Sussex IM – Growing Quality Through Metrology
It pays to measure. If you have ever been around a carpenter, you have probably heard the phrase, “measure twice, cut once.” This proverb can be applied to many situations, especially in injection molding, as double-checking measurements upfront can save costly mistakes in the end for plastic parts.
Design for manufacturing and metrology plays a significant role in bringing high-quality and reliable parts to market. Meeting industry-specific regulations in the most efficient and cost-effective process possible is what sets Sussex IM apart from other injection molders.
What is Metrology & How is it Used?
Metrology is the science of measurement. In manufacturing, metrology is a heavily utilized tool for ensuring precise specifications, as having top-end quality assurance tools is vital to achieving repeatable quality products. With so many plastic parts produced every day, molds and tooling can wear down over repeated use, which creates a critical reliance on overcoming part-to-part inconsistencies.
Often, metrology and quality are measures done at the end of a product launch. However, at Sussex IM, metrology is applied throughout our manufacturing process, from design to production, accurate and precise plastic parts are delivered every time.
Growing Capabilities in Metrology
Every manufacturing project completed at Sussex IM has its own unique set of requirements. To meet the challenge, our experienced team identifies the right tools needed for the job. Sussex IM boasts a comprehensive toolbox of capabilities and equipment to satisfy some of the most complicated requirements.
Some of the tools in our DFM toolbox include:
- Automated High-Speed CMM
- Vision Inspection
- Reverse Engineering
- 3D Printing
- Color Spectrophotometer
- Pull & Force Testing
- Regular Hand (Metrology) Gauging
- Resin Moisture Testing
- In-Line Inspections
Beyond these tools, Sussex IM also has several pieces of specialized lab equipment, which is often unique to each customer.
True to our mission of solving problems through constant innovation, Sussex IM recently added to our metrology and quality inspection services by hiring a new quality engineer Josh Eastman, who brings more than 26 years of experience in quality, metrology, and CMM programming. The hire allows a quality engineer to be integrated into our engineering department, working with our program managers and engineers to help understand and support developing specifications for our quality processes.
In addition to growing our quality assurance team, we completely renovated our quality lab by adding new flooring, cabinetry, and counters, and we reconfigured the area to optimize flow. Adding to the changes to our growing metrology and quality assurance capabilities, we upgraded some equipment, highlighted by the new Hexagon 7-10-7 Global Blue S high speed scanning Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM).
This high-precision system enables us to perform accurate, repeatable measurements and handle complex GD&T callouts. By analyzing the surface profile from a CAD model or drawing, we can understand the plastic parts by seeing how they are shrinking before developing processes to account for that.
Our latest addition to our quality assurance toolbox includes a new CMM mounted Camera called Eye-D and an offline programming software, which allows us to program parts on CAD models before they are available. With this CMM technology, we can now automate many of our metrology processes. With an easy-to-operate interface, the new CMM allows our employees to complete their own inspections with verified automated routines. Immediately following loading parts on the CMM launches program routines automatically. This new machine is just one of several ways that Sussex IM can increase speed-to-market with our quality processes.
Quality – A Complete Team Effort
At Sussex IM, manufacturing quality components and meeting our customers’ requirements is truly a team effort. From the employee that takes the order to the associates shipping the product to our customers, all employees at Sussex IM are responsible for the quality of the products we produce. While many companies rely solely on their quality assurance personnel to verify our parts, at Sussex IM, every associate trains to understand the role they play to assure quality for all the plastic parts we produce.
Beyond the number of committed quality assurance professionals, Sussex IM also collects electronic data for inspections. Every inspection is directly entered into our ERP system, allowing real-time data analysis from virtually any workstation in the building. If there is a requirement for a more advanced data analysis, Sussex IM has several individuals on-staff skilled in Minitab data analysis software.
The Sussex IM Difference
Sussex IM features CMM programming abilities that are more advanced due to the number of talented employees involved in every process. Our quality department is composed of highly qualified associates that each have specific strengths to contribute. Sussex IM has more than 30 quality support personnel to help assure quality.
With complete buy-in from many people involved in our quality assurance process, Sussex IM has a significantly lower DPPM (Defective Part Per Million) percentage than the industry standard in injection molding. With the ability to measure more considerable parts faster and more accurately with higher levels of consistency utilizing our advanced metrology equipment Sussex IM delivers high-quality components to market with reduced downtime and costs.
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