An eye for quality

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by Mary Scianna

Vision system ensures quality on aerospace, military parts

As a manufacturer of critical interconnect components for aerospace, military and commercial customers around the world, quality is paramount for Amphenol Canada Corp., a manufacturer with production facilities in Toronto, Belleville, ON, and Mexico.

That’s why the ISO 9001 and AS9100C certified company invests in what it considers top-notch technologies for its machine shop and its quality department.

Amphenol Canada has carved a niche in the interconnect product market with the development of unique technologies such as filtered connectors, interconnect devices for EMI (electromagnetic interference) and EMP (electromagnetic pulse) protection, high speed signal connectors and specialized connectors for harsh environments.

Three years ago, Amphenol decided to invest in new metrology equipment for its quality department.

“Amphenol wanted a high end CMM with an optical function, but it also wanted a system that would be easy-to-use,” says Sheila Selby, inspection supervisor and CMM programmer.

The company purchased a Zeiss O-Inspect 322 CMM for its quality department, that combines optical and contact measuring technology in one system, a Zeiss DuraMax CMM for the shop floor to verify process settings, and a Zeiss microscope. The metrology products were purchased from Zeiss’ Canadian distributor, Elliott-Matsuura Canada, based in Oakville, ON.

“Zeiss is a high quality brand and the Calypso software is the most user friendly CMM software on the market. We’ve had the O-Inspect for close to three years now and we’re at the point where people from different departments (the shop floor, engineering, quality) are all using it so eventually we may need a second one.”

Versatile measurement
Asked what she likes best about the O-Inspect CMM, Selby says it is its flexibility.

“The CMM was purchased for production purposes, but it’s very handy for engineering analysis. We’re gaining much more depth in our understanding of various process capabilities.”

A camera image from a part (shown from top down) being measured on the CMM. Selby also likes that the CMM offers tactile and optical measurements in one system.

“We have several components with different diameters within one hole. One diameter will be a hole with an undercut that requires a probe, and another diameter will be too small for the same probe to measure. The O-Inspect can gather the concentricity of the diameters within that hole because it’s able to measure with tactile and optical measurements.”

A user friendly system
CMMs and associated software can be intimidating for some manufacturers, especially novice users or those who only use a CMM infrequently. Zeiss CMM and the Calypso software is user friendly, says Selby.

“It’s a great tool to use when programming. It has an easy-to-use CAD interface and if someone doesn’t have access to a CAD program, that person can walk up to the machine and start to take measurements. I found that after having people trained to use the CMM, it’s quite easy because they’re familiar with the Windows environment, so they’re already familiar with a lot of the functions in Calypso.”

An important component of the Calypso software is how it handles measurement data.

“We have PCM, a software module added to Calypso. I use that module to add codes to the programs so when people measure parts, those part measurements are stored in our database. If we need to make changes, we can pull data out to compare the data and optimize modifications,” says Selby.

Service is just as important to Amphenol Canada as is the CMM technology, adds Selby. She says local distributor Elliott-Matsuura has been supportive and the Zeiss hotline has been helpful.

“If I have a question about programming, a question about the software, or even the machine itself, people at the hotline are ready and willing to help.

“Having the Zeiss O-Inspect has allowed me to see my parts in a whole new light.” SMT

Amphenol Canada


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