Delcam’s PowerINSPECT aids inspection in a demanding environment
Few users of CimCore’s inspection arm and Delcam’s PowerINSPECT inspection software face conditions as demanding as those found in Waupaca Foundry Co.’s Plant 1 in Waupaca, Wisconsin, USA. Measurements have to be made in one of the hottest, noisiest and most confined areas of the foundry, between the automatic moulding machines and the ladles that pour molten metal into the moulds.
The plant produces brake rotors and brake drums, transmission housings, hydraulic pump housings, flywheels, intake and exhaust manifolds, cylinder heads, crankshafts, pulleys, brackets, and covers for electric motors. These castings go into cars, SUVs and a wide range of trucks and buses, as well as construction machinery and farm equipment.
Precision requirements are increasing all the time; inspection measurements are now held to 0.002 or 0.003 inch, a span smaller than the grains of sand fed into the moulding machines. Many parts are now used by customers as received from the foundry with no further machining. Tighter tolerances are needed to reduce the time castings spend in grinding operations, so speeding deliveries and saving labour costs. In addition, customers have automated the machining of their castings. With no human machine-tool operators to adjust tool offsets or tweak NC programs, very little part-to-part variability can be accommodated in machining.
"Customer demands pushed us to use the portable CMM and PowerINSPECT,” reported Steve Buck, Plant 1 layout engineer and the primary user of the system. "It could never be done with conventional fixed CMM.”"
PowerINSPECT allows us to generate complete, step by step reports to our customers for verification of inspections on production, sample and first-time castings,” Buck added. "Once the point data has been electronically downloaded into a template, all the statistical process control and trending functions are available to us.”
Waupaca has also begun using PowerINSPECT’s automated report generator to create initial sample inspection reports (ISIRs) for Caterpillar Inc., a major customer. "We designed the PowerINSPECT report to look just like the forms that Caterpillar requires,” Buck said. "This saves us a huge amount of time; before, we had to enter the data manually. It also eliminates a potential source of error since the inspection data is downloaded right into each ISIR.”