Vehicle fit made smarter: how to select a flush and gap inspection device for today’s new design challenges

Car design has changed drastically over the last 20 years. With bolder concepts and the introduction of new materials, the fit and finish process has presented the automotive industry with new challenges.

Consumer tastes have also changed over the years, with heightened expectations for supreme quality and style. A new car must look good as well as meet their driving experience expectations.

Flush and gap has a direct influence on the perceived value of the final vehicle, as well as the overall performance. When fitting is done properly, the manufacturer can achieve higher aerodynamic performance and fuel efficiency, and a lower risk of air or water leaks, which affect cabin noise levels. Most of all, proper fitting of all components to the body of the vehicle results in a look that is just great!

Despite its importance to vehicle perceived quality, optimally designed flush and gap is hard to achieve. Dedicated flush and gap systems are critical to the vehicle development process. With so many offerings available, how do you choose the right device? Read this guide to learn how to select a flush and gap inspection device for today’s new design challenges.

1. Supporting vehicle development processes

Flush and gap may be noticeable at the final production stage but, from a manufacturing standpoint, the work begins much earlier. From vehicle design, through production and onto final assembly inspection, there are dedicated checks for flush and gap at each stage of the development process. The flush and gap solution needs to support the whole manufacturing process. From design, quality assurance fixtures, and different stations throughout the manufacturing process, it is important to use the same gap evaluation methodology. Supporting the development process with a single technology will prevent ‘finger pointing’ and instead drive the organization to quick resolution of issues.

2. Cross-platform implementation

Since the requirement from the instrument changes through the development process, one can ask: can a single instrument-type (or technology) support the whole process? Perhaps the proper question is: what technology is flexible enough to serve in different forms of implementation throughout the process?

A manual platform is great for auditing or quality room inspection, but would not be efficient for mass production. In order for a single technology to support the process from start to finish, three conditions must be met:

  1. Sensing technology should be automation-ready and robust enough to operate in production environment conditions
  2. The manufacturing workflow must be fully understood, enabling seamless integration of the process (from standalone cells to full integration in the production line)
  3. The tool’s software must allow for simple integration and operation at all stages of manufacturing

Offering fully automated flush and gap measurement, the CALIPRI C12 inline measurement systems support 100% inspection of car body assemblies with mounted closures and fenders both in the body shop and on the final assembly line.

3. What you see vs. what you can measure

Gap areas, especially in the final vehicle, are not completely visible. This is the nature of an assembled product. With that in mind, how can you measure what you cannot see? When choosing a flush and gap device, look for the specifications on the amount of data that the device can collect. Some solutions cannot capture data from the actual edge but will calculate based on extrapolation. The CALIPRI C14 enables data collection beyond the radii, giving users the ability to capture more data and evaluate gap distance based on its true form. The more data collected on the actual gap, the more reliable the results will be. Less guesswork with mathematical extrapolation or estimation means more reliable data driving higher quality products!

4. Are all flush and gap areas similar?

Different gaps require different calculations. From different edges on part-to-part assembly to varying evaluation strategies for seal gaps – having the ability to calculate flush and gap based on your OEM standard is critical to the solution implementation. Having the ability to change the evaluation strategy to fit the task at hand along with analyzing the same data in different forms can provide meaningful insight to your process.

5. Different material and translucent areas

From sheet metal to carbon fiber, reflective to dull, and solid to translucent – these are challenges that every flush and gap device needs to meet in order to provide meaningful information. When evaluating a solution, put it to the test and make sure it helps you manufacture your product in a smarter way.

6. Trend and process analysis at your fingertips

Monitoring and optimizing production lines requires precise, real-time data. Database solutions for 3D measurement data need to be integrated into your network and can ideally be accessed directly at the measuring station. Adding an eMMA database solution to the CALIPRI inline measurement systems does exactly that.

eMMA collects all data from the CALIPRI measurement systems and displays trend and process analyses directly to the control monitor. On the measurement plan the trends are shown for each measurement point individually. Full integration in the plant network allows access to the trend graphs via web browser. This means in-depth, remote analysis of the data is possible at any time.

Accurate flush and gap inspection is essential for top vehicle performance and aesthetics. Learn more about our range of automotive flush and gap measurement solutions.

Automotive Gap and Flush measurement


  • Amir Grinboim

    Amir Grinboim is the Technical Program Manager for Integrated Solutions at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America. Grinboim has deep technical and engineering experience in the metrology space, specifically with white and blue light scanning systems. His international business experience includes sheet metal manufacturing, including automotive, aviation, and industrial moulding applications. Grinboim holds a degree from The Interdisciplinary Center in Business Administration and Information Technologies.

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