Portable CMM Slashes Inspection Time

For very large parts, portable measuring solutions can be more practical than traditional CMMs and gages. One such unit from FARO helped this shop reduce inspection time by 80 percent on a large, cast iron housing.


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A relatively common problem with large parts is that inspection on a traditional CMM can be impractical or even impossible. One manufacturer that commonly takes on such work, Ansco Machine, recently found a solution in a portable CMM from Faro. This device provided both the necessary accuracy and the convenience of measuring from the shop floor.

Based in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Ansco specializes in milling and turning parts ranging to 78 inches in diameter. Although this is a smaller shop, it actively seeks out challenging and high-profile work. Doing so requires a critical eye for the design and functionality of parts and a continual effort to seek cost savings and process efficiencies—attributes that the shop says it has developed from 30 years of design and manufacturing experience.

One challenging project involved a heavy cast iron housing that required machining several large bored holes and ring grooves to tolerances of ±0.001 inch. The part also included several drilled and tapped holes for various bolts and fittings. The size and complexity of the part led to quality-control difficulties after machining.

Weighing in at 750 pounds, the part was too large and cumbersome for the shop’s bridge-type CMM. Additionally, although the bores themselves could be inspected easily with dial bore gages, it was still difficult to check location and relation between features. These problems were compounded by the fact that many features were located on different sides of the part. With an inspection requirement of 100 percent and full documentation required for 80 critical features, conventional methods were simply not practical in terms of size, time or cost.

True to form, Ansco viewed this as just another challenge to overcome, and the shop began a search for the best technology to ensure success. After an on-site demonstration of the Faro gage with local account manager Trevor Murcko, management was convinced that the gage would meet its inspection needs.

The Faro gage is aportable CMM designed to enable machinists to speed through measurement challenges and produce the most accurate results possible. According to the manufacturer, the portable device enables measurement on the shop floor to accuracies of 0.0002-inch—without interrupting production. Thanks to its portability and quick setup, inspection time is reduced, the company adds. Moreover, the gage can automatically record measurements to ease the process of generating inspection reports.

As it turned out, employing the gage enabled Ansco to reduce inspection time by 80 percent on the cast iron housing compared to previous methods. “It’s the right size to get all the features we have to measure, and  its accuracy gives me the confidence that what is being reported is true, “says Wes Suladie, quality assurance manager.   



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