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Established over 50 years ago, R.A. Labone is a manufacturer of precision plastic injection mouldings, insert mouldings, metal pressings and various types of assemblies. Based in the UK with additional manufacturing facilities Germany, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, Labone supplies products to a wide range of discerning blue-chip customers across the globe.
As the technology had proven to be ideal for the inspection of high-volume, high-accuracy metal parts, modern CNC, multisensor measuring systems have now been embraced by many leading companies within the global plastics industry.
Rather than use, for instance a traditional CMM, a laser scanner and a profile projector, to measure parts’ features, an operator is now able to load multiple injection molded components onto the bed of multi-sensor measuring system, recall a part program, then undertake an accurate, fully automatic CNC measuring routine.
Typical of the quality-conscious plastic industry companies making use of advanced multisensor measuring systems is R.A. Labone & Co Ltd. Established over 50 years ago, the company is a manufacturer of precision plastic injection mouldings, insert mouldings, metal pressings and various types of assemblies. With a head office, engineering department, toolmaking and high-tech manufacturing plant located in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, UK, and access to additional manufacturing facilities in the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, Labone supplies products to a wide range of discerning blue-chip customers across the globe. Challenging sectors served include the automotive, medical and electrical equipment industries.
Labone has invested in hi-tech, computer controlled injection moulding machines, robotic loading systems and part-specific jigs and fixtures to support the mass production of intricate, high tolerance injection and insert mouldings. To help the company’s busy inspection department keep pace with the ever increasing output from its impressive production equipment, a search was made for an accurate, high-speed measuring system.
Having had practical demonstrations of several non-contact measuring machines, Labone decided that the SmartScope Flash 500 from OGP® UK was the ideal solution to the company’s measuring problems.
Bryan Brownlow, R. A. Labone Quality Technician explained “Labone has achieved all of the major quality standards applicable to our business and are currently certified to ISO 9001, ISO/ TS 16949, ISO 13485 and ISO 14001. To ensure the continuity of our reputation for quality, we pursue a policy of continuous investment in our technical resources.
Brownlow continued, “Having witnessed other measuring systems in action, a demonstration performed by OGP’s staff proved that the company’s SmartScope Flash 500 was able to detect things that the other products we saw could not pick-up. Also the accuracy, speed and ease of use of the OGP system meant that it outperformed the other systems.
“Although the OGP machine combines a Touch Probe and Optical measuring systems in a single fully programmable unit, the excellent training received from OGP, combined with the system’s ease of use, meant that our quality personnel soon mastered the machine’s controls.
“As we were quickly able to write, store, and recall specific part programs, then load multiple parts onto the machine, the SmartScope Flash 500 was soon performing high-accuracy measuring routines on complex, high volume injection mouldings. Its ability to measure multiple features on a number of samples in one set-up has provided significant programming and cycle time savings. The fact that we are able to make fast, precise measurements on the most complex of parts means that we are able to provide almost instant dimensional feed-back to production to ensure the continued quality of our output.”
Regarding success of the implementation, Brownlow stated, “Given the demanding nature of the industrial sectors we serve, the SmartScope Flash 500’s excellent reporting function has been a major benefit. If required, at the end of each measuring routine, the OGP machine produces a detailed inspection report.
“Given the sheer magnitude of our output and the challenging accuracy specifications of our injection molded parts, we were delighted to find a technology that had the speed to precisely measure our multiple parts in a fast, automatic CNC mode.
“As our OGP measuring system has proven so successful, to help accommodate the output from further high-volume additions to our manufacturing plant, we have recently installed a second SmartScope Flash 500.”
OGP’s SmartScope Flash is popular throughout the world where accurate, automatic dimensional measuring routines are required. To ensure consistent measurement accuracy, the system has a high quality, 12:1 zoom lens that calibrates itself at every magnification change with the exclusive AccuCentric®. Innovative solid state illumination sources, color camera, and OGP metrology software make every Flash model a powerful video measuring system. In addition, each Flash model is multisensor capable, supporting touch probe, laser scanner, and micro-probe technologies.
To ensure that each customer receives a SmartScope Flash to exactly match their needs, each model can be customized with the addition of powerful options, such as 4th and 5th axis rotary indexers.
The SmartScope Flash 500, as purchased by Labone, provides rapid Flash features and performance in a large travel bridge-design system. Parts move on a precision DC motor-driven Y-axis stage while the optics assembly travels in the X-axis across a stable bridge cross member. This configuration assures rapid, smooth part translation and robust measurement performance.