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Height Gages Triple Inspection Speed

Life would be simpler if we could safely drive three times as fast as we do now. As individuals, we could increase our productivity by decreasing our travel time.

Less time in the car would be more time at work or play. It would be a transportation revolution.

Although the arena in which Action EDM & Tool, Concord, NC, is involved is not transportation, the ability to triple parts inspection speed has changed the way the company works. Recent instrument acquisitions have helped Action EDM substantially speed and simplify its critically important 100% parts product inspection to the point where the company can approach zero-defects for its customers.

Primarily manufacturing electronic connector tooling (high speed fineblanking dies) to a close tolerance of ±.0001´´, Action EDM's highest priorities are product repeatability and accumulated accuracy. With customers whose specifications are extremely tight, "we have made major advances in achieving these objectives quite recently," says David Fry, president of the four-year-old company.

"At a time when new CNC and higher tech inspection equipment make our need for accuracy an increasingly demanding challenge, this rate of growth is difficult to sustain unless we take innovative approaches to instrumentation for in-process and final inspection, which helps us develop new ways to meet the needs of our customers for even shorter lead times at reduced costs. We can't afford to think conventionally about these things," he says.

The inspection procedure typifies how the company has improved its operations, says Roger Greeley, QA manager. "Formerly we relied on gage block setups and digital height towers for our inch-metric accuracy assessments. Since the month of March, when we purchased two Fowler/Sylvac Z-Cal Height Gages--one 0.6´´, the other a 0-12´´ model--we can zero off the table directly in these inspection operations. For every hour we used to spend in inspection with the block and towers, we now spend only 15 min with this high precision Swiss instrument."

Conservatively, the company tripled the speed of inspection, says Mr Greely. In addition, the company's versatility has increased, because it has eliminated the errors of human touch and has added the ability to check parallelisms, sizes, and location.

Fowler indicates the instrument is especially designed for measuring fragile and sensitive parts. Its probe speed is proportional to finger pressure as it measures heights, depths, slots, internal and external diameters, the distance between centers and position--all with an accuracy of 2µ. Mr Fry adds that the deluxe probe set his company uses permits location inspections of threaded holes. Also, probes can be changed and calibrated in about 1 min. The gage is light in weight (9.4-11.66 lb, respectively, for the two models) and compact in size (14´´ and 20´´) and sold with a five-year warranty.