Mitutoyo ‘Implants’ advanced CMMs into Orthoplastics
Lancashire based Orthoplastics Ltd is recognised throughout the world as the global leader in the development and supply of both implantable grade plastics and biocompatible plastics for instrument applications. The company produces the highest quality, premium grade UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) on the market and works closely with its partners to develop new and innovative orthopaedic implant products.
Orthoplastics is an acknowledged expert in all aspects of the CNC machining of implantable grade plastics, and has invested in an impressive portfolio of advanced CNC machines. The company’s high-tech machining facility was purpose built to provide customers and device manufacturers with a full range of component machining facilities. Services offered include one-off prototyping, pre-production validation runs and complete outsourcing services.
The company continually updates its quality systems and adopts a best practice approach throughout all of its activities. Whilst not a device manufacturer, Orthoplastics operate control systems that are consistent with, and compatible with those of its customers, and is renowned for setting the standards for orthopaedic plastic quality within the industry.
To help meet the demands of an increasing workload, Orthoplastics recently invested in two further Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S Coordinate Measuring Machines, bringing its Mitutoyo CMM count to five machines.
In addition to using an advanced Mitutoyo CMM in its inspection department, Orthoplastics now has four further Mitutoyo CMMs located in its dedicated, environmentally controlled machining facility.
Orthoplastics Quality Manager, Chris Turner explained. “Because of continuing technological progresses and growing regulatory requirements, the need for expert testing and the highest standards of management and control during each stage of production is vitally important to us. For the past 15 years our Mitutoyo CMMs and MeasurLink Quality Management Software has played an important role in our quality function.
“Our shop-floor located Mitutoyo CMMs are kept busy undertaking accurate, in-process checks to help ensure the highest standards of manufacturing quality. As our multiple CMM programs are created off-line and stored on a central server, our skilled production personnel are able to quickly recall the program relevant to the part they are machining, load the part onto the machine and activate a fully automatic CNC inspection routine. The CMMs’ findings allow our operators to make the necessary machine adjustments to correct component dimensions that have deviated from a nominal condition.
“We use our Quality Department Mitutoyo CMM to prove all shop floor CMMs’ inspection programs and for tasks such as final inspection, first article inspection routines and to carry out GR&R studies. The findings of our CMMs are archived for traceability purposes.
“Although our CMMs were able to keep-pace with our recently increased production volumes, we considered that further production increases had the potential to place a strain on our important measuring functions. To ensure the continued efficient running of our CMMs we decided to source two further machines.
“While our previous three Mitutoyo CMMs have proven to be very accurate and reliable, and despite the fact that we have enjoyed a good relationship with the staff of Mitutoyo UK, mindful of the potential technical progress of other CMM brands, we looked at a couple of other options. Having benchmarked the alternative CMMs with the equivalent Mitutoyo models, we concluded that the Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S CMM represented the ideal machine for our particular needs, therefor we remained loyal to the brand.
“Following a trouble free installation, our two new Crysta-Apex S CMMs are now delivering our required levels of precision and efficiency and have removed the potential for future measurement bottlenecks. Now, our current collection of five Mitutoyo CMMs, equipped with statistical monitoring software, enable live data capability analysis and allow us to take traditional inspection and processing to a new level of compliance and control.”
Mitutoyo Coordinate Measuring Machines are available in a wide range of sizes and accuracy classes to cover practically all precision 3D measuring applications. Each machine represents an excellent investment in terms of productivity, versatility, quality of construction, training and service support.
A wide variety of both contact and non-contact probes enables numerous kinds of measurement tasks to be performed. Mitutoyo’s high quality hardware is backed up by comprehensive analysis software for the interpretation of measurement results in the timely manner, so essential for keeping up with today’s fast-paced production.
The advanced Mitutoyo Crysta-Apex S CMM, as purchased by Orthoplastics, is designed and constructed using all of Mitutoyo’s unmatched experience in CNC CMM technology. The high accuracy machine is built using lightweight materials and an innovative moving-bridge type machine structure, providing excellent motion stability that takes advantage of the models increased scanning speed.
Equality at home in a temperature controlled inspection room or on a shop-floor, the Crysta-Apex S CMM boasts a temperature correction function (16°C to 26°C) to aid accuracy when used in less than perfect conditions. In addition to point-to-point measurement, MPP-310Q and Mitutoyo Laser probes provide a contact/non-contact scanning functions.
Increasing inspection throughput, the CRYSTA-Apex S has recently been equipped with a brand new controller; the UC-400 allows high speed measurement and movements with impressive accuracies.
Mitutoyo’s dedicated CMM software suite, MCOSMOS can be customised to suit the way each customer works. Geometrical measurements, CAD based programming (on and off-line), PMI data, 2D and 3D comparisons, individual reports to meet customer’s needs, data output to other systems such as MeasurLink SPC software are all supported.
MeasurLink Quality Management Software, as used by Orthoplastics, is an efficient Manufacturing Process Control System. MeasurLink combines real time on-line data collection; with real time SPC charts and Analysis for operators. Also real time Quality Control / supervisor reports and alerts, for an entire manufacturing system. MeasurLink is designed for integrated networks to create a quality information sharing system which includes comprehensive metrology solutions.