Metrology Service Solution: Repairing A Precision Aerospace Machine Tool
- Faro laser tracker
- easy laser
For any manufacturing company, the unexpected failure of a machine can cause a ripple effect of problems. Every minute a machine spends out of production costs valuable time and resources. When a Tacoma, WA aerospace parts manufacturer lost the use of one of its vital production machines, the company knew it needed expert repair services as quickly as possible. So they called in Omega Morgan’s Seattle metrology services.
As our team learned, the equipment in question was a 44,000-pound computer numerical control (CNC) machine that holds the important position of cutting aerospace and aircraft parts with extreme precision. The component that caused the machine’s failure was its X-Axis, the unusual design of which had exposed the bearing material rather than protecting it. This presented a unique opportunity to Omega Morgan’s metrology team, who felt that they could go beyond repairing the component by eliminating the factors that caused its failure in the first place.
DEVELOPING AN INDUSTRIAL METROLOGY SOLUTION
The team began by determining the design flaws that led to the component’s failure. They concluded that the main issue involved the bearing material, which had been bonded to the top of the X-Axis ways instead of underneath the table. Additionally, the oil runners had been carved through the bearing material into the cast iron. Therefore, with every cut the machine made during operation, metal chips set themselves into the grooves, which, over time, tore the bearing material off the ways.
Over three days, our metrology professionals engineered an innovative solution to protect the bearing material and provide longer-lasting performance. Once the crew determined that the repair and refurbishment could take place on location — rather than bringing the massive machine to the Seattle metrology shop — they ordered the necessary materials to complete the project and get the machine back to work.
METROLOGY MACHINE TOOL REFURBISHMENT
The complexity of the X-Axis refurbishment project required the precise application of both old-school hand-scraping methods and highly advanced laser technology. Along with their laser instruments, two metrology specialists relied on their highly trained skills and years of experience to complete the project within the tight five-week timeframe.
Omega Morgan’s metrology team began by rigging the table onto the X-Axis guideways in preparation for fitting the gibs, aligning the ball screw, and finally, re-assembling the machine. This step of the upgrade included replacing the original bearing material with a specific type of epoxy and removing the oil grooves from the ways. Our technicians used a Faro Laser Tracker and Easy Laser to check the dimensions at the micron scale and determine the appropriate height of the bearing material. Next, they placed new oil grooves — machined in a similar pattern — underneath the table. This removed the grooves from the danger of machining chips accumulating under the way covers, and it allowed the oiling system to supply the underside of the table with the correct amount of oil.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES – METROLOGY STYLE
Executing the new upgrades took patience and precision, as each layer required time to dry before being checked and adjusted. Finally, after machining the new oil grooves under the table and replacing the ball screw, the X-Axis Table could be reinstalled into the 17-foot long by 14-foot wide by 12-foot high CNC machine.
Using laser measuring equipment and skillful hand-scraping techniques, Omega Morgan technicians went beyond returning the X-Axis component to its former manufacturing glory. By relocating the oil grooves and replacing the bearing material, the X-Axis now has advanced precision capabilities and is unlikely to experience unexpected production downtime in the future.
Our client greatly appreciated the Omega Morgan metrology team’s ingenuity and dedication to getting the job done right.