SKF: Fast, High Precision Results in the Next Challenging Environments

Represented in more than 130 countries, with over 100 manufacturing sites, SKF is the leading global designer and manufacturer of industrial and automotive engineered solutions in the areas comprising bearings, seals, mechatronics, services and lubrication systems. The Group's product and technical expertise is focused towards integrated, sustainable solutions that can offer breakthroughs in friction reduction and energy efficiency, and increased equipment life and reliability. SKF is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of aerospace solutions encompassing bearings, seals, rods, struts, precision elastomeric devices and fly-by-wire equipment for airframe, aero-engine and gearbox applications.

SKF (U.K.) Limited, Aerospace Division – Clevedon, employs approximately 200 people on its three acre site. SKF Clevedon specialises in the design and manufacture of self-lubricating PTFE/glass fibre lined bearings for aerospace and high technology industrial applications. Preferred for the most demanding applications, these bearings offer exceptional load to mass ratios, combined with excellent resistance to fatigue and wear. SKF Clevedon bearings are widely used in the airframe and flight control systems of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

The safety critical nature and high-precision characteristics of the company’s products means that the SKF Clevedon Quality Department administers an exacting quality control system. To help ensure the continued quality of its products, the company regularly invests in the best available metrology equipment. Typical of these investments is SKF Clevedon’s recent purchase of 25 advanced PC-2200 Electronic/Air columns from Bowers Metrology. The advanced new columns include a multitude of advanced measuring functions, including static and dynamic gauging, classification grading mode and probe mixing capability. The flexible readout units are also capable of operating with both air gauging products and transducer measuring probes.

Commenting on the company’s use of their new PC-2200 readout units, Stuart Dance, SKF Clevedon Quality Engineer Calibration reported. “As air gauging is able to provide high-precision results, within clean room or under shop-floor conditions, it is used for critical bore measurements throughout our site. As our older air gauging display units were beginning to show their age, and given that more modern units were able to offer a range of additional useful functions, we recently trialled a selection of air gauging display units from several leading metrology companies.

Although each performed adequately throughout our in-depth product evaluation period, the PC2200 unit from Bowers Metrology UK delivered by far the best bore measurement GR&R figures. As our operators found the Bowers units easy to set up and use, and given that the Bowers display units are able to accept readings from all of our existing air-gauging, we were happy to place an order for 11 units. To ensure commonality of measuring system, we also purchased 14 electronic versions of the PC2200 columns with high-accuracy Sylvac transducer probes for our outside diameter measurement routines.

“Now deployed across our shop floor, our Air / Electric PC2200 columns have proven to be excellent additions to our range of quality control equipment. We are able to set upper and lower tolerance limits for each ID / OD on our PC2200s, our machine operators are then able to read the actual size of the measured feature of each component on a digital readout, and judge the status of the part against a clear go/no go LED display.”

“In addition to standard bore measurement, the combination of the new Bowers units’ analogue and micron reading digital displays allows us to examine parts for conditions such as taper and ovality.

“As our PC2200s deliver very accurate results extremely quickly, our machine operators are able to make all of the necessary measurements well within the cycle time of the machines they are operating. The precise data supplied by our new readout units also allows us to control our processors and to help us in our quest for zero defects.”

Belying the advanced display units’ cost effective price, other useful PC2200 features include a high resolution display, status indicators, tolerance limit settings, multi-probe inputs, and an RS 232 output, enabling the downloading of results to computers, data collection devices and printers.

Bowers Metrology is able to supply electronic versions of the PC2200 with a wide range of high accuracy transducer probes that can be incorporated into measuring fixtures. The air gauging version of the PC2200 can be provided with a full range of both internal and external air gauging devices, accessories and readouts. Using air flow volumes and pressures to measure parts, air gauging is a reliable, repeatable technology well-suited for standard bore gauging applications and for unusual measuring tasks where tolerances are tight, such as the gauging of precision tapers. Air gauging technology is extremely flexible, enabling the measurement of not only dimensions, but geometric and relational characteristics, such as squareness and parallelism. Other features capable of being measured with Bowers Air Gauging include ovality, taper, the straightness of bores and the distance between hole centres.

For more information on the Bowers PC-2200 Electronic/Air columns click here.