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In 2008, JCB Heavy Products opened a new £43 million factory, in Staffordshire, UK. One of the biggest single investments in JCB’s history, the facility employs a 350-strong workforce in the design and manufacture of the 25-strong range of JCB tracked and wheeled excavators, weighing from seven up to 46 tonnes.

Part of the company’s investment has been in new machining centres and extremely accurate jigs and fixtures, the use of which puts JCB in direct control of component quality. The new machining centres are able to self-position and ‘find’ components to maximise machining precision, giving consistent quality to fabrications.

To help ensure the continued accuracy and quality of the company’s fabrications JCB’s Heavy Products plant administers a stringent policy of regular jig and fixture calibration.

Andy Young, manufacturing engineering manager, said: “As the accuracy of our jigs and fixtures plays such a critical role in the precision of our fabrications and the eventual build quality of our products, we made a decision to establish a jig and fixture calibration regime with calibration time intervals based on the perceived requirements of each individual piece of equipment.”

He added: “The precision of the FARO Vantage Laser Tracker used by Manchester Metrology for calibrating our jigs and fixtures enables the generation of detailed traceable certificates. Also, on the rare occasion that any aspect of a jig or fixture is highlighted as drifting from its nominal position, we are able to take the relevant corrective steps and re-calibrate the fixture to confirm its accuracy.

“Through these actions we are able to pre-empt any possible problems and further ensure our continued quality standards. Also, we have been able to fine-tune the calibration intervals of each of our jigs and fixtures based on experience and gathered data.

“In addition to calibration procedures, Manchester Metrology’s use of the FARO Laser Tracker has proved invaluable in determining the accuracy of our first-off prototypes, prior to being signed-off for manufacture. Also, the advanced FARO equipment is used for generating initial sample reports on all new sub-assemblies.”

Paul Bulman, owner of Manchester Metrology, said: “We were able to formulate a suitable plan of action to enable the accurate and efficient calibration of the JCB’s important jigs and fixtures. As the FARO Vantage laser tracker is portable and suitable for large-scale measuring, we use this very accurate equipment for our regular on-site work at JCB. Having used the tracker and FARO CAM2 Measure 10 software to measure and capture the dimensions of critical features on a jig or fixture, we are then able to compare the data to CAD models and when necessary identify areas that could cause future concerns.

“In the same way, when involved in checking prototype fabricated parts or sub-assemblies, we are able to judge the gathered data against engineering drawing. As some of JCB Heavy Products’ fabrications can measure up to 7m in length, the large capacity and high accuracy specification of the FARO Laser Tracker Vantage makes it suitable for this type of work.”

The FARO Laser Tracker is an extremely accurate, portable coordinate measuring machine that enables customers to build products, optimise processes, and deliver solutions by measuring quickly, simply and precisely.

The FARO Vantage also has a high accuracy capability, a large measurement range, and advanced features such as MultiView cameras, SmartFind target detection, TruADM, innovative packaging, and a water and dust resistant IP52 rating.

Manchester Metrology

Manchester Metrology Ltd is a North West based company specialising in Metrology Equipment with an ISO9001:2008 accreditation. Established in 2008 by Paul Bulman who gained major knowledge of the portable inspection equipment within his 3 years at Faro uk working with the Faro Arm and previous employment with laser trackers and laser scanners. Manchester Metrology LTD specialize in the inspection of engineered components such as metrology equipment to fine tolerances at a high standard, paying attention to detail and offering a helpful and positive attitude to all our customers, its these attributes that distinguish our company as a benchmark metrology equipment company.

At Manchester Metrology our friendly engineers are competent and well trained to work with a Faro Laser Tracker, Faro arm, CMM and Laser scanners which range from 4ft to 180 meters and accuracy’s from .005mm meaning we have a measurement device to suit your requirements.

At our fully air conditioned Facility we are able to offer onsite and offsite training on all known portable metrology software to your new starters or as a refresher to your existing employees. Faro arm/Gage Calibrations and a wide range of parts and accessories in stock.

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