INGUN Prüfmittel GmbH: Inline process monitoring with sensors by Kistler

Within the test equipment sector, INGUN Prüfmittelbau GmbH is a byword for the manufacture of test probes and systems that deliver absolute precision. To ensure that products meet the highest quality requirements, Kistler's high-precision sensors monitor all of INGUN's quality-relevant production processes.

With a workforce numbering 320 across the globe, INGUN Prüfmittelbau GmbH produces test probes as well as customized and non-customized test fixtures. In the electronics industry, they are used in devices that test the various functions of electronic printed circuit boards. Core elements of INGUN's production include spring-loaded test probes which contact the pcb and receive information via electrical pulses.

The electronics industry in a fast-moving market environment

Most of INGUN's customers operate in the electronics sector. As the industry that is spearheading the digitization of industrial production, its market environment moves at breathtaking speed. Demanding test requirements mean that INGUN must continuously develop its test systems and constantly launch new products. Thomas Schrodi, Head of Automation and Product Development at INGUN, confirms this: "The electronics industry is highly dynamic. So that we can continue to accommodate our customers' needs, we have to be flexible and fast, and we must ensure the utmost quality and precision in our production."

Force sensors and monitoring systems for absolute precision

Quality is also the focus of attention for Klaus König, who has worked on developing equipment and automated plant at INGUN for the last eight years. He points out that Kistler's sensors and systems play a key part in ensuring precise and reproducible testing of electronic components:

For the last 20 years, our company has opted for measurement technology from Kistler to measure spring force in our probes with maximum accuracy – and the results have been successful. We can only guarantee the quality of our high-precision test systems if the test probes work perfectly."

Klaus König, Head of prototype development at INGUN

 

Because product life cycles are becoming shorter, timeframes within the production process have also become much tighter. Schrodi notes: "Customers demand far shorter times-to-market nowadays. This is why the we have undertaken the plant manufacturing that is needed to produce the test probes in house for the last four years." By taking this step, INGUN has gained enormous flexibility. Thanks to this, new production plants can be set up far more quickly and with greater attention to individual details – a major advantage given the huge variety of products that the company offers its customers.

INGUN 14 currently has 14 automated plants to produce test probes. A new plant is added every year to cope with soaring demand. Production takes place in several stages. In the final stage, the test probes are tested with type 9217A or 9340A1 force sensors and a Kistler maXYmos monitoring system in each case. With the help of force-displacement monitoring, the functionality of each and every test probe is verified at the end of production. Integrating quality control into the automated manufacturing process ensures that bad parts are directly excluded from production.

To ensure 100% quality throughout, maXYmos BL is used with the Type 9340A1 sensor in the manual production process for small series. "This gives us the advantage of implementing one and the same quality testing process in our production operation. With maXYmos BL, we've found a system that is easy to program thanks to its intuitive user interface, and it tells us at a glance whether good or bad parts are being produced," Klaus König notes.

Innovative technology: paving the way to the future

40 million probes are manufactured each year on the production plants of this test equipment specialist. To achieve such high production volumes, all the machines have to run at extremely high speeds with precise synchronization. High utilization of plant capacity plays a key part in the commercial success of the entire enterprise. To increase the frequency even further, INGUN's long-term objective is to integrate quality assurance fully into the value process over the long term. Piezoelectric sensors from Kistler provide a crucial basis for this development. In these instruments, the force is applied to an extremely small area – so even in very confined spaces, they deliver high-precision measurements with excellent repeatability and high resolution. At the same time, these rugged sensors are protected against overloading even in case of high cycle rates – so they have longer lifetimes than other sensors.

Schrodi assesses the working relationship with Kistler as altogether positive: "The specialist advice and technical support we receive from Kistler have helped us enormously, time after time. Since we ourselves sell testing equipment, it is absolutely essential that our products are 100% tested to the very highest standards of quality. Kistler's full range of services provides us with a dependable basis to make sure this is so. And this much is clear: We can only maintain our number one market position in future by supplying products of outstanding quality."

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