Firm implants new CMM machines

24 April 2017

To help meet the demands of an increasing workload, Lancashire-based Orthoplastics has invested in two further Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S Coordinate Measuring Machines, bringing its Mitutoyo CMM count to five machines.

Orthoplastics develops and supplies both implantable grade plastics and biocompatible plastics for instrument applications. The company produces premium grade UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) and works closely with its partners to develop innovative orthopaedic implant products. 

In addition to using an advanced Mitutoyo CMM in its inspection department, Orthoplastics now has four Mitutoyo CMMs in its environmentally-controlled machining facility.

Orthoplastics quality manager, Chris Turner explains: “Because of continuing technological progress and growing regulatory requirements, the need for expert testing and the highest standards of management and control during each stage of production is vitally important to us. For the past 15 years our Mitutoyo CMMs and MeasurLink Quality Management Software has played an important role in our quality function. 

“Our shop-floor located Mitutoyo CMMs are kept busy undertaking accurate, in-process checks to help ensure the highest standards of manufacturing quality. As our multiple CMM programs are created off-line and stored on a central server, our skilled production personnel are able to quickly recall the program relevant to the part they are machining, load the part onto the machine and activate a fully automatic CNC inspection routine. The CMMs’ findings allow our operators to make the necessary machine adjustments to correct component dimensions that have deviated from a nominal condition.

“We use our Quality Department Mitutoyo CMM to prove all shop floor CMMs’ inspection programs and for tasks such as final inspection, first article inspection routines and to carry out GR&R (gage repeatability and reproducibility) studies. The findings of our CMMs are archived for traceability purposes.

“Although our CMMs were able to keep-pace with our recently increased production volumes, we considered that further production increases had the potential to place a strain on our important measuring functions. To ensure the continued efficient running of our CMMs we decided to source two further machines.

“While our previous three Mitutoyo CMMs have proved to be accurate and reliable, and despite the fact that we have enjoyed a good relationship with the staff of Mitutoyo UK, mindful of the potential technical progress of other CMM brands, we looked at a couple of other options. Having benchmarked the alternative CMMs with the equivalent Mitutoyo models, we concluded that the Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S CMM represented the ideal machine for our particular needs.

“Following a trouble-free installation, our two new Crysta-Apex S CMMs are delivering our required levels of precision and efficiency and have removed the potential for future measurement bottlenecks. Our collection of five Mitutoyo CMMs, with statistical monitoring software, enable live data capability analysis and allow us to take traditional inspection and processing to a new level of compliance and control.”

Mitutoyo Coordinate Measuring Machines are available in a range of sizes and accuracy classes to cover most precision 3D measuring applications.

A wide variety of both contact and non-contact probes enables numerous kinds of measurement tasks to be performed. Mitutoyo’s high quality hardware is backed by comprehensive analysis software for the interpretation of measurement results in a timely manner.

The advanced Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S CMM is a high accuracy machine, built using lightweight materials and an innovative moving-bridge type machine structure which is said to provide excellent motion stability that takes advantage of the models increased scanning speed. 

Equally at home in a temperature controlled inspection room or on a shop-floor, the Crysta-Apex S CMM has a temperature correction function (16 to 26°C) to aid accuracy when used in less than perfect conditions. In addition to point-to-point measurement, MPP-310Q and Mitutoyo Laser probes provide contact/non-contact scanning functions.

Increasing inspection throughput, the CRYSTA-Apex S has recently been equipped with a new controller; the UC-400 allows high speed measurement and movements with impressive accuracies.

Mitutoyo’s dedicated CMM software suite, MCOSMOS can be customised. Geometrical measurements, CAD based programming (on and off-line), PMI data, 2D and 3D comparisons, individual reports to meet customer’s needs, data output to other systems such as MeasurLink SPC software are all supported.