A coordinate measurement machine (CMM) can bring more to a production facility than just the capability of determining part accuracy. Quality EDM, Incorporated, specializing in wire, sinker, and fast hole electrical discharge machining, quickly realized this after using their new Zeiss CMM. They acquired a key contract, gained additional customers, and increased overall business.
Quality EDM, located in Anaheim, California, started out with just three EDM machines in 1993, and now have grown to the largest EDM shop in California. In 2008, they had the opportunity to acquire a large contract order from a new customer in the radar industry. They were asked to produce a sample part to show their capabilities. When this potential customer compared Quality EDM’s manual measurements of the part with their own measurements on their Zeiss CMM, they had conflicting results.
Matching Customer Measurements
Quality EDM decided to purchase a Zeiss Contura G2 RDS 7/7/6 to match the CMM of their new potential customer. It allowed them to get the same high-accuracy results and duplicate their customer’s inspection criteria exactly. They quickly won their customer’s confidence and gained the critical order. Through the success of this project, a turning point in their business, Quality EDM was referred to four other radar industry customers and increased their overall business by 20 percent.
“When you tell a customer you have a Zeiss CMM, they know it’s top of the line, “says Mike Gervais, president of Quality EDM.
100% Inspection Requirement
Most parts arrive at Quality EDM about 80 percent complete, yet many customers need 100-percent inspection on every part. Manual inspection would be too time consuming for this requirement. With the Contura G2, the parts are first measured for incoming inspection, and then for final inspection after EDM. Quality EDM typically measures about 30 to 40 parts a day, including various types and sizes from tiny surgical components to large aerospace parts. They serve a diverse range of industries including aerospace, medical, radar and fiber optic. Some of their customers include Boeing, 3M, JPL, Parker Hannifin and GE.
Before the Contura G2, Quality EDM inspected parts every day manually with comparators and microscopes. While target tolerances of two ten thousandths of an inch could be met for some measurements, hurdles existed for other areas. Manual inspection allowed for more human error and results were not as repeatable as they wanted. Since their customers have to perform first article inspection, they could not start a job while they waited for the inspection results.
Keeping Up with Production
The Zeiss CMM has provided excellent performance and the benefits are obvious.
“Production output has doubled and parts aren’t waiting to be inspected,” states Gervais. “Parts are evaluated immediately, thus eliminating scrap. First article inspections are now done in-house, eliminating the delay on project start time. Quality EDM is also finding even more uses for the Contura G2. It’s helping with Quality EDM’s various certifications, which includes ISO 9001 for general quality control, AS9100, and NADCAP. The system aids by providing more repeatable results and by printing custom documentation.
“Before the CMM, we had to manually write all dimensions on the inspection sheets,” says Gervais.
The custom printing option allows them to cut their paperwork in half.
Today, the CMM is inspecting parts for 10 to 12 hours a day. Quality EDM’s production floor is almost at capacity, and if things continue to grow, they anticipate the need for an additional CMM to keep up the inspections. Service and support has added to the confidence Quality EDM has in their results.
“The Zeiss technical support staff can easily communicate with me via online conferencing and usually have me up and running within 10 minutes,” Gervais says. “The Contura G2 not only got us a critical order at the right time, but it also gives us the daily confidence of knowing the part is right when it comes off the machine.”