The measurement of parts has always been a source of pride and doubly so when we have machined and produced complex items that we then certify.
Business Director, Geoff Randle, hails from an era when Precision Ceramics started in 1992 and when the small machine shop had good manual inspection tools and the skill of operators in checking tolerances. Geoff was reminded of this in a recent flashback when discussing a complex part and the measurement techniques employed to ensure compliance to the customer’s specifications.
The discussion was regarding a tolerance of 0.003 mm which, putting that into perspective, is 1/20th the thickness of a 0.06mm thick human hair. The discussion was focused on which of the inspection systems at our disposal would best be suited to measuring the parts and not only inspecting them but recording the data to supply to customers.
Time has moved forward and customer expectations have also changed. The capability and repeatability of differing systems and the numbers of staff involved have moved to the point where manufacture is not the only critical consideration but proving that the 5 axis machining centres have achieved what is expected and inspection can now take nearly as long as machining.
The experts in metrology are driving us forward, but 0.003mm is a tipping point beyond which most systems need to move to another level where the machines and the inspection equipment are housed in a temperature controlled room to ensure both work effectively.
Geoff reverts again to 1992 when the factory manager was conducting an interview for a machinist, the applicant was handed a micrometer and a component and was judged on how he measured and held the gauge as to his skill level
How times have changed!