At PMS Diecasting in Rotherham, UK, products are inspected by non-contact, 3D laser scanning to an accuracy of 2.5 microns, mirroring the precision of touch probing. It has been made possible by the deployment of an LC15Dx laser scanner on an LK ceramic bridge co-ordinate measuring machine supplied by Nikon Metrology. The combination has proved to be the answer to the challenge PMS was facing to bring its products to market faster and reduce development costs.
Widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading and best equipped manufacturers of zinc castings, PMS has many high profile customers including returnable transit packaging specialist, Loadhog, window and door hardware supplier, Avocet, and wire joining and tensioning product manufacturer, Gripple, for which PMS makes 36 million castings annually.
The diecaster prides itself on using the most advanced technology and incorporates robotics wherever possible to streamline processes and make them more efficient and cost-effective. Automated part separation, 100 per cent quality control and management control systems ensure consistent quality.
Gordon Panter, managing director of the employee-owned company, said, “To avoid zinc flash forming at the parting line when a mould closes, the maximum allowable tolerance when machining the two die halves is ±10 microns.
“Our optical profile projector and measuring microscope do not have the necessary resolution to inspect to this level of accuracy, but the Nikon equipment does. We considered both laser and white light scanning systems, but decided on the Nikon Metrology LC15Dx, as it was the only solution that could inspect our tooling to the accuracy we wanted.”