Quality control

Materials World magazine
12 Jun 2014

Rhiannon Garth Jones looks at recent developments in enhancing the quality of existing products.

Across all industries, improving quality is key to retaining customers, not to mention maintaining reputation. Where that can be achieved by increasing efficiency and lowering costs, so much the better.

US firm Atlas Copco claims to have done just that with the new addition to its Pit Viper line, the Pit Viper 311. The tramming, feed and retract speeds have been enhanced on this large rotary blast-hole drill, and the speed of non-drilling functions of the machine, such as setting up, have been decreased. The cabin has improved operator visibility and the tower is deeper than previous models, meaning that it can accommodate larger sheaves for both single- and multi-pass applications, lengthening cable life. Optional extras include a patent-pending automatic clutch and a remote rig control system.

British firm Nikon Metrology’s new video measuring system is designed to automatically check the dimensions of a variety of precision components and electrical parts, and measure complex shapes. A wide field-of-view, an apochromatic objective lens with high numerical aperture and low distortion, and LED illuminators all create clear images of low-contrast edges.

Another British firm, Mapal, has introduced a new range of replaceable-insert face milling cutters, furthering precision and cleanliness in controlled machining of aluminium castings, including at high feed rates. This development should reduce cleaning costs and time, particularly with complex castings such as cylinder heads and valve housings. Integrated coolant outlets to ensure lubrication and cooling are included, and all inserts are securely fixed with a dovetail guide to eliminate the need for additional clamping.

French firm Gravotech Group has integrated a new technology, the TG400 green laser, into its Technifor range to upgrade its marking quality. The laser, which is just 30μm, is designed for small characters and data matrix codes, and enables surface marking with a reduced heat-affected zone, therefore avoiding material damage and distortion. The accompanying software aids the implementation of identification and traceability in production.

Such progress in quality in a range of different fields is likely to lead to improved performances and lowered costs across the board.