Integrated Balancing, Gaging And Crack Detection System Cuts Costs

This Michigan company offers fully integrated balancing, gaging, and crack detection systems that can cut manufacturing costs, help increase product quality and reduce floor space requirements.

Case Study From: 6/15/1998 Modern Machine Shop

Consumers demand everything to be smaller, more efficient, more powerful, weigh less, run quieter, smoother, last longer and go faster. With today's global market, manufacturers are forced to find ways to stay competitive. Balance Technology Inc. (Ann Arbor, Michigan) offers fully integrated balancing, gaging, and crack detection systems that can cut manufacturing costs, help increase product quality and reduce floor space requirements.

With any manufacturing process there are often flaws, in both the casting and machining process as well as material handling. Any defect can contribute to excessive vibration, noise, premature wear, and ultimately component failure. One specific automotive supplier working with BTI manufactures brake rotors. These rotors are balanced, checked for cracks, inclusions, porosity and gaged to confirm they are dimensionally acceptable.

To insure that they are producing the highest quality products, the brake rotors are put through numerous tests and procedures. One test monitors the rotor for cracks, inclusions and porosity. Another test, gaging, measures the dimensional characteristics of the rotors to make sure they are within the specified tolerances. Finally the rotors are audited and corrected for unbalance. As with all rotating parts, balancing the workpiece is an essential ingredient to providing a quality product with less vibration, noise, and bearing wear.

This company assumed they would need to purchase multiple machines; a balancer, a machine to check for cracks, inclusions and porosity, as well as a dimensional gage. As with most plants, they were limited on floor space and budget, but were not willing to sacrifice on technology or quality. After much research they found independently, these machines took up too much space and cost too much money.

Upon further investigation the manufacturer was please to find Balance Technology was capable of combining all three technologies on one platform. BTI has now developed patent pending combinations of gaging and crack detection integrated with their balancing systems. This machine will measure the amount of unbalance and perform dimensional gaging at one station. Next the part is transferred to a correction station where it is milled to correct for unbalance. Then it is transferred to an audit station to confirm it is within the balance specification. At this station it also undergoes a final test for cracks, inclusions and porosity.

Combining all three technologies in one machine has reduced equipment cost and has minimized the amount of floor space required. There is no need for large conveyers and escapements that lead parts from one machine to the next. With BTI's innovative technology, companies are producing higher quality parts for less money. In addition, BTI's systems offer common data logging with network compatibility.

Currently, this automotive supplier has 22 BTI machines on their floors—15 of these machines are fully automated brake rotor balancers. This is only one of many companies now investing in BTI's proven measuring systems. BTI has led the balancing industry into the 21st century with their Microsoft Windows based custom software tailored to the user's specific needs.

In addition, all BTI equipment, from standard manual machines all the way up to fully integrated balancing systems, incorporate industrial NEMA rated IBM based PCs. Each computer software program is individually tailored to the customers specific needs by BTI's professional software engineers. BTI's company profile of mechanical, electrical and software engineers offer more than 160 years of combined industrial experience.

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