Located at the heart of one of the UK’s traditional industrial areas in the West Midlands, Metal Assemblies produce high-quality stampings and assemblies for its customers who are mainly involved in the global automotive industry.
Approximately 25% of Metal Assemblies’ production is exported. Although the majority of these sales are made into Europe, the company also has loyal customers in Asia and South and Central America.
Continuous investment in the latest production aids means that Metal Assemblies’ 75,000 sqr ft production facility boasts a very impressive plant list. The company’s advanced manufacturing facilities enable a wide range of procedures to be undertaken, including presswork, machining, tube manipulation, robot welding and tool making. The high yield nature of the company’s modern plant, along with the work of its dedicated, 130 strong workforce, allows the business to continue to thrive in what is an extremely competitive environment.
The company’s comprehensive production facilities and its autonomous nature means that it is able to satisfy the vast majority of its customers’ requirements in-house, although a small amount of specialist work is sub-contracted to trusted suppliers. When the volumes of its outsourced work dictate, where possible, Metal Assemblies pursues a policy of sourcing the required equipment and taking this work in-house. A case in point is the recent purchase of a 2.5 Meter capacity, FARO 8-Axis QuantumE ScanArm featuring a Laser Line Probe SD and advanced 8 Axis capabilities.
As Metal Assemblies has been experiencing rising demand, an increasing amount of the company’s important 3D component scanning work was being subcontracted. In addition to the delays that this caused, this out-sourced work was also proving to be expensive. As the volume of subcontracted 3D scanning recently reached a critical mass, a potential return on investment was calculated and a search was made for a suitable scanning system.
Even though Metal Assemblies’ 3D scanning subcontractor used a FARO 3D scanning system, other brands were also considered. Although, after witnessing practical demonstrations of several companies’ products, Metal Assemblies’ Quality Manager Simon Bullows believed that the 8-Axis QuantumE ScanArm was the most impressive system. Endorsements from several enthusiastic FARO users further convinced the company to place an order.
Simon Bullows explained. “In order to carry-on achieving the highest possible standards we design quality into our processes from the start of each project. Through actions such as design reviews, training, in process Poka yoke, and constant process monitoring, we strive to maintain the highest standards at all times.
“Our company wide policy of continuous improvement can be seen, not just in the high-quality presses and machine tools that we use to produce parts, but also in areas such as the bespoke manufacturing computer system that is used to support our processes from concept to despatch.
“This policy of constantly upgrading our facilities also applies to our Quality Department. To ensure that we continue to make use of the latest quality control technologies, we make regular investments in the latest digital inspection equipment, such as our recently installed FARO 8-Axis QuantumE ScanArm.
“Although we have a high-specification, fixed Coordinate Measuring Machine, it is unable to make the surface scans that we need when performing work such as product development. Therefore, for some time we have been out-sourcing this work. As the volumes of subcontracted 3D scanning work grew, it recently reached a level where it became feasible to purchase our own scanning device.
“Having considered equipment from other metrology companies, following an excellent demonstration, we came to the conclusion that the FARO 8-Axis QuantumE ScanArm fitted with the company’s FAROBlu Laser Line Probe was perfect for our needs.”
The recently launched, advanced FARO product seamlessly integrates a FARO QuantumE FaroArm with an eighth-axis, making the FARO 8-Axis QuantumE FaroArm the world’s first eight-axis portable coordinate measuring machine (PCMM). FARO claim that the QuantumE is the ideal, portable solution for companies that are looking for a cost-effective, user-friendly, efficient factory inspection system.
The accurate yet robust FaroArm has been tested to withstand the harshest shop-floor environments and delivers market-leading portability and ergonomics. When combined with the FARO Blu Laser Line Probe or the FARO Prizm Laser Line Probe, the FARO QuantumE FaroArm becomes a class-leading 3D laser scanning system.
As it was ideal for Metal Assembly’s use, the company ordered its 8-Axis QuantumE ScanArm fitted with the FAROBlu Laser Line Probe. This optically-superior, next generation of blue laser technology enables extremely fast scanning and delivers excellent results even on complex, dark, and reflective materials.
As the first portable CMM arm in the market to be internationally certified to ISO 10360-12 standards, FARO provides the ideal inspection tool solution, setting a new industry performance bar, and ensuring maximum measurement consistency and reliability. The FARO 3D measuring arm can perform in a wide range of work in conditions, including operating in extreme temperatures and in shop floor situations.
An industry exclusive, the integrated 8-Axis rotary scanning platform decreases scan time by up to 40%, as of now, there is no need to move around an object to scan it, instead, users simply rotate the platform as they probe or scan the part under inspection.
Simon Bullows concluded. “After our FARO training sessions, we are quickly becoming competent in the QuantumE’s use. In addition to performing all of the 3D scanning tasks that we previously outsourced, our FARO Quantum ScanArm is now proving ideal for a range of tasks such as fist article inspection (FAI). Given the speed and accuracy of our new FARO device, once our parts pass FAI inspection our production processes can proceed with confidence.
“Also, when a production run is underway, the QuantumE is ideal for quickly identifying component features that begin to deviate from nominal conditions, allowing prompt machine adjustments to be made before out of tolerance situations occur.
“Although purchased mainly for use in our QC department, as the QuantumE is portable and quick and easy to set-up, when needed, we can also perform in-process component inspection, on the shop-floor.
“While not yet used for this application, in future we anticipate using our FARO ScanArm to capture precise digital measurement data for reverse engineering parts that do not have relevant blueprints or CAD drawings.”