WIRE NEWS WN September 2019 - Page 4

GAMMA AEROSPACE - Structural Success Aerospace manufacturing company upgrades its inspection capabilities with two new pieces of equipment from KEYENCE Gamma Aerospace LLC produces big parts: stringers and struts, doors and access panels, seat tracks, spars, and more, some longer than a pickup truck. In fact, if it’s used to construct a commercial airliner, helicopter, or military aircraft, chances are good that it came from Gamma. But the Mansfield, Texas manufacturer makes plenty of small parts as well—the brackets and fittings, for example, that are needed to assemble larger structural components into a functioning aircraft. This product diversity was the problem facing Gamma’s director of quality and operations, Jason Jackson: how to measure the miniature, in a shop geared towards the macro? Terrific capabilities, tiny needs “Our digital inspection area has an array of measuring equipment including coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and portable inspection arms, but even our smallest CMM has an 8-foot bed, and the arm has a 6-foot inspection envelope,” he says. “These are fine for our larger parts, but we also machine an awful lot of small, tight-tolerance parts. We found it time-consuming and a little awkward to setup a humungous measuring machine for parts that you can hold in your hand.” One of these was a triangular, two-inch long metal clip destined for Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet, which Gamma machines in quantities of 300 of parts per month. Until recently, one of Jackson’s team members would inspect a representative sample of each production lot on one of the CMMs, but because the parts would later be cadmium plated, it was necessary to 100% inspect each of the part’s three close-tolerance holes, verifying they would meet post-plating tolerance requirements. “The CMM part of the inspection process wasn’t super long, maybe 10 minutes or so, but we had to use an inside micrometer to check all the holes,” Jackson explains. “Think about hand-checking three- hundred parts times three holes each—that’s 900 holes per job. That’s what got me thinking about the KEYENCE.” 4 WIRE NEWS September 2019