Case Studies: Supplier Benefits from Remanufactured CMMs
Duggan Manufacturing (Shelby Township, MI) is a sheet metal stamping prototype company celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. The company is a parts supplier to OEMs. Many of their parts are related to window system components, safety restraint systems and seating components.
"We've really built our niche in rapid prototyping of small- and medium-sized parts and components," says Rod Westich, CEO of Duggan Manufacturing. The company has more than 20 mechanical and hydraulic presses for low-volume production and production intent projects. A laser-cutting department includes six, 3-, 5- and 6-axis computer numerical control (CNC) laser-cutting systems for quality control and fast turnaround times.
With these CNCs, the company takes computer-aided design (CAD) data, downloads it and manipulates it into a 2-D CAD model for creating laser-cut-developed blanks for the metal stamping press department. "This is what gives us the capability to turn CAD data concepts into a physical part in a matter of days instead of weeks," Westich says.
He continues, "The level of quality of prototype parts has to be assured during the fabricating process, and that's where coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) play a significant role. As our business has grown, it has been necessary to add the needed CMM capability to maintain our fast response time...the key element for prototypers like Duggan Manufacturing."
According to Westich, CMMs have been a costly capital investment in the past. The company's type of processing requires each CNC laser-cutting technician to verify the dimensional accuracy of the blanks and assemblies he works on.
"Because multiple CMMs were required, we first searched the market for quality used manual CMMs in an effort to keep the capital investment as low as possible. We were deeply disappointed with the condition of the CMMs we found, and frankly the level of experience and know-how of the initial companies we talked to," Westich says.
Westich came across Xspect Solutions Inc. (Wixom, MI) on the Internet. The nationwide metrology sourcing company supplies total coordinate metrology solutions, including new and pre-owned CMM equipment.
"After an initial 30-minute phone call with Keith Mills, Xspect's president, and a visit to their facility in Wixom, we were confident we had found a partner we could trust and work with," Westich says.
Mills went to the Duggan facility and looked over their type of processing. "It was obvious that they needed a level of easy-to-use manual CMM capacity that met their current needs, but also had the capability of being cost-effectively expanded with minimal space requirements," Mills says.
Duggan already had a DEA Swift 20- by 34-inch manual machine. Mills was able to find three additional machines of the same model and size for the manufacturing company. Xspect completely remanufactured the machines at its facility and retrofitted the new machines, as well as Duggan's existing machines, with OpenDMIS software.
Operators were now able to effectively and quickly check the accuracy of the types of blanks that come out of Duggan's laser-cutting department. Xspect recommended an additional remanufactured DCC CMM, and a new Wenzel Smart machine for smaller parts. This provided the added capability of effectively verifying the dimensions on prototype assemblies and more complicated stampings. All machines operate on the same software.
"We're particularly impressed with the OpenDMIS software, primarily because of its ease of use. Because we manufacture whatever the customer needs in whatever quantities, and usually at a compressed lead-time, we have to have a manufacturing operation that can react quickly, and [the software] helps us do that," Westich says.
The measuring software has full CAD capabilities, which allow the CMM to be an integral part of the manufacturing process, permitting the generation of inspection program before manufacturing is performed. A QuickMeasure feature allows hands-free inspection for a PC. QuickMeasure determines the feature type under measurement and allows for rapid part inspection without the need to instruct the software what to inspect next, Westich says. "The part is simply probed and [the software] does the rest," he adds.
Xspect Solutions Inc.
• With affordable, remanufactured CMMs, operators can effectively and quickly check the accuracy of the types of blanks that come out of the company's laser-cutting department.
• The addition of a Wenzel Smart CMM aids the company in inspecting small parts and added the capability of effectively verifying the dimensions on prototype assemblies and more complicated stampings.
• OpenDMIS software has full CAD capabilities. A QuickMeasure feature allows hands-free inspection for a PC, determines the feature type under measurement, and allows for rapid part inspection without the need to instruct the software what to inspect next.