CMM technology drives manufacturing efficiency at Waddell Engineering

Last year, Melbourne-based general Waddell Engineering installed a new Brown & Sharpe Global 7.10.7 CMM (coordinate measuring machine) at its Highett facility.

The investment has seen the engineering company, which specialises in high-accuracy forging die work for the brass forging and water reticulation industries achieve greater efficiency in its manufacturing processes, especially in its manufacture of single forging-die die halves.

CMM machine installation

The Brown & Sharpe Global 7.10.7 CMM was supplied by Hi-Tech Metrology and installed in purpose-built room inside Waddell Engineering’s Highett facility in mid-2010. The process included commissioning and training by Hi-Tech’s team.

The new CMM machine offered enhanced manufacturing capabilities and as a result, put the company in a better position to take advantage of new opportunities in the market. Waddell Engineering’s Highett facility also features the latest CNC turning, milling and die-sinking technology.

Waddell Engineering managing director David Waddell says CMM has become the mainstay of the business with operators, including the apprentices, all able to operate and programme the Brown & Sharpe CMM.

According to Waddell, one of the biggest advantages of the 2010 CMM purchase has been the change to the manufacture of single forging-die die halves, as opposed to pairs of die halves that the company used to routinely supply.

This is because it has become critical for the company to be able to accurately measure die halves (using the CMM) rather than relying on core pins and other physical means to line-up the two die halves in an assembled condition.

In addition, it has also become critical for the company to be able to accurately determine the overall condition of each die half so that when the die is fitted back into the bolster of the forging press there are no mitre problems, which can lead to premature die failure and excessive die flash thickness and excessive wear of trim tools.

Waddell says the introduction of CMM technology at the Highett facility has helped to resolve these problems and improved overall production efficiency at the company.

Meeting client expectation with CMM

More recently, the company had to measure a groove down a large diameter bore in a tool. The process required great accuracy and positional precision.

Without the CMM we were simply not sure how they would have measured the required feature, according to Waddell who says that as a result the company has complete confidence that the part that they were giving to the customer was 100 per cent correct and fully compliant with client specifications.

CMM investment

When it comes to making capital investment decisions, Waddell takes a stringent approach assessing machinery to ensure its meets the company’s short as well as long term objectives.

"I thoroughly research when it comes to making large capital purchases, I evaluate the machinery and buy the best I can and I place a lot of emphasis on the returns from the machinery purchase and the best return in the long-run,” Waddell say.

“I also employ the best people possible with the most experience and I promote a clean, safe and enjoyable working environment."

Waddell Engineering is a Melbourne-based general engineering company that specialises in highly accurate forging die work for the brass forging and water reticulation industries.