Case Studies: Modular Fixturing System Always a Fit
Last year, a team at German-based Koordinaten Messtechnik Iserlohn (KMI) or Coordinate Measuring Technology, a measuring subcontractor, ventured into self-employment. Equipped with high-quality measuring equipment, the company offers measuring services such as initial sample reports, target and actual comparison measuring, implementation of measuring point and gage concepts, and statistical process control (SPC) analysis. KMI also advises and supports customers regarding positioning technology and standard dimensioning.
Above all, KMI aims for extremely detailed documentation. Statements on fitting accuracy and suitability of parts, especially regarding "gap dimensions," are in demand in more and more industrial areas, such as plastics, metal or electro industries. A large customer base of this company includes suppliers from the automotive and medical technology industries.
"As service providers we never know what is around the corner," says Joerg Werkmeister, KMI manager. "We need to be equipped for all eventualities without tying down too much capital."
For KMI, that means selecting equipment, which can guarantee quality and flexibility. Because of the functionality of the systems, KMI turned to Witte LP (Tucker, GA) for its Alufix modular high-tensile aluminium fixturing systems.
"Investment in low-price products would be the most expensive solution in the long term. At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to supply customers with reliable measuring results so it is obvious that we can only work with high-quality brand products," Werkmeister says. Because most of the work pieces to be measured rarely are supplied with a corresponding fixture, the company works with Alufix fixturing systems for their accuracy, flexibility and reusability. "I got to know and love Alufix modular fixturing systems many years ago at my previous employers. It is the optimal solution for our constantly changing requirements," Werkmeister says.
Alufix often is used for complex fixturing projects in the automobile industry for fenders, side panels or complete bodies-in-white. Increasingly, it is used for inner and outer Meisterbock, or blue bucks, as well as match metal fixtures.
"KMI's applications go back to the origins of our system," Jan Stolte, Witte LP sales technician, says. The basic principle of the system, namely modularity of single components, which always fit together, has remained. Fixtures of different kinds and sizes can be built on the spot out of single components and disassembled after use.
"If, for instance, Alufix components in use are required for a different application, a measuring fixture can be dis-assembled intermittently and later rebuilt using a photograph. Grid bores mean that each position of single components can easily be counted," says Stolte describing a benefit of implementing the system.
"Until now, we have been able to support every work piece with our range of Alufix components. Parts have been used countless times. Components are not only extremely accurate but also robust and absolutely resistant against wear and tear. This reliability is extremely important for us," Werkmeister says. "Apart from that, we do not need to worry about future investment-parts purchased now will still be compatible to parts purchased in five years. This frees us from any pressure of having to invest a lot at once," Werkmeister says.
Despite fixtures permanently being disassembled, they are not lost. Every fixture at KMI is photographed so that it can be rebuilt quickly. "Often parts are sent for analysis again after changes or modifications have been carried out," says Oemer Yildiz, KMI managing partner.
"We constantly extend our Alufix stock in small steps. The good thing is that new and old parts always fit together," Werkmeister says. Workers can measure points underneath the work piece without any trouble with the Alufix system-fixtures are supported on columns. KMI aims to build fixtures in such a way that all measuring can be done in one process without having to change position, which would require new alignment.
• The modularity and compatibility of the fixturing system allows KMI to use both old and new parts without worrying about the parts fitting together.
• Fixtures of different kinds and sizes can be built on the spot out of single components and disassembled after use.
• If fixture components in use are required for a different application, a measuring fixture can be disassembled intermittently and later rebuilt using a photograph.
• Grid bores allow each position of single components to be counted easily.
• Workers can measure points underneath the work piece easily with the fixturing system.