Home > Renishaw’s measurement system reduces inspection times and gains new business for world-class manufacturer

Renishaw’s measurement system reduces inspection times and gains new business for world-class manufacturer

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article image REVO 5-axis measuring head and probe system

Renishaw’s REVO 5-axis measuring head and probe system was installed at a world-class precision engineering company for greater accuracy and efficiency in operations. 

Established 30 years ago, Future Advanced Manufacture Ltd (Future AM) was positioned by founder Mike Sullivan as a company that focussed on engineering work with specific attributes including high intellectual property (IP) values, safety critical applications and highly complex designs.  

Future AM now specialises in precision engineering for clients in some of the world’s most demanding industries with a need for ongoing research, development and testing including medical, aeronautical, space and oilfield exploration sectors.  

According to the firm’s managing director Craig Peterson, their clients demand excellence both in the accuracy of the design and build and also in the efficiency of the operation. He believes that long-term success comes from investment in highly skilled engineers and continuous improvement in their systems and technology such as the acquisition of Renishaw’s REVO 5-axis measurement system in July 2010.

Future AM offers specialised expertise in the aerospace industry, having also gained AS9100 certification towards the end of 2009 for its capabilities in producing ‘high complexity components and assemblies for aerospace applications’.  

As one of Europe’s leading designers and manufacturers of aerodynamic models used in wind-tunnel tests, the company has worked with Airbus and The Aircraft Research Association in Bedford for a number of years. This world-class reputation helped the firm win its first significant contract in the US in early 2010.  

Craig reveals that the work involves making titanium blades for a new propulsion system requiring a very stringent validation process, which their existing metrology equipment was unable to fulfil. Future AM, therefore turned to Renishaw and their REVO 5-axis measurement system for help.

Mike explains that Renishaw’s REVO and MODUS package was selected because Future AM was developing a Digital Product Definition (DPD) cycle based on the secure transfer of data using Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA, which allowed them to share information, including CAD files with customers and suppliers quickly and safely.  

MODUS was able to pick up and directly interrogate the CATIA V5 files while Future AM was also able to retrofit the REVO head to their existing CMM, which speeded up the installation.

Key features of REVO 5-axis measuring head and probe system: 

  • Maximises the throughput of new and existing coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) through greater accuracy, faster measurement, more automation and new capabilities 
  • Uses synchronised motion and Renscan5 measurement technology to minimise the dynamic effects of CMM motion at ultra high speeds 
  • Uses Renishaw’s new MODUS software to take full advantage of CAD-driven programming 
  • MODUS software works with standard industry programming languages 
Due to time constraints, Future AM used a REVO at Renishaw’s facility (also in Gloucestershire) to validate the work while they had their own system installed. Their ability to get every blade out on time, on budget and with no rejections resulted in further work from the US client. The company has also benefited immensely in other areas of operation from their investment in the Renishaw technology.   

The REVO and MODUS systems have improved Future AM’s metrology department’s final validation service by 80%. For instance, the new REVO system takes only about 10 minutes to validate work on a high precision imaging drum, which could take an hour on the old machine. The MODUS software has improved the accuracy of the post-machining operation because of the level of detail in its reports.

According to Craig, this improvement in efficiency and accuracy has enabled the company to offer reverse engineering services for components created in the pre-CAD period. The component is first laser scanned and the data turned into a point cloud, which is run through SolidWorks and Visi Reverse software to create a virtual 3D surface. REVO is then used to compare the new virtual surface with the original part to validate possible engineering processes before making the cloned parts.

Craig observes that the combination of REVO and MODUS is one of the most sophisticated reporting and validation systems available, helping Future AM keep ahead of its European competitors in aerodynamic testing. Renishaw’s technology allows the company to produce inspection data by direct comparison with the original CAD model in tabular and visual reports.

There has been a surge in demand from clients using Future AM as a sub-contractor for final inspection and validation, even when the firm hasn’t been involved in making the original products.  

In addition to design and manufacturing capabilities as well as a comprehensive, ISO 9001:2008 or AS9100 certified service, their clients like the fact that Future AM can integrate seamlessly with their own, using secure pathways for the transfer of original data.  

Future AM is considering investing more in their metrology department in 2011 simply to cope with the new business.  

Renishaw Oceania represents the Renishaw Group in Australia and New Zealand.

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