Inspecting parts in all phases of a manufacturing process is crucial for the many customers of KEYENCE, a specialist in precision measurement and automation. The company offers a wide range of measurement and inspection products, deployed across both production, assembly line and laboratory environments, to ensure its customers achieve their quality goals. The company’s industry-leading IM Series Image Dimension Measurement systems allow customers to accurately and instantaneously perform dimensional inspections at a level of precision that that was not previously possible.
For high precision measurement applications, KEYENCE offers a variety of measurement systems that quickly communicate whether manufactured parts are good… or no good. When so much is at stake, KEYENCE measurement systems consistently deliver benefits to customers – including first-time customers. Enter Rudd Macnamara, formerly an engraving company established by Ernest Rudd in 1890. The Rudd Macnamara of today is a diverse manufacturing organisation centred on print. The company is based in Handsworth near Birmingham, in the very heart of the United Kingdom’s industrial area.
“We have a very wide range of in-house processes and we offer our customers innovative print solutions, which they may not be able to find elsewhere” explains Graham Caunce, Managing Director at Rudd Macnamara. “Two of the most important markets we serve are the brewery & drinks sector where we manufacture bespoke font branding, beer pump clips, and bar signs; and the aerospace sector where we manufacture nameplates and labels used on equipment that is incorporated into aircraft, and also branding decals for aircraft exteriors.”
Rudd Macnamara management identified a need for more precise measuring equipment as a direct result of end users’ complex requirements. “Dimensional integrity of our nameplates is critical to our business” continues Caunce. “Most of the nameplates we make are in anodised aluminium or stainless steel manufactured using a variety of processing techniques resulting in some level of variability that needs to be controlled and eliminated”
The Midlands specialist had been manufacturing these parts for many years. However, it became of the utmost importance to improve assurance processes according to Graham Caunce. “We started looking not only at digital optical measuring solutions but also at our internal manufacturing processes to reduce those variabilities which includes hard tooling.”
Being able to guarantee parts were consistently within tolerance was crucial to Rudd Macnamara’s future success. With that in mind, company management took a closer look at tooling. “We felt that to achieve the tolerances required on a consistent basis some of the processes employed needed to be replaced by blanking and piercing tools as well as CNC processing where possible” says Caunce.
Staff also needed a quick way of checking that what they were manufacturing was in line with drawing. This is where the investment in a KEYENCE IM-7000 system proved especially helpful: it allows faster, easier and more consistent measurements of width, radius and height… all with a single device. The amount of time and effort required for inspection is reduced drastically. In addition, measurement data from the IM-7000 system is automatically saved as soon as a part is measured. Inspection reports can be created with the push of a button, increasing post-measurement work efficiency.
According to Rudd Macnamara’s managing director, the best word to describe how this acquisition helped the company is ‘assurance’. It is now possible to quickly check a large number of parts and identify any rejects. Rudd Macnamara’s personnel know that what is supplied is correct, in line with drawing and within tolerance. Moreover, where the KEYENCE machine identifies a high number of rejects, staff are able to review the route to manufacture and quickly identify any improvements that are required.
“We looked at other machines but we found the KEYENCE IM-7000 system was quick to program and even quicker to use” analyses Caunce, who says Rudd Macnamara found its own ‘sweet spot’: “We find it is best to load the bed with some 10 parts. That makes it is easy to keep track of the good parts and identify any rejects. We can also identify and measure print whereas competitive machines could not.”
Since Rudd Macnamara introduced this new measurement machine, internal reject rates have improved. “That can only help the bottom line” concludes the company’s managing director.