Boston Centerless - Precision Matters Magazine Precision Matters Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 5

MATERIAL VALIDATION CENTER To UT or Not to UT? THAT WAS THE QUESTION OVER THE last few years there has been much more emphasis placed on quality and risk prevention in the metals and machining industry than ever before. Requirements pushed back up the supply chain from medical implant and aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have increased the demand for defect-free materials. And specification changes are now requiring additional testing at various steps along the supply chain resulting in growing demands on testing capacity. For example, ASTM requirements for ultrasonic testing (UT) related to implants added a requirement after the grinding process for precision materials. Prior to that, material testing could be completed in the rough stage at the mill, or was performed after final turning of the parts by the end user. This additional step and the resultant capacity requirements pushed capacity and lead-time for testing beyond a reasonable level. That additional requirement slowed the entire process down, from manufacturing and testing to shipping, leading to prolonged delivery times and unhappy customers. Cracking the Code Boston Centerless (BC) strives to be a full-service market leader in materials supply. With that in mind, we launched a study to better understand industry requirements and customer needs in order to develop a solution specific to the products that we manufacture that would address capacity as well as turn time. Working with a testing equipment manufacturer, we developed an in- house Material Validation Center (MVC) to address the specific demands of our products. By focusing mainly on the round bar materials that represent the majority of our product line, we developed a high-speed, automated, Ultrasonic and Eddy Current testing line that can test round bar products from .180” diameter to 1.00” diameter. The automated high-speed capabilities enabled us to address the turn time for the specific testing, as well as eliminate the logistical issues involved with preparing, packaging, and transporting material to an outside testing vendor. Our staff and equipment have been certified to meet ASTM, ASNT, ISO, and NADCAP requirements which allow us to test for any of our medical and aerospace customers’ needs. The line also features an integrated X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) capability for alloy verification to assure our customers of defect free material. These capabilities coupled with laser marking allow Boston Centerless to virtually guarantee the products we supply to be defect free and to very exacting tolerances. So what has the MVC brought to our customers? A few key things: • Decreased internal and external lead-times. • Cost reduction across the board. Internal testing removes the need for third-party outside testing. • Removal of external testing requirements reduces shipping costs, the chances of material 5 • damage during shipping, and turnaround times. Gives customers a one-stop, worry- free supplier for their materials needs without having to manage multiple vendors, saving them time and money. Final Thoughts The MVC was a major investment for BC. Going through months of effort for training, getting certifications, and gaining a thorough understanding of the capabilities of the process has, however, paid off in the end. How? In the form of reduced cost for customers, reduced lead times, improved material quality, and dramatically improved quality control in manufacturing both in-house and with customers. With the addition of these capabilities, BC continues to demonstrate our commitment to quality, customer satisfaction, and our dedication to be “precise in everything we do”. David Mersereau David Mersereau is the Sr. Vice President/ General Manager at Boston Centerless. David has over 38 years of experience in operations, manufacturing, quality systems & control processes, supply chain management, material testing & validation, and Lean manufacturing. Prior to working at Boston Centerless, David held senior level positions at Altron Inc., Sanmina Corporation, North American Industries, and George Roberts Corporation. David holds a BS in Biology/Chemistry from Lowell Technological Institute and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business.