Universal Instruments Saves $1.5 Million in Production Costs

Source: Letter from Paul Hudec, Process Engineering Analyst, Universal Instruments Corporation

This is an update on the use of the Triple Scan® Laser Alignment System that we purchased from you. We’ve ended up using it more for process/product research and qualification than for machine tool metrology, although we do use it for both.

We did a Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) of the system in relation to our frame, similar to the testing we did before we bought it. The analysis confirmed that the system was capable of detecting the required process and product variation (accuracy and repeatability over the required volume), keeping in mind appropriate metrology practices to control potential sources of variation such as setup, thermal error, etc.

Once the measurement system capability was established, we tested over thirty frames under different processing regimes to quantify the output of the machining processes. The intent was to see if we could eliminate an extra 4-hour machining operation. The machining test data were independently correlated with assembly test data for those frames. The end result was that we were able to eliminate the extra operation.

  • Benefits/Savings: elimination of the extra machining operation resulted in 1,768 hours saved in the last five months (4,243 annualized hours) — a substantial time/dollar savings.
  • Additional Capacity: these 1,768 hours (4,243 annualized) have also been gained as additional capacity for producing more product with the same resources. [Ed note: Universal was able to cancel a $1.2 million order for a new machine by freeing up this capacity.]
  • Data: We were able to cost-effectively obtain data from machining and assembly operations, which we previously couldn’t do. Either we didn’t have the equipment of equivalent or better capability, or such equipment could cost 2 to more than 10 times the system that we purchased. The data obtained with the laser system, combined with simultaneous data from other instrumentation, enabled us to confirm or disprove hypotheses about manufacturing and assembly processes, and about inherent product characteristics.

The above is only one application so far. We do use the laser for machine tool characterization and find that it can be a time-saver. It’s also being used to quantify process output (product characteristics) for machining and assembly operations.

We appreciate the time you’ve spent and the service you’ve provided in helping us with this equipment.