Phillips Precision - Inspection Arsenal

Fixturing - Simple by Design

Inspection Arsenal
Inspection Arsenal - Phillips Precision

MMTS’s Practical Training Helps Customers Improve Productivity

There’s no holdup with pallet-style workholding

Methods Machine Tool Sales (MMTS) of Sudbury, Massachusetts, is the New England distributor and sole training center for Carl Zeiss inspection equipment. Customers can train in MMTS’s state-of-the art lab or send examples of problem parts to the lab for help with their inspection solutions.

To introduce trainees to the most modern and lean approach to fixturing, the MMTS training team turned to quick-swap fixture plates and workholding. These allow for smoother transitions during contract inspections and when automating engineered turnkey solutions.

“We are constantly shuffling between CMM training classes, customer demos, and turnkey inspections,” says Tom Oakes, a quality applications engineer at Zeiss. “The quick-swap features of Loc-N-Load and Open-Sight Fixture Systems from Inspection Arsenal make moving between these setups quite simple and efficient.”

For real-world examples during the training classes, a variety of sample parts were set up on several Loc-N-Load fixture plates. This pallet-style fixture system allows trainees to quickly and easily load and unload parts onto the coordinate measuring machine (CMM). To automate stylus re-qualification, reference spheres were set up on a dedicated quick-swap plate.

Inspection Arsenal CMM - Methods Machine Tool

Figure 1: Multiple fixtures can be added to a CMM, leaving granite exposed to check parts quickly and without interruption using an angle/stop plate.

“Reducing the time it takes to build and break-down inspection setups and faster recalibration means more time can be spent teaching about equipment features and programming techniques,” says Oakes.

As a major machine tool dealer, MMTS must perform inspections of turnkey parts during the setup, as well as meet customers’ quality requirements during the runoff. Having the flexibility to mount a part onto a pallet allows multiple jobs to run without breaking down setups or moving jobs to other machines to avoid scheduling bottlenecks.

“Inspection Arsenal also has a large complement of mounting and clamping accessories for the inspection of most parts,” says Oakes. “However, I sometimes need something they don’t have. Fortunately, their system allows me to use tooling from other manufacturers, so instead of limiting my tooling capability, it actually expands it.”

Fixtures with sample parts are set up and exchanged without delay. During advanced training, multipart fixtures are designed on a large Loc-N-Load plate to teach pallet programming. Training sessions also reinforce probe calibration, which is done quickly using a dedicated plate for the qualifying sphere. The dedicated plate locates the same every time. The machine is calibrated, and the sphere and plate are moved out of the way to free up the entire work surface for inspections. The same process is used for gauge calibration on multisensor machines, where this task is performed more often.

Metalstorm 2014 - Multi-sensor machine, Loc-N-Load™ docking rail, plates and Hole Adjusters with Silver Bullet™ stand offs.

Figure 2: Silver-Bullets with hole adjusters are used to fixture this part for inspection. Simple hole adjusters provide infinite adjustability between holes of the Loc-N-Load plates’ 1-in. × 1-in. hole pattern.

Moving from an instructor in a classroom setting to a contract inspection job is also quick and seamless. Classroom fixtures remain intact and are swapped out to shift gears. The MMTS metrology lab helps to deliver turnkey solutions and may have several in process simultaneously, so quick-swap plates speed this process, as well.Time-saving benefits extend beyond the classroom. The technique-altering fixture concept drastically reduces the time for inspection and helps break workflow bottlenecks. Many student inspectors and engineers apply the lean fixture solution at their own companies with great success.

Companies focused on lean have fundamentally changed their quality inspection techniques. For these and many other companies, the ability to alleviate quality control bottlenecks not only reduces inspection costs, but the faster workflow also reduces expensive spindle downtime on the shop floor.

Classes at the training center are scheduled for four days with trainee capacity ranging between three to six students. Classes are delivered 20 times each year for an average of 100 customers per year.

About The Author

Phillips Precision Inc.

Phillips Precision Inc. machine shop prides itself on using the latest technology to communicate with customers. The latest version of CAD/CAM software, high speed internet, and new shop management software all help customer orders move through our company quickly and efficiently. We could literally be machining parts within minutes of receiving a customer file and deliver finished parts the same day if necessary. The free consultation service we offer prior to machining saves you time and money.

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