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New Instruments Cut Quality Costs 20%

Hytrol Extends Lead in Conveyor Systems: New Instruments Give 20% Reduction in Quality Cost.
Jonesboro, Arkansas-With its new Quality Laboratory in full swing, Hytrol Conveyor Company-the largest producer of conveyor hardware in North and South America-is assuring its top position in the field by focusing on having the latest and most advanced metrology instruments as well as reinforcing its guaranteed 24-hour shipment policy. It serves a broad range of industries-from producers of electronic equipment, food and retail stores, to rubber products, beverage and computer manufacturers.
Checking the bore of bearing on the input shaft of a reducer housing.
 
The company's success, based on a strong distributor network and responsive customer service, continues to lead the industry because of its emphasis on streamlining the flow of materials and better integration of its manufacturing process. Much of the focus today is on conveyor quality, and the new Quality Lab is a key factor in assuring flaw-free manufacturing. Recently Hytrol conducted a complete accuracy check on its laboratory shop tools, among them a broad range of Fowler Swiss and British-made height, depth, and bore gages, pin and gage block sets and digital hardness testers.
 
Fowler/Bowers on the Job

For the high precision functioning of its conveyors, Hytrol's reducer manufacturing operations, in which the housings require tight machining tolerances of .001" (with a plus and minus range of .0005"), are critical. This means high accuracy in measuring parts. Of special help have been the Fowler/Bowers pistol-grip bore gages. "These give us SPC compatibility for our CNC machining operations," according to Sam Wright, Manager of Hytrol's Technical Design Support. "The older model bore gages can no longer meet our needs."

To machine out the rollers for the precision bearings mounted on the rollers that are responsible for the smooth functioning of its conveyor systems, as well as the 214" diameter press-in bearings in its pulley tubes, advanced digital micrometers and calipers play a critical role.

Wright explains: "The smaller the diameter of the pulley, the more RPM it experiences. Because steel parts are so small today, we can't use cast iron bearings, which are too large. A precision pulley needs an instrument like the Bowers pistol grip gage. Bowers bore gages employed by Hytrol have a range of 34-4", 4-5" and 5-6".

Wright explained that the quality auditors, who used to work on the shop floor to check on initial specification settings for the machinery, now can do much more precise work in the new Quality Laboratory environment. "The lab gives us a good back-up for the on-line checking operations," Wright added. "The next step we plan is to have full-time technicians in the laboratory which will relieve the auditors to expand their checking work."

As part of its overall efficiency plans, this past July 50-year old Hytrol had Rockford (Illinois) Calibration Services certify all the company's tools, a process that will be repeated next year.

Fowler's hardness tester is used in checking a cast iron reducer housing.
Overall, Wright says, the more accurate new measuring instruments and systems now being used by the company are on record to have "reduced our cost of quality by 20%, by virtue of the drastically reduced remake work and improved product quality. We have been measuring these results of our quality efforts for more than two years."

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