Bombardier Aerospace Soars with Tombstone Rework

Set-up time saved, 91%; cycle time reduction, 81%

The jet manufacturer runs 240 different parts through a cell with four horizontal, 4-axis machines, with a 28-pallet system and one vertical, 5-axis machine with an 8-pallet system
Bombardier must change parts quickly from one set-up to the next, so it outfitted a work cell with tombstones featuring hardened, precision bushings and hardened threaded inserts on a two-inch grid system.

Bombardier Aerospace in Wichita, Kan., produces the Bombardier Learjet Models 40, 45, and 60 business jets. When Drew Hanus, methods engineer, had a project that demanded an increase in plant productivity he contacted Advanced Machine & Engineering for assistance because he was familiar with the company's products and had previous experience with AME.

Rockford, Ill.-based Advanced Machine & Engineering manufactures precision components and accessories for machining operations, including spindle interface components and workholding devices. Through its affiliate Henning Inc. it’s able to supply machine enclosures and chip removal and filtration systems. It supplies fluid power and safety markets with cylinder rod locks and safety catcher devices; and the production saw market with AmSaw carbide saw machines and Speedcut blade products.

Advanced Machine & Engineering CEO Dietmar Goellner and the firm’s Fixturing Group product manager Alvin Goellner, as well as Jim Park, AME’s representative in Wichita, visited with Hanus at Bombardier Aerospace in Wichita.

Bombardier was running 240 different parts through a cell comprised of four horizontal, 4-axis machines with a 28-pallet system and one vertical, 5-axis machine with an 8-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 Hanus 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.

Hanus 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 to position fixture plates onto tombstones or their pallets for quick changeover.

Bombardier’s pallets were shipped to AME so bushings and threaded inserts could be incorporated 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 0.0002-in. accuracy. A rotary axis check is also done on the four-axis rotary table to ensure accuracy.

Now, 800 different parts are being run through two cells. Monolithic parts are run on one set-up. AME reports that Bombardier is enjoying 91% savings on set-up time and a total saving of 81% on cycle time versus 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 project planned for a future date will add modular components to the system.



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