Winbro precision decision: Mitutoyo

Winbro Group Technologies (WGT) is a designer and manufacturer of high-technology machines that produce holes and forms in components used in the most demanding parts of aero and industrial gas turbines, as well as in high-precision applications in the semiconductor, fuel cell and medical sectors.

Given the nature of the demanding industries served by Shepshed-based Winbro, the quality of its products and services are of paramount importance. In addition to frequently updating staff skills in this vital area, the business invests in advanced inspection equipment, including Mitutoyo CMMs. The most recent addition to Winbro’s Mitutoyo CMM collection is a state-of-the-art Crysta-Apex V.

Dr Alan Duffield, Winbro Group business development manager, explains the purchase and use of the group’s CMMs. “Since we first started using Mitutoyo CMMs in 2014, we’ve enjoyed outstanding service from each of the machines, alongside excellent back-up from Mitutoyo UK. Therefore, when the need arose to increase our inspection capacity further, we again contacted Mitutoyo. We were pleasantly surprised to see the impressive technical developments in areas such as accuracy, performance, speed and versatility, made in the company’s recently launched Crysta-Apex V models. As it suited the size range of the parts we manufacture, we placed an order for a CRYSTA-Apex V CMM with a capacity of 500 x 700 x 400 mm.

“Following trouble-free installation and operator training, the new Mitutoyo CMM is now making a major contribution to our important quality control work,” he continues. “In addition to accurately measuring one-off parts, our operators are able to load multiple parts on to the new CMM, recall pre-written programs and instigate fast, fully-automatic, CNC inspection routines. As well as providing the levels of precision that we need, the speed of inspection and flexibility of our Crysta-Apex V CMM has increased our measurement efficiency levels.”

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Getting the most out of data

According to a report from Seagate Technology, about 68% of data available to enterprises goes unleveraged. Data can be a valuable resource, particularly in manufacturing, so by considering how they collect, store and interpret data, manufacturers can use this resource to its full potential.

Unlike manual methods, automated data collection enables anyone in the business to quickly access real-time data in the same format across all systems, saving time and allowing internal and stakeholder communications to run smoothly.

By using a fully traceable, automated data collection system, manufacturers have a centralised data collection point that they can use to streamline traditionally time-consuming reporting processes. For example, by using software such as Sempre Group’s High QA Inspection Manager, engineers can complete a ballooned drawing and populate a first article inspection (FAI) report in one click. Automated reporting and data collection allows manufacturers to get the most out of their workforce by moving them away from repetitive work and into more skilled processes that require human intervention.

As well as proving QA, manufacturers can use data to gain real insight into their manufacturing and quality processes, reviewing productivity and identifying areas for improvement. For example, if operators notice that a few parts are faulty, they can use the report to discover when the fault occurred and resolve the issue proactively, making changes that will prevent further faults. Over time, this will decrease the number of defective products, reduce material waste and improve productivity so that customers can receive parts sooner.

Manufacturers can also use software and data to make proactive changes on the shop floor during production. Reaction Plan Manager, for example, is an automated instruction-based software that analyses measurement data, calculates offset and provides tool correction instructions. For example, if a part does not meet specification, the software will instruct the operator about how to adjust the machine and correct the issue.

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High-performance 3D tool measurement

Walter Ewag UK has announced a step change in the fully automatic measurement and digitisation of cutting tools with the launch of the Walter 3D laser sensor. The new laser sensor enables the Walter Helicheck Pro and Plus tool measurement machines to scan with four times the resolution than previously possible and to process that data four times faster. Suitable for inspecting high-performance cutters as used in industries including automotive, aerospace and medical, where cutting edge geometry, pitch and spiral pitch vary widely, the 3D sensor could replace two separate machines traditionally used for measuring such tools – perhaps a combination of conventional and laser checking.

Available as an option on the Helicheck Pro and Plus machines and their corresponding ‘Long’ versions – which can accommodate tools up to 80 mm diameter and 605 mm long – the 3D sensor has swivel angle ranges from -55° to 90°, thus also enabling the complete scan of indexable inserts.

Easily and quickly programmed using wizard routines, with resulting short set-up times, the 3D sensor effectively ‘visualises’ the workpiece as a point cloud (in differing formats) and enables various measurements to be undertaken on the 3D image. When the resulting image is ‘placed’ on the tool’s 3D design drawings, or a master part, any deviations are clearly visible (via the integrated 3D viewer) as 3D comparisons of point cloud and target model, including surface reconstruction.

The result, says Walter Ewag, is tool measurement that has never been more accurate or faster.

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Creaform partners with QFP

Creaform and QFP, an Italian metrology company, have announced a strategic partnership to further deploy automated quality control solutions for the European manufacturing industry. QFP carries out its operations from facilities in Padua and Spoleto, and is able to offer its expertise to customers all over Europe.

The agreement signed between Creaform and QFP defines the latter as Creaform’s “strategic partner” for automation activities in Europe. This brings added value to the customers of both companies as it increases the offer of automated QFP systems, and makes this technology available to even more Creaform users in Europe.

Starting from Creaform solutions for automated quality control applications, the R-Series 3D scanning solution, QFP will be able to adapt this standard product to customised applications. The QBox Evolution meets specific customer requirements. Modification of the layout and integration with production lines, as well as the introduction of additional axes, contour elements, control cameras, and automatic loading/unloading systems, complete the proposal.

“The satisfaction of those who successfully use our systems is the most powerful engine that pushes us to invest energy and resources to perfect our skills,” says Roberto Mazzetto director of sales and marketing at QFP. “Our expertise as an integrator and solution provider is what most distinguishes us from other companies in the sector, and sharing these pluses with a company that focuses on the same values is what we were looking for to help our customers and partners grow in a healthy and structured way.”

Stefan Hoheisel, director of global business development at Creaform, adds: “The collaboration with QFP brings the already strong proposition of Creaform’s 3D metrology tools, skills and experience to the next level.”

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Park upgrades measuring capacity

Stalybridge-based engineering company Park Engineering has significantly increased the size of parts it can machine and subsequently measure on a CMM. It follows the installation at the start of 2022 of two new machines, a Spanish-built Correa Fox 50 five-axis machining centre having a 5.0 x 3.25 x 1.6 m working envelope, nearly 16% larger than the company’s previous largest machine, and an Altera M 30.20.15 CMM with 3.0 x 2.0 x 1.5 m axis travels built by LK Metrology. Compared with the largest of three LK machines previously operated by Park Engineering, it offers twice the measuring volume.

Quality manager Will Reeves says: “The increase in speed and accuracy of the Altera M, which is around six times faster and 216% more accurate than the oldest of our previous CMMs, was a great selling point, but we were also delighted to have a larger capacity CMM with a smaller overall footprint. It’s down to the top-class LK machine design, incorporating the best of modern materials and technology. “

In day-to-day operation, the Altera M CMM supports the inspection of large parts with drawing tolerances of typically ±50 µm, but is sufficiently accurate to measure smaller parts down in the 10 µm region. Irrespective of tolerances, LK’s software application CAMIO with its user-friendly operator interface allows the generation of CNC programs either online or offline for the inspection of batch quantities, further reducing inspection time and cost, especially when CAD models are available.

“Across the broad spectrum of work packages, we have access to CAD models approximately 50-60% of the time, with the remainder being work to print,” says Reeves. “However, the provision of CAD models is something we are always encouraging our customers to provide, as it minimises the risk of incorrect data being entered due to human error during the programming process.”

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