Mitutoyo speed handles Bushell & Meadows increased production


Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire based Bushell and Meadows Ltd is a renowned sub-contract manufacturer of high-quality, precision engineering components. The business has invested heavily in state-of-the-art, high-speed CNC machine tools and serves a range of demanding markets including the medical, aerospace and defence sectors.

Bushell and Meadows specialise in the production of complex components from a variety of materials including titanium, plastics, aluminium, stainless steel and other special alloys. The company is able to undertake the development of prototypes and carry out production runs ranging from small batches to quantities of over a thousand. A second speciality is the manufacture of high grade surgical steel blades for oscillating, reciprocating and sagittal bone saw tools

Having achieved EN ISO 9001:2008 and EN ISO 13485 Quality Management Accreditation, Bushell and Meadows is committed to safeguarding its hard won reputation for the quality of its output and for the services it provides. To enable the business’ quality control function to keep pace with ever increasing levels of production, regular investments are made in advanced inspection equipment. The recent installation of several highly productive machine tools, including Horizontal Machining Centres with pallet loading, prompted the purchase of an advanced Coordinate Measuring Machine and an Optical Profile Projector from Mitutoyo UK. Bushell and Meadows Production Manager Paul Vedmore explained. “We have a wide range of CNC Milling capabilities provided by our Mazak, Matsuura, Haas and Star Sliding Head machines. Also, to help satisfy growing demand from our customers we have recently added three new Mazak Integrex Machines.

bushell-projector.png“Each Job that leaves our company has been through numerous quality control processes, for example first-off assessments, in-process checks and thorough final inspection routines. “As our increased levels of production had the potential to place a strain on our inspection capability, to help ensure that we were able maintain our high quality standards we recently installed a high-speed, high-accuracy Mitutoyo CRYSTA-APEX S 574 CNC Coordinate Measuring Machine to compliment the Mitutoyo CRYSTA-APEX S776 that we already have, we also purchased a multipurpose Mitutoyo PJ-A3000 profile projector for non-contact measuring inspection work. “Now fully operational, our new Mitutoyo CMM and profile projector have significantly expanded our inspection capabilities and have increased our busy quality department capacity, enabling it to keep pace with our increased levels of production.

“As non-contact inspection methods are the most effective means of measurement for a large number of our components, our new Mitutoyo PJ-A3000 profile projector has proven to be a real ‘work-horse’ in our inspection department. Our operators find the PJ-A3000’s digital XY counter easy to read and its helps that, when required, they are able to precisely measure components angles through the use of its digital readout protractor. Because of our new Mitutoyo PJ-A3000 profile projector’s accuracy, versatility and simplicity of operation; it is able to handle the checking of the more simple features on many of the parts that would have been inspected on our busy CMMs.

“Our new Mitutoyo CRYSTA-APEX S 574 CNC CMM has a capacity of - x-700mm, y-700mm, z-600mm, which is ideal for the size of components we manufacture. Given our quality ethos and also our need for high-speed inspection, this particular Mitutoyo CMM proved ideal for our needs. The CRYSTA-APEX S 574 is able to perform rapid, fully automatic, CNC measuring routines that keep pace with our increased levels of production and also, it also delivers the levels of precision that we require.

“As we have written many inspection programs, our inspection personnel are able to load a batch of parts onto the bed of our new CMM, quickly re-call the relevant program and then start a fully automatic measuring routine. On completion, we are able to store a record of the status of each measured feature of each individual component in each batch. If required, this information can be printed-out as a detailed inspection report.”

Mitutoyo offer a wide variety of Coordinate Measuring Machines in a range sizes and accuracy classes that cover practically all precision 3D measuring applications. A wide range of contact and non-contact probes enables numerous kinds of measurement to be performed, whilst Mitutoyo’s analysis software is able to interpreting measurement results in the timely manner so essential for keeping up with today’s fast-paced production.

The CRYSTA-APEX S 574 variant, as recently installed at Bushell and Meadows, is a popular model of Mitutoyo’s CRYSTA-APEX S Series of CMMs. This CMM series represent a range of high performance, cost effective Coordinate Measuring Machines that are designed and constructed according to Mitutoyo‘s extensive experience in CNC CMM technology.

Manufactured from lightweight materials and featuring an innovative machine structure CRYSTA-APEX S CMMs deliver high motion stability, impressive accuracy and affordability. As is the case with Mitutoyo’s conventional CMMs, various structures are employed in the CRYSTA-Apex S in order to provide high levels of rigidity, whilst the availability of compatible vision and scanning probe technologies delivers a range of flexible and effective measurement capabilities. In addition to use in dedicated quality departments, the CRYSTA-APEX S Series’ temperature compensation function allows users to perform accurate measurement routines even when the machines are located on the shop floor.

The CRYSTA-Apex S Series offers a maximum drive speed of 519mm/s (20.4"/s) and a maximum acceleration of 2,309mm/S2 (7.57"/S2) [500/700/900 Series]. This results in an increase of almost 100 mm in drive distance in one second, when compared with general-purpose CNC coordinate measuring machines (with a maximum speed of 430mm/s (16.9"/s) and a maximum acceleration of 1,667mm/S2 (5.46"/S2). Furthermore, with a maximum measuring speed (i.e., the speed with which the stylus traces over the workpiece) of 100mm/s (3.94"/s), the CRYSTA-Apex S produces measurements much more quickly than ordinary CMMs. (removed) The benefits of high-speed combined with high levels of acceleration, whilst maintaining impressive levels of accuracy, mean that Mitutoyo CRYSTA-Apex S CMMs support users’ precision standards whilst dramatically reducing measuring times.