Quality control takes-off at Hill Helicopters

The recent installation of an AccretechSurfcom NEX240 DX-13 surface and contour measuring machine at the Staffordshire facility of Hill Helicopters illustrates the advantages that aerospace manufacturers gain when they are able to achieve rapid, high-precision inspection results.

Mark Webb, lead production engineer at Hill Helicopters, says: “Our literature describes our new HX50 helicopter as delivering a whole new experience in safety, performance, adventure, comfort and elegance. It isn’t a coincident that ‘safety’ comes first on this list of attributes. To ensure the highest safety standards we oversee a rigorous company-wide quality regime. In addition to employing skilled quality personnel, we invest in the best available inspection equipment.

“After searching for a high-precision, rapid-acting surface and contour measuring instrument, we concluded that the Accretech machine best met our demanding accuracy and efficiency standards,” continues Webb.“During the development and testing of our components,the new Accretech machine will be used by our skilled machinists and our production and quality engineers. Then, when we move into full production, we plan to purchase further Surfcom NEX machines for use on our shopfloor. Given the Surfcom NEX’s ability to provide high-precision surface and contour measuring results within production environments, it will be ideal for inspecting components throughout our production runs and for generating and archiving FAIRs [first article inspection reports].”

As each HX50helicopter has 38 different high-precision bearings, the Surfcom NEX machines will inspect the critical surface and contour specifications.

“The impressive operational speed and ease-of-use of our first Surfcom NEX and that of our planned additional models means that we’ll be able to keep pace with our high-precision surface and contour inspection needs as our production volumes continue to grow,” says Webb.
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