Here is why it is critical to incorporate advanced quality inspection equipment into your manufacturing processes. Article by ZEISS.
The manufacturing industry has changed dramatically in the last 40 years. Jamco Aerospace Inc. recognised these changes and realised how critical it is to incorporate advanced quality inspection equipment into their manufacturing processes to stay competitive. They use two scanning CMMs (coordinate measuring machines) from Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology (IMT) to ensure the precision of these processes every step of the way.
Jamco Aerospace is a manufacturer of complex, structural components typically used in the aerospace industry. Ninety-five percent of their orders come from the aerospace industry, with the remaining five percent coming from the ground transportation industry. The company is a full-service machining and airframe sub-assembly facility. Some of their larger customers include Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, and the US government.
In 2006 Jamco decided they needed more efficient quality inspection equipment to stay competitive in their industry and to comply with their recent ISO 9001/AS 9100, Rev. B certifications that require significant process documentation. Their touch-trigger CMM and manual gauges were no longer effective and the CMM’s software had also presented some programming challenges. They needed a new CMM that was comparable in size to their previous CMM but with better measuring technology.
“I have been involved in this business for over 40 years and the manufacturing base in the US has grown increasingly smaller and more competitive,” says Dr. Jack Lee, CEO of Jamco. “The scanning inspection technology is spreading fast and I believe the key is to improve quality throughout the entire manufacturing process, otherwise the final inspection is completely worthless.”
Technical Specification Fulfilled
After an in-depth review, Jamco decided that a Carl Zeiss CONTURA G2 10/21/6 VAST XXT RDS with scanning technology was the best fit for their inspections. The CONTURA G2 10/21/6 is robust and the right size for their parts. The VAST XXT RDS articulating probe is designed for measuring small features and lots of angles, and can reach 20,736 positions in 2.5 degree increments. The scanning technology allows them to get much more information in a shorter amount of time than with their previous touch-trigger CMM, a feature that brings down manufacturing costs by improving efficiency.
Typical parts for Jamco are structural bulkheads or fittings used in aircraft which they measure on the CONTURA G2 for in-process and final inspection. Parts are inspected on the CMM after any initial finishing processes, before moving on to turning or milling processes followed by a second inspection. A final inspection is done after all processes or assembly are completed. The increased efficiency resulted in more orders over the years although most of their parts require 100 percent inspection. As the number of parts and orders grew, the company knew it would need an additional CMM.
They liked the CONTURA system with the VAST XXT RDS articulating probe but wanted a larger machine to more efficiently handle larger aerospace parts such as bulkheads, longerons, ribs, webs and frames, while keeping the same CALYPSO software and ZEISS quality. In 2011 they purchased a large gantry CMM, an MMZ 20/50/15 which could not only measure larger parts, but also large lot sizes of smaller parts.
Jamco appreciates the simplicity and user-friendliness of CALYPSO software. “Once you know what to look for it is pretty straight forward,” says Ronald Lee, Quality Control Manager at Jamco. “If an operator is unsure how to set up a part, the software shows multiple part views to make the process easier. And programming from CAD models with CALYPSO is a lot easier due to the integrated assistant that helps you select the measuring references so there is no difficult code or text editing. This allows you to spend more time measuring than programming, unlike with our previous metrology software.”
The ZEISS systems have helped Jamco gain more customers with their improved quality inspection accuracy and efficiency. The CMMs also allow them reach their targeted tolerances that are all within 5 ten-thousandths of an inch. Their touch-trigger CMM collected about 100 points in 2 to 3 hours while the ZEISS scanning CMMs gather about 1000 points in just 1 to 2 minutes. Jamco currently measures approximately 30 parts a day. Typical parts are around 12 inches long and have a number of critical features requiring 30- 40 minute inspection programs. Efficiency is also increased because operators can multi-task while inspections are running. For larger orders of about 40 parts, they like to use the AutoRun feature so entire lots of parts can be inspected automatically.
The ZEISS systems have given Jamco the confidence in their ability to do more inspections and projects, and to measure bigger parts. The ZEISS MMZ machine effectively handles the larger parts, but it also inspects a pallet of smaller parts at once instead of having to do a series of measurements. “Quality assurance throughout all of our manufacturing processes has brought new confidence to us and our customers,” states Dr. Lee.
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