QMT Features: November 2015
No compromise on quality
Safety critical ejector seats call for modern CMM technology

Headquartered in Higher Denham, some 30 miles north-west of London, Martin- Baker is the world’s longest established and most experienced manufacturer of aircraft ejection seats and related survival equipment. Given the safety critical nature of Martin-Baker’s products, they are manufactured to the highest standards of quality and reliability. Although numerous modern inspection and testing aids are used to ensure ‘as-designed’ performance, the mainstay of Martin-Baker’s inspection functions is its collection of Mitutoyo CNC Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs).

Since the first machines were installed almost twenty years ago they have benefited from both Mitutoyo hardware and software updates. Although these CMMs still perform well, mindful of technological advancements, the company’s oldest CMMs have now been replaced with Mitutoyo’s advanced Crysta Apex S9206 CMMs complete with scanning probe systems.

Darren Smith, Martin-Baker Quality Manager explained. “All Martin-Baker staff fully appreciate that the ejection seat may represent a crew member’s last chance to survive and that there can be no compromise on quality. Every facet of the safety system from initiation, escape path clearance, ejection sequencing, stabilisation, life support and parachute descent to final rescue, must work perfectly to safeguard a life. To help guarantee the quality of our products, we make regular purchases of?the best available inspection equipment and also invest in technical updates for our existing inspection aids.

“As our production levels continue to rise, component throughput in our busy inspection and goods inward departments has grown accordingly. Therefore it helps that, when compared to our older machines, besides having an enhanced accuracy specification, our new Crysta Apex S9206 CMMs perform quicker measuring routines. This is due to the employment of high accuracy scanning systems that enable rapid data collection.

“To allow our operators to take full advantage of our efficient new Mitutoyo CMMs, prior to installation we radically reorganised our environmentally controlled inspection and goods inward departments.”

Martin Baker also uses Mitutoyo’s MCosmos CMM offline programming software in order to maximise measuring time by generating measuring programs away from the CMM by using CAD models rather than physical parts. This means programs are ready for execution prior to the arrival of parts thus improving workflow through the inspection department.

“Whenever possible we use our new Crysta Apex S9206 CMMs, as their CNC operation automates measuring routines and provides both accuracy and speed. In addition, removing the human element ensures repeatability and eliminates variables. On completion of an inspection batch, a fully detailed and traceable inspection report is generated for each individual component. Then any deviation from nominal conditions on component’s features can be quickly communicated back to production before an out of tolerance situation occurs.”

Mitutoyo Coordinate Measuring Machines are available in a wide range of sizes and accuracy classes to cover practically all precision 3D measuring applications.?The advanced Crysta Apex S9206 CMM has an x,y,z capacity of 905mm x 2005mm x 605mm. It is built using lightweight materials and features an innovative moving-bridge type machine structure. This provides high motion stability to take advantage of the increased scanning speed and high accuracy of the CMM.
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