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With just a two-week window during a shutdown period, Inca Geometric rebuilt four complex fixtures on a special-purpose machine tool used for producing V8 engine crankshafts.

The fixtures – each of which had been in continuous three-shift production for over five years machining two crankshafts per cycle – weighed over two tonnes each.

Prior to the shutdown, Inca’s engineers surveyed the fixtures on-site and produced as many items as possible to reduce the lead time for the rebuild.

The company was responsible for stripping out the fixtures from the machine and shipping to the factory in Chartham, near Canterbury, and, following the rebuild, returning, refitting, re-commissioning the machine and gaining quality approval prior to factory start up.

As part of the rebuild a complete strip down of each fixture was performed with all wear parts replaced.

Location areas were either coated with ceramic or hard chromed and ground, all bearings, seals and linear ways were replaced.

Each hydraulic cylinder was stripped and either refurbished or replaced, valves checked and all hoses replaced with new.

‘The critical part of the whole operation, apart from the tight schedule, was the resetting of clamping heights which was achieved by replacing and regrinding spacers and shims against a master component and then re-aligning each fixture,’ said Mike Cain, managing director.

Inca’s engineers also had to build a test rig to power up the fixtures, check sequences and pressures, and finally clamp the master components in place.

The completed fixtures, with master components located and clamped, were then placed on Inca’s large-co-ordinate measuring machine and then measured to validate settings and generate a full inspection report for the customer.

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