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Grid system tackles the traffic of aircraft component work

Bombardier's pallet systems
Subplates, bushings and threaded inserts on Bombardier’s pallet systems reduce set up time and improve part quality.

Sub-plates with hardened precision bushings and hardened threaded inserts on a 2-in. grid system make all the difference at Bombardier Aerospace in Wichita, Kan. The facility, which produces Bombardier Learjet Models 40, 45 and 60 business jets, uses the setup system to easily run 800 different parts through two cells and machine monolithic parts in single clampings – resulting in a 91-percent savings in set-up time and an 81-percent savings on cycle time over an old dedicated system.

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. Then a project requiring increased productivity came in, and Drew Hanus, methods engineer at Bombardier, contacted Advanced Machine & Engineering for help.

Hanus was familiar with Advanced Machine & Engineering’s products and had previous experience with the company, so he was receptive when shown the advantages of the setup system.

Advanced Machine & Engineering demonstrated how Hanus could change parts quickly from one setup to the next and how grid tombstones and plates, along with modular components, would allow him to locate and align extremely accurately and quickly on the 2-in. precision grid system.

Hanus purchased several full-grid tombstones to be used with the shop’s palletized system along with sub-plates, components and precision dowel screws, which could be used for locating fixture plates onto tombstones or the pallets for fast changeovers.

Advanced Machine & Engineering incorporated bushings and threaded inserts, along with locating and mounting holes into Bombardier’s pallets. After integrating the grid system into the pallets, Advanced Machine & Engineering inspected the system on a CMM and added calibration blocks 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 also was conducted on the fourth axis rotary table to ensure accuracy.

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

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