RA Labone Case Study
RA Labone Improve Production And Quality Control With The CNC 500 From OGP UK
Traditionally, the requirement for high-accuracy inspection usually applied to low-medium volume metal components, the time required to produce these high-precision parts usually enabled them to be measured within the production cycle.
The advances in high-yield, high accuracy machine tools has meant that faster, automatic, high-precision measuring solutions, such as CNC multi-sensor measuring systems, needed to be developed to allow high-volume, high-accuracy metal parts to be rapidly and precisely inspected.
Having solved the inspection problems related to the high-volume, high-accuracy measurement of metal components, further challenges were presented to the metrology industry. Technical progress within the global plastic industry has enabled the increasingly rapid production of ever more high-tolerance and intricate injection moulded parts.
As the technology had proven to be ideal for the inspection of high-volume, high-accuracy metal parts, modern CNC, multi-sensor measuring systems have now been embraced by many leading companies within the global plastics industry.
Rather than use, for instance a traditional CMM, a laser scanner and a profile projector, to measure parts’ features, an operator is now able to load multiple injection moulded components onto the bed of multi-sensor measuring system, recall a part program, then undertake an accurate, fully automatic CNC measuring routine.
Typical of the quality-conscious plastic industry companies making use of advanced multi-sensor measuring systems is R A Labone & Co Ltd. Established over 50 years ago, the company is a manufacturer of precision plastic injection mouldings, insert mouldings, metal pressings and various types of assemblies. With a head office, engineering department, toolmaking and high-tech manufacturing plant located in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, and access to additional manufacturing facilities in the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine, Labone supplies products to a wide range of discerning blue-chip customers across the globe. Challenging sectors served include the automotive, medical and electrical equipment industries.
Labone has invested in hi-tech, computer controlled injection moulding machines, robot loading systems and part-specific jigs and fixtures to support the mass production of intricate, high tolerance injection and insert mouldings. To help the company’s busy inspection department keep pace with the ever increasing output from its impressive production equipment, a search was made for an accurate, high-speed measuring system. Having had practical demonstrations of several non-contact measuring machines, it was decided that the SmartScope CNC 500 from OGP UK was the ideal solution to the company’s measuring problems.
Bryan Brownlow, R A Labone Quality Technician explained “Labone has achieved all of the major quality standards applicable to our business and are currently certified to ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 13485 and ISO 14001. To ensure the continuity of our reputation for quality, we pursue a policy of continuous investment in our technical resources.
“Having witnessed other measuring systems in action, a demonstration performed by OGP’s staff proved that the company’s SmartScope CNC 500 was able to detect things that the other products we saw could not pick-up. Also the accuracy, speed and ease of use of the OGP system meant that it outperformed the other systems.
“Although the OGP machine combines a Touch Probe & Optical measuring systems in a single fully programmable unit, the excellent training received from OGP, combined with the system’s ease of use, meant that our quality personnel soon mastered the machine’s controls.
“As we were quickly able to write, store and recall specific part programs, then load multiple parts onto the machine, the SmartScope CNC 500 was soon performing high-accuracy measuring routines on complex, high volume injection mouldings. Its ability to measure multiple features on a number of samples in one set-up has provided significant programming and cycle time savings. The fact that we are able to make fast, precise measurements on the most complex of parts means that we are able to provide almost instant dimensional feed-back to production to ensure the continued quality of our output.
“Given the demanding nature of the industrial sectors we serve, the SmartScope CNC 500’s excellent reporting function has been a major benefit. If required, at the end of each measuring routine, the OGP machine produces a detailed inspection report.
“Given the sheer magnitude of our output and the challenging accuracy specifications of our injection moulded parts, we were delighted to find a technology that had the speed to precisely measure our multiple parts in a fast, automatic CNC mode.
“As our OGP measuring system has proven so successful, to help accommodate the output from further high-volume additions to our manufacturing plant, we have recently installed a second SmartScope CNC 500.”
OGP’s SmartScope CNC is popular throughout the world where accurate, automatic dimensional measuring routines are required. To ensure consistent measurement accuracy, the system has a high quality, 12:1 zoom lens that calibrates itself at every magnification change. Innovative solid state illumination sources, colour camera, and OGP’s Measure-X metrology software make every CNC model a powerful video measuring system. In addition, each CNC model is multisensor capable, supporting touch probe, laser scanner, and micro-probe technologies.
To ensure that each customer receives a SmartScope CNC to exactly match their needs, each model can be customised with the addition of powerful options, such as MeasureMind 3D MultiSensor software, rotary indexers.
The SmartScope CNC 500, as purchased by Labone, provides rapid CNC features and performance in a large travel bridge-design system. Parts move on a precision DC motor-driven Y-axis stage while the optics assembly travels in the X-axis across a stable bridge cross member. This configuration assures rapid, smooth part translation and robust measurement performance.