Measuring The Future With High-Tech Metrology Lab Equipment

Recent investments in high-level metrology equipment at Birmingham-based GB Precision mean customers in demanding industry sectors, such as aerospace and motorsport, can be assured of receiving components offering pinpoint dimensional accuracy and geometric conformance.
Uncompromising quality is the ethos at GB Precision, a progressive engineering company with a continuous improvement strategy that is continually reviewed and developed. For instance, the recently refurbished metrology laboratory at this specialist in complex tooling solutions and machined parts houses a wealth of measurement and inspection technology that make it the envy of other toolrooms and machine shops.

Taking center stage are two Mitutoyo coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) providing a measuring volume of up to 700 x 1000 x 600 mm. These CRYSTA Apex 7106 and BHN-710 models feature full CNC control, scanning capability, indexing probes and probe changing racks for measuring complex parts in a single setup. GB Precision also deploys microscopes and projection equipment for detailed inspection of profiles and other visual inspection features.

Guaranteed geometrical conformance
While some customers are satisfied just knowing that their parts are within tolerance from a dimensional perspective, components and tools for many modern engineering applications also need to meet a high degree of geometrical conformance – and few subcontractors can offer metrology equipment of sufficient capability to address such demands. This is where GB Precision provides customers with a competitive advantage through its range of state-of-the-art instruments from Mitutoyo.

For instance, a Mitutoyo RA2100 roundness tester makes light work of high-accuracy geometric measurements including roundness, cylindricity, concentricity and perpendicularity as well as other, even more specialized measurements on round form components.

Vital importance of roundness
External cylindrical features and precision bores are extremely common geometrical elements in aerospace and motorsport parts, and will often require a full analysis of accuracy. With this in mind, the RA2100 at GB Precision features linear scales in the X/Z drive units that guarantee high-precision measurement, while an automatic turntable for workpiece centering and levelling offers extremely high accuracy in both the radial and axial directions. During rotation, a highly sensitive transducer measures radial variations of the component with respect to the turntable axis. A circle can then be fitted to this data and the roundness calculated from knowledge of the component center. Furthermore, detector holder arm orientation (vertical/horizontal) and detector rotation (within a range between 0 to 270°, in increments of 1°) are controlled automatically to provide continuous measurement of OD, ID, and top and bottom surfaces.

Form measurement capability
Complementing the roundness tester is a Mitutoyo Formtracer SV-C3100 contour tester capable of measuring complex form shapes, combinations of flat and curved surfaces, and allowing high-accuracy measurement of the results. Attachments are also available to allow measurement inside small holes. The SV-C3100 uses digital scales and the scale in the form unit enables a resolution of 0.0002 mm to be achieved over the full stroke of 50 mm in the Z direction. And, unlike conventional differential transformer units, there is no alteration in resolution as the magnification range changes. The result is a dramatic improvement in operation and performance.

Sub-contract measurement
GB Precision also has invested in a Mitutoyo Surftest SJ-401 portable surface roughness tester which offers compactness, skid-less measurement, ease of operation and, of course, high-accuracy roughness detection. The combination of these metrology instruments provides significant advantages to GB Precision’s own customers, as well as others with high-specification components who opt to use the company’s impressive metrology laboratory on a subcontract basis.