Non Cartesian CMM Improves Pact’s Productivity and Precision

UK based Pact Engineering Ltd was founded in 1980 as a specialist grinding company. Although grinding remains a key strength, the company can now be described as a one-stop-shop for expert sub-contract engineering offering CNC turning, CNC milling, wire erosion and CNC universal grinding, all supported by expert inspection. The company’s reputation for the machining of complex components has resulted in a customer base that includes technically challenging sectors such as the Aerospace, Automotive, and Formula 1.

A strong quality ethos permeates all of Pact’s activities and in addition to stringent final inspection routines performed by dedicated quality staff the company’s skilled production personnel take responsibility for their own in-process quality control and carry out regular CMM inspection checks.

The mainstay of Pact’s inspection provision is an Aberlink Axiom Too CNC Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) that was purchased two years ago. In addition to being used by the company’s inspection department,the ease of use of the Aberlink CMM means that Pact’s machine operators also have access to the Aberlink CMM. Production personnel are able to instantly recall selected pre-written programs and to measure first-off parts before beginning a production run, machine operators also make regular in-process checks on the Axiom Too when performing long production runs.

As a result of ever rising levels of production meant the increased demands placed on the company’s CMM delays were beginning to occur. Delays incurred by machine operators whilst waiting for the CMM to complete its tasks, meant that valuable production time was being lost particularly when the CMM was engaged in a lengthy CNC final inspection routine on a large batch of complex components.

The accuracy and ease of use experienced by Pact with their Aberlink Axiom Too CMM meant that the company again turned to Aberlink for a solution to its mounting inspection capacity problems. The answer was found in the recently launched Aberlink Xtreme CMM.

Steve Banfield, Pact Engineering Ltd Director explained. “Our Aberlink Axiom Too has been a great success, its precision specification has enabled it to inspect even our most accurate and complex parts. Also, as well as its main use – performing final inspection routines – as it is so easy to use, our machine operators are able to make full use of it.

“Prompted by an increase in our output and to put an end the potential for queues forming at our CMM, we contacted Aberlink. Our timing was perfect, although our original Aberlink CMM was purchased at a very cost-effective price, the company had just launched an even less expensive machine – the Xtreme CMM.”

“Having recently installed the Aberlink Xtreme in our inspection department, our machine operators are now able to use our new CMM for measuring their first-offs and for in-process checks. It helps that the Xtreme uses the same software as our existing Aberlink CMM. The use of our new Xtreme CMM has freed our Axiom Too CMM to concentrate on final inspection routines and has put an end to bottlenecks in our inspection department.”

The Aberlink Xtreme CNC CMM is designed with a novel non-Cartesian structure and uses linear motors and mechanical bearings. This advantageous arrangement ensures that the new Aberlink machine maintains its impressive accuracy at very fast measurement rates and does not suffer from the accumulative inaccuracies that occur in conventional 3-axis Cartesian arrangements. As its name implies, the new Xtreme CNC CMM offers customers a robust solution for undertaking precise inspection routines wherever they are required.

The Xtreme utilises Aberlink’s renowned 3D CNC software, ensuring greater user productivity and profitability. A welcome bi-product of any Aberlink CMM inspection routine is that a simultaneous picture of the measured component is created on the computer screen. Dimensions between the measured features, mirroring those that appear on the component drawing, can then be simply picked off as required. In essence this ‘smart’ software represents an intelligent measuring system that is able to automatically recognise and define the various features being measured. Aberlink 3D claims its software to be the easiest to use and most intuitive CMM software currently available.

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