CMM Technology Provides Flexible Gauge Solution at Howmet THE European Casting Division of software capability is emphasised as the Japanese, made "tooling up" charges Howmet (UK) Inc based in Exeter is a only selected keys on the keyboard are of £30,000 to £40,000 an uneconomic world leader in the development and proposition to win international business. used to provide complete measurement production of investment cast aerofoil The flexible measuring factor of the functions and the operator never needs and structural castings used in turbine CM M is important and more practical to watch the machine while it is rotors and nozzle guide vanes for in-cycle. than go no-go gauges. It helps in helicopter engines, aerospace, marine It proceeds through the programmed statistical process control which can be and industrial gas turbines. It produces extremely useful to monitor a process task taking some three minutes to these precision investment castings in such as investment or lost-wax casting perform say, a 55 point check including sizes ranging from 100 grams or so to which can be influenced by so many multiple probe orientations or it can some, so large, that two people could variables. The effect of cold air, for captivate the appropriate measuring just about lift them. points on a part such as a turbine blade instance can cause moulds to vary. If wax stands for too long it can shrink and in just 25 sees. Because of the exacting nature of the even the alteration of injection pressures The Hewlett Packard based control task the aerofoil has to perform in for the wax will cause problems. provides a graphic representation of the extracting the maximum energy from a component and only out-of-tolerance hot gas flow, and in a turbine nozzle, to direct and meter gas flow, the profile, dimensions are outlined to provide a Little margin for errors geometry and size are all critical. fully gauged part in a single setting. Castings therefore require 100 per cent The measured results are held on Although machining is minimal from inspection, even though batches from screen while the operator loads the next the investment casting process, stock one-off to 4,000 are passed through the component and he then checks the levels as low as 0.5 mm leaves little shop, and traceability records are an screen for errors while the next page is margin for any casting errors. important requirement. being processed. The "open ended" software of the A screen dump is then actioned to Apollo gives a front end menu system generate an inspection report which that Howmet was able to strip away to Flexible solution for inspection shows a graphical representation of the bear sub programs from which it could part, the order number and results. incorporate its own routines, to provide Howmet exports 60 per cent of its the operator with the same effect as a go, production and it was important, in Warner & Swasey Ltd., Stafford no-go gauge. order to remain competitive, that a Park 2, Telford, Shropshire TF3 flexible solution be sought for inspection. The operator simply calls up the 3BD. Tel: 0952 290200. This led to the purchase of a Sheffield appropriate works order number at the Cordax Apollo RS30 DCC co-ordinate keyboard and the appropriate module is measuring machine (CMM) and, since aligned to the main measuring program. the installation, a second larger RS50 Each component is held in a simple CM M has been bought and a third fixture, primarily because most of the Apollo RS30 ordered. datum points are on aero-foil sections without any flat surfaces for location. Previously, Howmet was a user of Some fixtures allow multiple loadings dedicated hard gauging techniques which of up to 10 parts for measuring in a meant expensive fixtures for each single cycle. component. However, growing pressure from overseas competitors, especially The benefits of the open and flexible 24 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING — January 1991
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1991
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