Stationary CMM Points Aerospace Gear Manufacturer toward Excellence

by Andrew Scarella on May 25, 2016 From News And Comment, Technology


Legendary NBA Coach Pat Riley famously said, “Excellence is the result of always striving to do better”. In the case of Triumph Gear, the organization strives for excellence by embracing the values of integrity, innovation, quality and service, flawless execution, and commitment. Triumph Gear, an ACE (Achieving Competitive Excellence) Gold aerospace company focuses on excellence in every aspect of their company, including their metrology department. 

Triumph Gear began as ACR Industries back in 1976 and was acquired by The Triumph Group in 2000. Their name changed in 2004 to Triumph Gear – Macomb. Over the last 40 years, the company has built a solid reputation based on their high-level of expertise in machining precision gears for the aerospace industry. In the past decade, they have expanded the business to include much larger components such as housings and sub-assemblies. Today, the company manufactures over 500 different parts, producing approximately 28,800 parts annually.

In order to be successful, Triumph needed a solution that would guarantee repeatability while maintaining the overall accuracy in the components they manufacture. The company wanted to efficiently run their programs to eliminate their growing backlog while increasing their overall throughput. They also required a tool that could be customized to support a wide range of data based on their client’s needs. Since they already owned 3 Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), Triumph knew who to call.

Triumph has had a relationship with Hexagon going back 15-20 years.  “We’ve been using Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence ever since the purchase of our first CMM”, says Robert Farr, CMM Manager at Triumph Gear. The company started with Brown & Sharpe CMMs due to the quality and speed of the machines. At the time, Triumph Gear was using PC-AVAIL (a Unix-based system) that was capable of delivering accurate data in a timely manner. Once PC-DMIS was released, they liked the idea of using Microsoft® Windows® based software which offered Computer Aided Design (CAD) capability, and made the change. They have been PC-DMIS users ever since.

In an effort to achieve excellence within his own department, Farr relies on accuracy and repeatability to quality inspect roughly one third of parts Triumph manufactures. Farr uses the GLOBAL Advantage 15.30.10 to allow faster set up times, improved runtime and change control times. Overall, Triumph saved roughly 20-24 hours per assembly of their helicopter component. The component, a large gear casing for the transmission of a helicopter rotor system, needed more travel in the X-axis of the machine. "We originally purchasMetrologist-Inspectioned the CMM to make inspection of the gear casing more efficient, but it also allowed us to run multiple jobs that required the larger inspection capability. In the past, we had to schedule our larger jobs back-to-back. Today, we have doubled the overall capacity to inspect parts which shows in our throughput.”

Farr depends on his inspection software to handle the complexity of their growing parts. In particular, Farr feels that PC-DMIS inspection software is ideal for the first-time programmer to learn on,but also offers high-end capabilities at a novice level. “One of the benefits of the software is the information you have with the cursor position. When editing inspection routines, the system tracks your current workplane, pre-hit/retract, probe tip angle and alignment. In other software programs I have used, you had to manually recall without inserting code into your program, which sometimes caused mistakes,” Farr explains.

As the company continues to grow, Farr and his team look to the future of their company and their growing metrology needs. Farr relies on manufacturing intelligence to deliver smart solutions that enable Triumph to innovate, iterate, and improve everything they fabricate. In this way, Triumph Gear is able to continuously improve their manufacturing processes and embrace excellence by focusing on accuracy, repeatability and growth.
Read the full case study here.

Andrew Scarella

Andrew Scarella is the Digital Marketing Manager for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America. He contributes to this blog as well as updates the North American website and provides content for the company social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.