QMT Features: July 2016
Roughing it in the workshop
Aberlink’s new Xtreme CMM is meeting shop floor inspection challenges at Jamestan Engineering

The development of Aberlink’s Xtreme CMM was prompted by the growing trend for component inspection being performed at the point of manufacture, as well as by the increasing requirement for machine operators to measure parts within the cycle time of their machine tools.

The remit for Aberlink was to create an inexpensive, accurate, easy to use, CNC driven CMM that could stand-up to the rigours of harsh operating environments and be able to undertake rapid automated measuring routines. To make sure that it delivered on these aims, an early Xtreme model was placed on the shop floor of what was considered a typical target user, North Devon based Jamestan Engineering.

Jamestan Engineering supplies precision machined components to the aerospace, motorsport and oil & gas industries, offering services that include multi-axis milling and turning as well as grinding and EDM. Centrally located on the shop-floor, the Xtreme trial model was available to all of Jamestan Engineering’s machine operators.
Managing director Paul Jeffery said: “In addition to other tasks, we decided to use the Xtreme to take in-process measurements of the high volumes of tight tolerance aluminium rings that we produce for an aerospace customer.  
“As the quality of our output is all important, we were originally sceptical about the Xtreme’s ability to provide the levels of accuracy we require in such a harsh environment. Given the safety critical nature of our aluminium parts and the potential for shop-floor temperature variations, we were initially worried about the ability of the Xtreme’s temperature compensation function. 

“Although, by cross referencing the Xtreme’s results with those we achieved on the CMMs within our dedicated inspection department, our early fears were soon dispelled and we quickly gained complete confidence in the Xtreme’s results.

“As Aberlink’s management asked us to place the CMM within a challenging environment, to work it hard and to report any problems, we were happy to oblige. Given that the Xtreme was so easy to use, our operators were soon able to recall the relevant program for the part they were machining and to perform accurate, fast, automated CNC inspection routines.

“At the end of the 6-month pre-launch evaluation period, we were happy to report that despite the harsh surroundings and the sheer amount of work it performed, the new Aberlink CMM had completed thousands of very fast and accurate measuring routines and that we had not encountered a single problem.
“In fact, so impressed were we by the speed, accuracy and robustness of the Xtreme, and as the use of a shop-floor based CMM had given us so many advantages, we gave the machine the ultimate endorsement by purchasing the pre-production model from Aberlink.

“Now, the use of our Xtreme CMM has enabled our inspection department to concentrate on tasks such as final inspection, as all in-process checks are now made on the shop-floor. Also, as components are now measured so soon after production our already low scrap levels have been further reduced.”

Chris Davies, Aberlink Business Development Manager added, “We are very grateful for the invaluable pre-launch assistance given to us by Jamestan Engineering. Although we had carried out exhaustive in-house trials and were confident that the Xtreme would deliver the required accuracy and speed within harsh environments, it was gratifying to know that it performed perfectly within the kind of production situation it was intended for.”
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