Issue: Aug 2013


Measuring every camshaft on the production line



by Lenny Case

Increasingly stringent regulations governing emissions combined with the need to save costs by reducing waste and rework have created the need for high-speed measuring equipment capable of measuring every part to the closest tolerances possible. In response to this need Adcole Corporation, which designs and manufactures specialized machines for measuring engine components, has introduced an upgraded gage for robot-fed 100% automotive camshaft inspection that has a new programmable headstock with 100 mm travel.

Capable of handling changeovers automatically, the gage measures 10 or more parameters including radius, profile, taper, crown, timing angle, diameter, velocity, acceleration, run-out, roundness and concentricity. Providing 0.1 micron resolution per data point, and 3,600 data points per revolution, the gage can process up to 200 parts-per-hour.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Brook Reece, Vice President of Adcole Corporation, what the reasoning was behind the development of the Adcole 1310 High-Speed Camshaft Gage.

Brook Reece: Government regulations now require Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) in USA to reach 54.5 mpg by 2025, which is approximately double the existing regulation. Similarly, tailpipe emissions will need to be reduced by 80% by 2017. This puts significant pressure on new engine designs which impact camshaft technology. Therefore, we are seeing new complex camshafts with six cam lobes per cylinder. For this reason, we designed a new 19 mm wide measuring head which can handle the new spacing requirements.

AI: How will it impact your automotive customers?

Brook Reece: Our automotive OEM customers make long production runs of intake and exhaust camshafts. The new generation is designed for making such part changeovers automatically. In the case of the camshaft component suppliers, the new generation can be set up for a new camshaft part number in minutes thanks to a new quick disconnect and placement system design. We also offer a fully programmable measuring head placement system. Component suppliers require such flexibility to optimize their capacity utilization.

AI: Tell us a little about the Adcole 1310 and the role it has played in your company’s product portfolio over the years.

Brook Reece: This measuring machine model put Adcole equipment into automotive production lines around the world. It was a natural expansion of our customers’ needs for faster measuring results. This model measures 100% of the camshaft production with accuracy and repeatability matching the wellknown Adcole audit gages.

AI: How does your R&D reflect the changing priorities of the automotive sector?

Brook Reece: Over the years, Adcole has continued to refine its machine designs to increase accuracy and speed. Camshaft chatter can now be measured on the factory floor gage. This is remarkable accuracy measured in nanometers.

AI: What is Adcole’s strategy in the growing clamor for green vehicles?

Brook Reece: Our strategy is to give our customers a technical edge in minimizing scrap for a resource restricted future and maximizing the production of good parts that represent the design intent of the OEM’s which fulfill engine power specifications, as well as, fuel economy, and tailpipe emissions regulations.

AI: How do you see your automotive business growing in the next few years?

Brook Reece: We anticipate a significant increase in our business based on the dramatic increase in light vehicles and trucks on the roads in China, India, Russia, and Brazil in the near future. In China alone, they will add 300 million vehicles to their roads in the next 15 years or so. Automotive Industries then asked Stephen Corrado, Vice President of Engineering, Adcole Corporation, what customer reaction has been to the upgraded Adcole 1310. Steve Corrado: In the few months since it was introduced Adcole has taken orders for six of the gages. Our customers are very pleased with the design improvements. I anticipate favorable responses once the machines get installed.

AI: What kind of R&D inputs went into the new 1310?

Steve Corrado: About two years ago a customer asked Adcole to measure a new design camshaft with lobes and journals that were very tightly packed. Our Model 1310 could not measure all the lobes and journals at the same time due to the size of our measuring transducers. We figured a way to measure the camshaft with what we had, but the customer stated they did not like our solution and asked us to make a smaller transducer. We worked on this new design for a year or so to reduce the width of our current transducer by 50%.

AI: Tell us a little about the other recent upgraded models such as the Adcole Model 911 Camshaft Gage.

Steve Corrado: Adcole is working on improvements to the electronics on all of our current models. The purpose of the electronic improvements is to incorporate newer technology that is not in danger of being rendered obsolete.

AI: How important is the research and product development department in the overall scheme at Adcole?

Steve Corrado: Having a productive R&D department is critical to the future business at Adcole. The automotive industry is in constant flux, and as a result Adcole needs to be prepared to meet these changing inspection needs of our customers. The only way to do that is to invest time and money into developing the needed tools to satisfy our customer requirements.

AI: What role do customers play in product development – can you give us some examples of how suggestions from clients were incorporated into products?

Steve Corrado: I gave one example above with the narrow transducer on the Model 1310 Gen 3. Another example is the optical measuring option we designed for measuring the fillets on crankshafts. A customer asked for a method of determining if the crank pin fillets had been rolled or not. This required a special optical measuring device that was incorporated into our Model 1200. A more current example is on our Model 1000 surface finish gage. This gage currently uses a skidded probe for making measurements. Customers are asking for a skidless design to meet a European standard. It is in our R&D plans.

AI: How do you see your automotive business growing in the next few years?

Steve Corrado: The Asian markets, specifically China and India are booming automobile markets. Those economies are growing at a very high rate and auto consumption is going along with it. A large portion of our sales are in those regions. Forecasts show a steady increase in auto sales worldwide. Adcole fully expects to benefit from that increase

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