For those reasons, Progressive Tool has lately been placing a premium on maximum flexibility, as well as accuracy, in the arsenal of measuring instruments that it maintains.
Progressive Tool found both of those attributes recently in a 12-inch Sylvac Z-Cal II height gage supplied by Fred V. Fowler Co. Inc. (Newton, MA). Finding a height gage that "actually lives up to the specifications promised by equipment manufacturers was important to us," says Thompson. The Z-Cal provides accuracy within 0.00024 inch. Further, its motorized measuring system provides a high degree of flexibility.
Previously, Progressive Tool had used gage pins, dial bore gages, test indicators and gage blocks for a variety of tasks. These required separate measurements that were time-consuming to perform. It was also time-consuming to transfer many readings to a height gage. "On the Z-Cal, we can do it all together," Thompson observes.
In its day-to-day business, Progressive Tool produces automotive gages, replacement part tooling for stamping and custom automated assemblies, among other products, and thus requires a great deal of variety in measuring instruments. Besides a range of hand tools and gages, the company's metrology equipment also includes more sophisticated tools such as a coordinate measuring machine (CMM).
Thompson notes that the CMM can do more than any height gage. But for many tasks, the Z-Cal height gage is actually a more desirable option, he says. The CMM "would be fine if we had a dedicated QC inspector who used it all the time," says Thompson. But for the occasional user, it is not user friendly, he adds.
Because Progressive Tool is a small shop, many different people need to make different measurements, which makes the versatility of the Z-Cal particularly important, Thompson says. "The Z-Cal can do at least 80% of the work a CMM can do. It takes 10 minutes to learn all of its single-axis functions."
Progressive Tool uses the CMM only for multi-axis measurements, Thompson says, and now has three Z-Cal height gages, which it uses in its electrical discharge machining and grinding rooms on the shop floor.
Fred V. Fowler Co. Inc.
(800) 788-2353 Reply 11