Real-time quality control capabilities indispensable for aerospace component specialist
An aerospace manufacturer says its partnership with multi-sensor metrology expert OGP UK has been a ‘game-changer’ for delivering right-first-time parts in a highly regulated industry.
Winbro Group, a world leader in the design and production of machines and technologies based on non-conventional processes, specialises in producing the miniature cooling holes and forms in components used in the most demanding part of aero and industrial gas turbines.
These holes are critical in allowing internal airflow to prevent overheating during engine operation and, because effective cooling improves component efficiency, this leads to reduced fuel consumption and nitrogen oxide emissions on today’s generation of lightweight, low-noise jet engines.
The Leicestershire-based firm teamed up with OGP UK eight years ago and now uses three of its SmartScope systems – a CNC 300 and two Vantage 450s.
Winbro Chief Technology Officer Andy Lawson says the solutions are key to being able to guarantee quality for customers.
He said: “As Winbro’s advanced machining division has gained more and more parts, in both aerospace and industrial gas turbines, we’ve gone back to OGP UK for turnkey solutions. We’ve bought additional programming and help for parts that we weren’t necessarily familiar with, and OGP has been very responsive in that area.
“Ultimately it’s about the speed of inspection versus production. We’re able to take parts straight off the machine and then, while the second part is being machined or drilled, the first part will go into the inspection lab and in less than 10 minutes feedback is given straight to the operator to be able to control the process.
“We already get a much more quality inspection report real time, such that we are no more than one part away from an issue.”
OGP UK’s market-leading multi-sensor technologies house superior optical, laser and tactile sensors, automatically selecting the right tools for any given task in one routine and eliminating the need for multiple traditional measuring systems.
Collecting detailed data and gauging the characteristics of even the most demanding components and features, and doing so faster and more reliably than anything else around, come as standard.
Working with more accurate and real-time statistics, from a single reference point, has proved revolutionary for tighter control of production processes, as issues can be identified and remedied immediately.
Fewer rejects, minimal rework and faster product-to-market times are just some of the benefits.
Mr Lawson added: “OGP offered a full turnkey system, so we were able to give one or two of the components we had just won with our customers and work with OGP for them to develop the software and programmes, such that those programmes were fully verified with the equipment.
“During the development of the new parts, you often have hiccups. What we found was that OGP was very responsive – we were able to work together to get through technical problems and solutions, and I think that for me was a game-changer.
“It’s more than just buying the hardware and equipment – it’s really how you utilise and get the most out of it.
“Our experience with OGP over the last eight years has been very positive. We feel as though the relationship is ongoing, as a partnership should be.”
Largely thanks to its flagship Vantage machines – which work to sub-micron precision on even the most demanding components, with unparalleled speed – OGP UK has become a key player in industries like medical, automotive and aerospace.
The intuitive ZONE3 metrology software utilised by the Vantage range offers full 3D CAD-based programming to automatically and effortlessly generate measurement routines.
Graham Shaw, Sales Manager at Derbyshire-based OGP UK, said: “More and more manufacturers are discovering that OGP systems are a must-have for ensuring the levels of precision required in their industry.
“Our solutions provide live, accurate, consistent and holistic data in the heart of the production environment, giving businesses total peace of mind that their parts will always be of the necessary standard and therefore leading to significantly increased throughput.”