Automotive Industries interviews Addison D. Cole, CEO of Adcole Corporation
The Massachusetts-based Adcole Corporation makes cylindrical coordinate measuring machines (CCMM) that measure camshafts, crankshafts and pistons. The company also makes digital sun angle sensors for spacecraft. The company, founded in 1957, has manufacturing facilities in both Massachusetts and Florida and has offices across the world. Nearly 60 per cent of the company’s business comes from automotive OEMs and manufacturers of agricultural and construction equipment, outboards, and other small engine manufacturers. The remaining 40 per cent of Adcole’s business comes from the spacecraft hardware industry.
Adcole's computerized inspection gages are used worldwide by more than 500 automobile and supplier companies in 31 countries for quality control checks on camshafts and crankshafts. Adcole’s client list includes General Motors, Ford, BMW, VW, Chrysler, Toyota, Fiat, Nissan, Renault, Hyundai, Volvo, Suzuki, Caterpillar, Daimler, BMW, Honda, Cummins, FAW, Tata, MAN, John Deere, SAIC, FAW, Dong Feng, and ThyssenKrupp.
“Engine plants today know the importance of delivering to their customers the very best quality they know how to manufacture. Quality is a strategic advantage which is why they are more and more turning to Adcole inline measuring machines,” said J. Brooks Reece, vice-president, Adcole.
All Adcole gages are assembled, tested and certified at the company-owned, custom-designed building in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Built in 1983, this facility was expanded in 1998 to accommodate its 200 employees. Adcole’s Florida plant specializes in the production of the high-precision ball-bearing spindles used in Adcole gages. Adcole says it maintains its expertise in the critical core competencies of high accuracy optical-mechanical measuring technologies and company know-how by investing 10 per cent of revenues in R&D.
Recently Adcole introduced a new, high-speed end-of-line crankshaft gage that measures the ever-tighter tolerances necessitated by developing greener technology engines. Called the Adcole Model 1300 High-Speed Crankshaft Gage, the company says that this product was developed to increase the production of good parts, minimize troubleshooting time, and significantly reduce warranty expenses. “The Adcole Model 1300 High-Speed Crankshaft Gage will virtually eliminate the risk of delivering a bad crankshaft. Designed for operating two or three shifts per day, it has a granite base and incorporates the latest technology in touch-screen controls, air bearings, and optical linear scales for end-of-line accuracy,” says the company.
The company had previously launched its Adcole 1310 High-Speed Camshaft Inspection Gage that is an end-of-line machine that can measure up to 200 parts-per-hour for rise error and chattermark detection. Fully automatic, this gage uses individual measuring heads for each journal and cam lobe, with 0.1 micron resolution, taking one data point each 1/10th degrees, or 3600 data points per revolution. Measured values are displayed, printed and/or archived.
Capable of measuring simultaneously many parameters including radius, profile, taper, crown, timing angle, diameter, velocity, acceleration, runout, and roundness and concentricity, the ADCOLE 1310 High-Speed Camshaft Inspection Gage is easy to program and Windows compatible. Adjustable followers permit fast changeover for inspecting different camshafts.
Automotive Industries spoke to Addison D. Cole, CEO of Adcole Corporation.
AI: Tell us about Adcole’s advanced optical mechanical measurement solutions for crankshafts and camshafts.
Cole: Over the years, Adcole equipment has provided our customers with a technical advantage in terms of accuracy and conformance with other Adcole gages. Our large users have Adcole gages in their powertrain development labs, plant gage rooms or nearby on the production floor, as well as, 100% in-line production measuring. The advantage to these companies is that know they are making at a low cost what they designed and that their end-users are getting the intended product and its intended performance.
AI: How did Adcole gages come to be so widely used around the world?
Cole: Our first customers were the largest automobile and heavy equipment engine manufacturers. They were the world experts at using high accuracy equipment and as they gained experience with our equipment they asked us to incorporate further refinements. Soon, these early users purchased our equipment for their other engine plants around the world and our reputation spread. Today, our camshaft and crankshaft gages are the world standard.
AI: What makes the ADCOLE 1310 High-Speed Camshaft Inspection Gage the best of its kind in its product segment?
Cole: Over 25 years, two generations of designs, and continuous improvements, the Model 1310’s have measured tens of millions of camshafts. Not only do they conform to the accuracy of Adcole gage room equipment, they do so at production line speeds up to 200 parts per hour.
AI: How revolutionary is your Adcole Model 1300 High-Speed Crankshaft Gage?
Cole: The Model 1300 uses advanced linear motor technology, dual linear gratings and air bearings. It is a very sophisticated design. Unlike diameter only gages, we build a radius measurement system that provides not only diameter, but roundness, cylindricity and straightness, as well. These are the important parameters for emissions reduction and long engine life.
AI: How will it impact automotive OEMS who are aiming to manufacture greener cars?
Cole: Over the years, the critical tolerances for camshafts and crankshafts have been set significantly tighter to improve engine life performance, fuel economy and reduce emissions. In the last 25 years crankshaft roundness tolerances have been reduced from 8 microns to 3 microns. The green cars of the future will have high performance small engines with very low emissions. Consequently, the production tolerances will continue to tighten which should lead their manufacturing plants to adopt Adcole technology.
AI: What are your thoughts on the economic recovery in the automotive industry?
Cole: There may be short term setbacks in certain country markets, but the number of consumers in the world will increase from one billion people to two billion. The outlook for automobile demand has never been brighter.