote.”
What are the challenges for inspection in the future?
“A significant growth in automotive industry and rising production of vehicles will logically involve the growth of the automotive fastener market, which means the exponential growth of the demand for continuous enhancement and development of superior quality fasteners.
Also, the introduction of lightweight materials such as aluminium body panels, engines, and manifolds, is making supplying zero defect parts a challenge when the fasteners are made of steel.
With the switch to aluminium bodies, you can’t weld as you did with traditional steel as it’s critical to ensure not only that steel fasteners don’t damage the aluminium or lightweight material they’re inserted in, but also that they’re flush, fastened properly, and not loose.
Finally, automation, robotics, augmented reality, as well as AI, are at the gates and we all must be ready for the 4.0 technological challenge. At Dimac we constantly look forward to technology developments and trends that lie ahead. An example is Dimac Acty, the new augmented reality application that gives more suppleness and efficiency to the services offered to Dimac customers.”
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 10 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.