Creative Composites has established its reputation as a leading components manufacturer by providing its customers the best in design, manufacturing and service. So, when the company upped investment in guaranteeing its customers the highest levels of manufacturing accuracy, throughput and efficiency, it turned to Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence for a multisensor CMM and software package.
Formed in 2000, Creative Composites’ success has resulted in it quadrupling the square footage of its premises to create a market-leading plant powered by state-of-the-art equipment. Now the purpose-built 150,000 sq. ft premises are home to a large and growing team of expert professionals, as well as two of the UK’s largest compression mould presses, producing components for some of the world’s most-respected brands across several sectors, including automotive, offhighway, mass transit and medical.
The UK company’s multiple 5-axis CNC centres use speed, consistency and control to manufacture parts with dimensional complexity and a wide range of finishing options, adding value to the highest quality finished products by reducing the requirement for additional assembly and parts. And purpose built conveyorised paint lines designed specifically for composite products deliver automotive grade robotic spraying, priming and top coating, enabling the company to deliver the highest quality surface finish.
An optimised supply chain saves customers time and money, while delivering multiple component part consolidation, bonding operations, the insertion of mechanical fixings, as well as full inspection and quality control, to deliver fully assembled finished products in line with each project’s requirements.
When Creative Composites approached Hexagon’s local agent in Northern Ireland, Inspection Equipment, in 2016, its remit was to improve efficiency of inspection, which at the time was primarily based around manual arm-based laser scanning systems.
Working collaboratively, Hexagon’s and Creative Composite’s teams took the time to find the right solution and looked at various technologies before settling on a horizonal arm-based motorised CMM, with both tactile and laser sensors, with the combination of Hexagon’s technology and local support helping to convince Creative Composites.
Since installation of the new CMM in April 2018, Creative Composites has noticed a marked improvement in inspection throughput. A part which previously took over a day to measure is now measured completely in 49 minutes.
The CMM uses a HP-L 10.6T laser scanner when measuring components of different colours and reflectivity. Thanks to its Automatic Laser Power Control feature, the laser scanner automatically sets the laser power for each individual point, resulting in the most complete and accurate point cloud possible. The capability to change the laser scanner line width is used not only to adapt to the width of a measured feature but also to investigate assemblies and to deliver accurate data for reverse engineering by changing the point cloud density when needed. Laser scanning, or digitisation of the component’s full surface, enables automatic geometry and feature extraction that in turn allows for GD&T control checks embedded in the measurement plan. Controlling and ensuring the quality of each component within an assembly guarantees they will work kinematically, as designed.
Jonathan Holmes, Managing Director of Creative Composites says: “We were aware of the increasing inspection requirements of our customers. One option was to purchase more arms and hire more people to use them, but the speed, accuracy, throughput and efficiency of the CMM based probing and scanning solutions mean we have
improved our inspection efficiency massively.”
“Working with demanding OEMs, with both dimensional requirements, and colour maps, the multi-sensor CMM with PC-DMIS software meets all our requirements. We can perform data analysis in Hexagon’s Q-DAS software, to analyse part measurements over time and across a range of parts to measure our process capability”.
And finally, “We trusted Inspection Equipment and Hexagon to provide us with good impartial advice, due to their reputation in the marketplace, and also, because they have such a massive portfolio of metrology products, they will tailor the best product for us.”