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Ohio Manufacturer's New Measurement Arm Reaches Higher Level of Accuracy in a Fraction of the Time

Large, complex parts that had previously taken an average of 5 hours to inspect, can now be inspected in less than 2 hours.

Brilex Industries has established itself as a worldwide source for fabricating, machining, and complete machine assembly. Founded in 1996 by two brothers, Brian and Alex Benyo, Brilex has become known as one of Youngstown, Ohio’s most aggressive and fastest growing companies. The company has grown to a position of leadership in its industry through proven performance, dedication, and continual investment in its people, facilities, and advanced equipment – providing both themselves and their customers with the advantages needed to compete in today’s global market.

With an aggressive and knowledgeable management staff focused on quality, efficiency, and on-time reliability, Brilex Industries has become a preferred full service supplier to many leading OEMs and end users in the metals, rubber, plastics and glass, energy and power generation, and other capital equipment industries.

Problem

As expected for a manufacturer that supplies such a large range of industries and customers, the parts that Brilex works with everyday have an equally large range of size. Parts can range anywhere from as “small” as 30 pounds up to 70 tons. These parts tend to be medium to large fabricated and machined and/or assembled products such as various housings, gearboxes, platens, bearing races, scissor lifts, shredders, transfer cars, pressure vessels, chocks, bushings, work roll shafts, turbine components, and more.

Traditionally, Brilex used an assortment of tools in order to measure these various parts as it would be difficult for one tool to be the answer for all of their needs. They used OD (outside diameter) and ID (inside diameter) micrometers, height gauges, bore gauges, calipers, and other similar hand tools.

For Brilex, like many manufacturers, time and capability are always an issue. Over the past few years, the products the company builds and works with have become increasingly large and complex. In addition, many customers now require extensive documentation packages with complete traceability of material and dimensional results.

The measurements obtained from traditional tools were sufficient, but were time consuming considering the increasing complexity of the parts and required multiple setups to measure all of the critical dimensions – if not impossible.

Solution

Brilex needed a better solution, a solution that could answer both their expanding need for quality and their ever-present need for time. Their answer came from FARO. The portable CMMs provided by FARO enable Brilex to perform many of the inspections they require with much greater accuracy and repeatability in a fraction of the time. Where it was not always possible to get all of the measurements they needed using past methods, they can now be achieved using FARO.

There was a learning curve in implementation of the new technology, especially in changing the mindset of those accustomed to using conventional measurement tools, but the combined training and support provided by FARO made this fairly seamless. That support was provided by local Account Managers Trevor Murcko and Eric Boyer as well as Applications Engineers and online support. Their assistance helped to show the benefits of reducing inspection time and proving the results that enabled Brilex to change their processes and improve their overall quality.

Brilex uses both the FaroArm and the FARO Laser Tracker ION on a daily basis to verify setup, in fabrication inspection, and during final inspection. A portable measurement arm, the FaroArm is used mostly on parts where GD&T is called out or in situations that may require additional setups. The FaroArm can be placed directly on the part or set on an inspection table and measuring can be started without having to setup or level the part being inspected. The scanning feature is used, for example, to check the profile of a casting and then compare it to the CAD file to assist manufacturing. The flexibility and portability provided by FARO are key and many of the software features in CAM2 are huge time savers for Brilex.

The parts checked by Brilex with the FARO Laser Tracker are generally those that are in excess of 20-ft long. Such parts typically require specific flatness tolerances. In other cases, such parts will have faces to be machined and the Tracker is used to verify that proper stock allowances exist. In some cases, subject parts have specific angles that are required to be held or machined. Another advantage of the Tracker is that it is very accurate in verifying specific locations over a long distance that must be held. Regardless of the length of the part, the Laser Tracker can be used to verify all features either in a single setup, or in multiple setups. If multiple setups are required, reference points can be established during the first setup, then the Tracker is then moved to a new location and the reference points are picked up from the first setup and used for another set of measurements.

The FARO ION allows Brilex to check dimensions over greater distance and to inspect geometric fit, form, and function items that would otherwise be extremely difficult and cumbersome to evaluate.

Bud Geddes, Manager of Manufacturing at Brilex, said, “The most significant advantage of a laser tracker versus a conventional laser measurement system is the ability to establish datum points on the work piece being evaluated and leapfrog the tracker around the work piece. Doing this allows the user to measure relationships between features that would otherwise not be possible.”

“Some of the products we manufacture are fairly large and expensive,” said Dan Hall, the Quality Control Manager at Brilex. “When mistakes cannot afford to be made, we have used FARO, specifically the Laser Tracker ION, to ensure machine tool and part alignment prior to machining critical features.”

Return on Investment

For Brilex, their FARO solutions have improved their capability and confidence as well as the quality they deliver to their customers. FARO provides Brilex consistency in their results from inspection and this, in turn, allows the company to continually improve their quality program.

Alex Benyo, VP of Brilex, added, “The addition of FARO equipment is just another example of how Brilex continually makes investments in technology and resources to be best in class.”

As an example of real return, a part that had previously taken an average of 5 hours to inspect, can now be inspected in less than 2 hours using FARO due to the time saved not having to retrieve and calibrate or to do additional setups with all of the other measuring equipment they used previously. Most of the products Brilex manufactures are not repeat production, but when they do work with more than one part, the time saved using FARO is also reduced.

“Having FARO instills a sense of confidence in our customer,” said Mr. Hall. “Having the ability to assure dimensional conformance of large products with stringent quality requirement has definitely played a role in the placement of several new orders. But, the greatest benefits we have realized are the time savings and the improvement in our ability to measure large fabrications – and the added confidence of our customers.”

Brian Benyo, Brilex’s president, said, “The ability to measure complex geometry in a quick and accurate fashion, anywhere on the shop floor, makes this technology far superior to having a CMM. With FARO’s user-friendly technology we are able to validate results during the manufacturing process, make adjustments and know that dimensional part requirements are met on the machine tool or at the fitting table. Having this ability is a total game changer.”

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