New Height Gage Boosts Inspection Throughput For Small Job Shop

Used basically to locate holes and accurately measure diameters from 2.5 inches down to .25 inch, the gage has largely replaced others-primarily gage block setups and bore gages-and permits faster, more frequent dimensional checks at far higher accuracies.

Case Study From: 11/1/2003 Modern Machine Shop

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height gage

An emphasis on quality has led White's Machine Company to devise its own "quality handbook" of procedures for checking parts. Here a technician uses the new height gage to assess the inner diameter (ID) of an eccentric-shaped cylinder plate.

White’s Machine, Inc. (Pine Grove, Pennsylvania) is a 15-year old company that produces parts for Alcoa, W.L. Gore (of Goretex fame), local food industry manufacturers and other customers on a continuous basis. To do so, the company has devised its own “quality handbook” of procedures for checking parts. “It makes the difference between talking about quality and actually having a system that gets the best out of our production machinery,” says Dean White, who, with his brother Dennis, owns the firm.

Reinforcing its program of strong customer relationships, White’s Machine expanded its quality assurance operation with a new Swiss-made electronic height gage from Fred V. Fowler Company (Newton, Massachusetts) that has saved the small machine shop at least 100 percent of the time it used to take to come up with reliable checking results.

“The new Fowler/Trimos V300 height gage is important not only in boosting confidence in our inspection activities, thus building more customer loyalty, but also is a time-saver and operations simplifier for us in the plant,” says Mr. White.

Used basically to locate holes and accurately measure diameters from 2 ½ inches down to ¼ inch, the gage has largely replaced others—primarily gage block setups and bore gages—and permits faster, more frequent dimensional checks at far higher accuracies, says Mr. White. “We are known by our special customers for great attention to detail, which builds strong loyalty,” he adds. “In addition, this particular instrument can handle tolerances of two-tenths, always a plus.”

The Fowler/Trimos V300 electronic height gage has been an asset in “taking out human error” for the job shop. The smallest of the three Trimos models, the 21-inch V300, has a resolution of 0.00005 inch/0.0005 inch (0.001 mm/0.01 mm), repeatability of 0.00008 inch/0.002 mm and accuracy of 0.00016 inch/0.004 mm over a 12 inch/300 mm travel.

“We like to roll our parts, particularly 2 inch to 7 inch diameters, and when you do this under the instrument you can hold the reading by simply pressing the spring-loaded control instead of squeezing a micrometer.” Mr. White explains. “We switch materials frequently—say from hard to stainless steel—and it’s easy to move from one slot to another. Moving from one range of 0 inch to another of 18 inches is also simple. That simplifies everything.

“The worst scenario is to set up individual gage blocks every time you need to check something,” he continues. “That’s much slower. With the Trimos, you press a button and sweep the holes almost simultaneously.”

White’s Machine has a range of machining equipment—CNC mills, surface and cylindrical grinders, jig bores. Specializing in lathe work, the company handles materials such as stainless steel, Inconel, aluminum and bronze.

“We check every part,” Mr. White says, “and aim to keep our customers happy. That’s why efficient inspection is key to our operations.”

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