Hertford based Fluorocarbon Company Ltd is one of the UK’s largest fluoropolymer processor companies.
Since its inception in 1962 Fluorocarbon has grown to become a global supplier of PTFE and polymer related components and engineering plastics in stock shapes. The business also specialises in the precision machining of high-performance materials including, PTFE, PCTFE, PEEK, PFA, FEP nylons, plastics and ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Operating from three manufacturing sites, two in the UK and one in Europe, Fluorocarbon serves a wide range of demanding industries, including the aerospace, oil and gas, chemical processing, medical, pharmaceutical, semi-conductor and telecommunications sectors.
For some time, Fluorocarbon’s Hertford manufacturing facility has been engaged in the production of complex PTFE components for a prestigious global customer. These components have 50 slots along their length. In addition to the accuracy of the size and pitch of the slots being crucial to the parts’ performance, every slot has 4 difficult to access, critical features, each with tolerances measured in microns applied to them. In the past, even though the components’ methodical inspection routines were time consuming, the relatively low numbers being produced meant that Fluorocarbon’s Quality Department was able to keep-pace with production.
Although, the situation changed dramatically when the demand for the components recently rocketed. As the vastly increased volume of components being produced was beginning to place a strain on Fluorocarbon’s inspection capacity, a search was made for a suitably precise, fast-acting, automated measuring system. After considering several alternative, high-tech options, an advanced Quick Vision Active, CNC vision measuring system was purchased from Mitutoyo UK.
Now installed and fully operational, thanks to its rapid CNC operating system, rather than tie-up a skilled operators’ time in performing the slow, repetitive task of carefully inspecting each individual component, Fluorocarbon’s new Mitutoyo vision measuring system is now accurately inspecting the previously difficult to measure components in a rapid,
The company’s quality staff now simply load a batch of 5 components onto a fixture located on the Quick Vision Active’s stage, recall the components’ inspection program and start a fully automated inspection routine. At the end of each measuring sequence, 5 fully detailed component inspection reports are generated, then a new batch of components is loaded onto the machine.
The remarkable speed of the company’s new Mitutoyo vision measuring system means that each component can now be fully inspected in just 2 minutes when previously the same task more than 15 minutes. In addition, the impressive accuracy and repeatability specification of the Quick Vision Active has removed the human element from the components inspection process and has ensured that ‘right fist time – every-time’ component inspection takes place.
Due to its ability to quickly and accurately inspect a wide variety of the company’s other components, the Quick Vision Active has assisted in increasing the overall efficiency of Fluorocarbon’s Quality Department.
Fluorocarbon Company Ltd, Business Line Leader-Engineering, Stephen Dixon explained. “As well as being BS.EN.ISO. 9001:2015 and AS9100D approved, Fluorocarbon has a long list of additional approvals. We have earned a global reputation for our proficiency in machining complex components from challenging materials and also for our ability to supply consistently high-quality components.
“In order to solve our inspection capacity problem, related to our global customer’s complex components, we considered solutions from several leading metrology companies. Although, following an in-depth practical demonstration, we found that Mitutoyo’s Quick Vision Active was the ideal CNC vision measuring system for our demanding needs.
“In addition to being easy to program and use, as it is a non-contact vision related system, it is ideal for measuring parts that would deform under contact. Also, the Quick Vision Active provides the levels of accuracy that we require and the speed that allows it to make light work of the high volumes of the complex components now passing through our Quality Department. Last but not least, our customer really appreciates the comprehensive inspection reports that our new Mitutoyo system generates.”
Mitutoyo’s Quick Vision Active combines the flexibility of a high-quality zoom lens with the speed of a state-of-the-art digital colour camera. The ultra-efficient Quick Vision Active benefits from CNC control, enabling high-speed, high-accuracy automated measuring routines to be performed.
The advanced vision measuring systems boasts a long list of superior features, including a resolution of 0.1 µm, a programmable LED stage, coaxial lights and programmable 4-quadrant LED ring lights. In addition to high-resolution, high-speed CMOS colour camera, the range uses 7-step zoom optics with interchangeable lenses. Further extending the Quick Vision Active’s flexibility, a touch probe is also included.
Quick Vision Active uses Mitutoyo’s powerful, yet user-friendly QVPAK software. QVPAK is capable of calculating and displaying 3D graphics of measurement results, relationships of features, for example circle-to-circle distance calculation from captured points, and also the geometrical accuracy of circles, lines, planes and cylinders.