AME tombstone system helps Bombardier cut set up times and increase cycle timesClick image to enlargeA tombstone application at Bombardier Aerospace's Witchita, KS, plant has helped the manufacturer rack up savings in set up time and reduce cycle times significantly.

Supplied by Advanced Machine & Engineering Co. (AME), Rockford, IL, the tombstones helped Bombardier achieve 91 per cent savings in set up time and 81 per cent reduction in cycle time.

Bombardier Aerospace's Wichita, KS, plant produces produces Learjet Models 40, 45 and 60 business jets. When Drew Hanus, methods engineer, had a project requiring increased productivity, he turned to Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME) for assistance. He was already familiar with the company's products and had previous experience with AME. Dietmar Goellner, CEO of AME and Alvin Goellner, Fixturing Group product manager along with Jim Park, AME's representative in Wichita, visited Drew at the Wichita facility.AME's tombstone system at Bombardier's facilityClick image to enlarge

Bombardier was running 240 different parts through a cell comprised of four horizontal, four axis machines with a 28-pallet system and one vertical, five axis machine with an eight pallet system.

AME's team of experts demonstrated the advantages of sub-plates with hardened precision bushings and hardened threaded inserts on a two-inch grid system. Because Drew needed to change parts quickly from one set-up to the next, it was shown that grid tombstones and plates along with modular components, would allow him to locate and align very accurately and quickly on a 2-inch precision grid system.

Drew purchased several full-grid tombstones to be used with their palletized system along with sub-plates, components and precision dowel screws, which can be used for locating fixture plates onto tombstones or their pallets for quick changeover.

Bombardier's pallets were shipped to AME where they incorporated bushings and threaded inserts along with locating and mounting holes. A two-inch grid system was integrated into their pallets and all was inspected with AME's CMM machine, one of the largest in the industry. Calibration blocks were added to check the probe for repeatability of the machines. These show when and where adjustments are needed to hold .0002" accuracy. A rotary axis check is also done on the 4th axis rotary table to ensure accuracy.

Today, 800 different parts are being run through two cells. Monolithic parts are run on one set-up. Bombardier has achieved 91 per cent savings on set-up time and a total saving of 81 per cent on cycle time over the old dedicated system.

"The new system played a major role in allowing us to achieve our Six Sigma goals for this segment of our fabrication process", said Drew Hanus. "We now have improved set-up time, we are producing better quality parts and saving money in the long run."

A future project will involve adding modular components to the system.



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