Why the Automotive Industry Needs a Better Gap Measurement Tool

How well do the closures on your vehicles meet design standards?

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference. This is especially true for the automotive industry, where there are so many potential points of failure that high quality standards are a requirement at every turn. This is especially true when it comes to closures: doors, hoods, trucks, and windows—a smooth and secure latch is critical for buyers to have that sense of fine craftsmanship down to the finest detail.

And it’s not just the sense of perceived quality that is important. A door that latches poorly or that bounces back too much upon closure may rattle, produce excessive wind noise, or even provide poor insulation, and even fail to protect against environmental damage, leading to premature rusting or interior damage. When customers notice these warning signs, they’re right to feel wary about making a purchase, which is why having an effective gap measurement tool is so important.

However, many automotive gap measurement tools on the market aren’t meeting expectations. They’re providing results that are adequate, but not as accurate as they could be. Or they require multiple tests to gather enough usable data. We believe we can do better. Here are the features auto manufacturers should look for when considering a new gap measurement tool.

1. Fast and repeatable.

Automotive manufacturers have a lot of quality control tests to run, and a slow system can cause delays all up and down the line. While many older gap measurement tools take time to process data, the algorithms powering WiseGap 2.4 are lightweight and flexible. This leads to faster results that can be repeated reliably across many use cases.

Furthermore, instead of having to take an average of multiple data points, WiseGap 2.4 requires fewer overall data points to provide an accurate and reliable measurement.

2. Simple to place and use.

WiseGap 2.4 isn’t just quick to calculate results, it’s also easier to place and measure closures than many other tools on the market. As a wireless, sensor-controlled device, it replaces feeler gauges, clay, calipers and mechanical gauges, each of which require more time to place and adjust.

As a result, your workers can be more mobile on the factory floor. And because ease of use increases efficiency, they can spot test more models more effectively than with a system that required a more involved setup.

3. Operator invariant.

Consistency is one of the most important requirements of an accurate measurement tool. That doesn’t just mean consistency between tests, but consistency between operators. This can be a difficult factor to control for, as every operator will have a slightly different way of using a tool.

Nevertheless, gap measurement tools that can provide accurate results regardless of who runs the test should be the standard of quality control in the automotive industry. You wouldn’t accept a ruler that measured different lengths based on who was using it. Why expect less from your gap measurement tools?

4. Static and dynamic closure measurement.

Closure measurements must be able to track a range of variables in a variety of situations. These include static gap measurements, where the door is already closed, and dynamic closure measurements, that measure the force and bounce back of a door closing instance.

In an ideal door closing attempt, the driver or passenger should be able to push or pull the door closed with only a moderate amount of effort, and the door should create a satisfying seal that the user should be able to both see and hear. The WiseGap 2.4 measurement tool can determine the quality of the closure with only a single instance, so your workers don’t have to repeat the door closing effort to get an accurate measurement.

5. Accurate and quantifiable results.

This may sound obvious, but not every measurement tool is as good at measuring things as the next. Your measurement tools are limited by their capabilities. A ruler that can only measure to a sixteenth of an inch is not as accurate as one that can measure to within a sixty-fourth of an inch. And in instances where accuracy and precision are necessary for success, having a tool that can deliver better measurements can be the edge you need to get ahead.

Make sure your production matches your design standards.

We all know that the design we build using simulation software doesn’t always translate to reality as we intended. Manufacturing processes being what they are, it can be difficult to deliver a fully realized product that lives up to the standards of its design. And when there are as many parts involved as in the modern automobile, a single part measuring just a fraction of an inch outside the design specs can affect the overall quality of the vehicle.

This is what makes attention to detail so important. In an industry that lives or dies on subtle, often subconscious measures of quality, no aspect of a design can be left to chance.

That’s why we’ve poured so much of our own creative ingenuity into designing a measurement tool that can improve your ability to deliver automotive vehicles that signal quality and precision manufacturing, even in the subtlest ways.