MGS are a contract injection moulding company headquartered in America, this new facility in Ireland is a first for MGS in mainland Europe. Across the world MGS build mould tools, secondary shot systems and mass manufacture plastic moulded parts. The day-to-day business in the Irish facility is parts manufacture and mould tool repairs.
James Faughnan, Quality Manager, MGS Manufacturing Group Ltd, explains why they needed accurate inspection facilities: “During moulding it is essential to use dimensional data to indicate how stable our process is, today we are taking several samples from our moulding machines every 12 hours and analysing key dimensions to ensure consistency.”
Born In The USA
Hexagon Metrology’s involvement takes place well before the moulding of the first plastic parts. At the mould tool manufacturing facilities in the USA Hexagon Metrology co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are used to verify the highly accurate mould tool production. Another critical part of the process is during the proving out of a newly installed mould tool which requires a full first article inspection. Since MGS are using Hexagon Metrology systems across their facilities it leads to an easy transfer of mould tools packages, including CMM fixtures and programs.
MGS in Ireland are currently using two Hexagon Metrology systems which give them a full range of contact and noncontact measuring capability. Hexagon Metrology is represented in Ireland by Inspection Equipment Ltd., they offer both sales and application advice. Inspection Equipment looked at the inspection requirements of MGS which led to recommending both a DEA GLOBAL 7.7.5 Classic CMM and an Optiv Classic 4.5.3 multi-sensor system.
James talks about why they chose these systems: “We went with Hexagon Metrology because the equipment could do everything we wanted it to do at the right price and we get great customer service from both Inspection Equipment and Hexagon Metrology.”
Each With Its Own Advantages
Whilst both systems offer touch trigger probing, each system has its advantages: “There are many parts with features which a standard CMM just cannot reach, this is where the vision system comes into its own, equally the CMM is useful beyond normal part measurement – we also use it for trouble shooting problems with our moulds,”
Simple, Intuitive Software
Another advantage of having the two systems from one supplier is that they are both running PC-DMIS measurement software. In many cases it is simple to switch a program from one system to the other, and the programmers only have to learn one package. PC-DMIS CAD allows MGS to program inspection routines, using step models from their customers. This allows for intuitive reporting and also offers the capability to create an inspection program before a part has even been shot.
Measurement data from PC-DMIS is being automatically fed into an SPC package for Cpk analysis, all data is stored to allow full traceability for MGS and their customers. Part programs and fixtures are constructed to make it easy for the injection moulding machine operators to inspect their own parts. MGS are moulding 24/7. So the clear instructions and photographs provided in the PC-DMIS part programs make it simple for operators to correctly load and measure their components.
Genuine Customer Care
James discusses the level of service he receives: “The service we obtain is fantastic, whenever we have had an issue or a question the teams at Hexagon Metrology and Inspection Equipment have been on hand for a quick response.”
Today MGS Ireland is mostly producing plastic parts for their landlord, HewlettPackard, but the expansion plan is well advanced. Ireland is well known for its pharmaceutical industry. Therefore the introduction of a clean room facility at MGS will enable the manufacture of medical grade parts for which MGS are currently tendering to several potential customers. The metrology equipment is a key component to obtaining business in this highly demanding sector.
The metrology equipment installed at MGS assures them and their customers that the parts they produce and the processes used to produce them are viable. James sums up: “Thanks to the measurement solutions from Hexagon Metrology we have the confidence to continue to grow our business, especially in the Irish medical market.”