Significant reduction of time and unsurpasses quality
C-COM Co., Ltd is a prototype model development manufacturer with a high degree of technical expertise in sheet-metal fabrication of various metal parts and assembly. Primarily a specialist that develops and manufactures prototype models of automobile products, C-COM handles various components of industrial machinery and railroad as well. Besides that, the company is also involved in designing, fabricating and selling stamping dies, jigs and fixtures. During the 1990s, the company further expanded its horizons into the aerospace business. Today, C-COM is one of the leading companies in Japan’s Hiroshima prefecture with a high degree of technical expertise.
Known for its advanced technical capabilities, C-COM regularly invests in new equipment and instruments, and is to-date still recognized as the first company in western Japan to use a laser beam machine. Due to C-COM’s relentless pursuit in technical renovation, the company modified its processes from modeling to Direct Numerical Control (DNC) fabrication. This has significantly reduced the amount of time spent on product development and delivery, and still able to maintain the unsurpassed quality to its customers.
As part of C-COM’s commitment to quality, the company had been employing layout machines to perform 3D measurements nearly 10 years ago. However, it was time-consuming task to move and set up the objects that need to be measured. As the measurement results obtained from the layout machine were in the form of pure numerical raw data, it was a cumbersome process to extract the necessary information after numerous rounds of manual calculations. Furthermore, the actual set-up and machine operation required a lot of skill, relying heavily on how careful the machinists were. This resulted in a large variation of results across individuals. Consequently, C-COM considered purchasing a FARO three-dimensional (3D) measurement device.
C-COM had two major concerns when it came to the selection of a measurement device. The company wanted to be able to measure an object on site easily without being bound by a fixed measurement device. It was also important to be able to reduce variations in measurement results taken by different individuals.
These requirements led C-COM to an encounter with FARO measurement devices, which they found to be significantly different from conventional 3D measurement devices. FARO’s measurement arm offered greater flexibility with its multiple axis-of-rotation and portability. Coupled with user-friendly measurement software, the FaroArm greatly alleviated workload for C-COM staff, ending the heavy reliance on manual labor.
Some of the benefits that C-COM enjoyed when it investing in FARO solutions includes the ability to deploy the portable device anywhere, improved accuracy and repeatability of results, great versatility offered by the 7-axis of rotation on the FaroArm, as well as the user-friendliness of the measurement software.
In the initial stages of introducing FARO solutions, C-COM was faced with the difficult task of setting up proper operating procedures and workflow. However, the effort clearly paid off well as the benefits far outweighed the challenges. When the new FaroArm was put into operation, C-COM machinists unanimously expressed that the device greatly reduced the measurement time. Time-savings were observed in set-up time required for parts/objects, as well as for simpler operating procedures. In addition, the technicians were able to measure complex objects much better and more efficiently.
The FaroArm enabled C-COM to measure objects right on the shop floor. The device’s portability benefit meant that parts did not have to be taken off the production line for inspection. Although layout machines were still being used to measure some 3D objects, C-COM gradually switched to the FaroArm completely because of its versatility.
Mr Hamamoto, General Manager of Quality Assurance Department of C-COM Manufacturing Head Office, said, “Our technicians had to wait in line to use the FaroArm as it was getting increasingly popular amongst staff.” As a result, C-COM planned additional purchases of more FARO measuring devices every one or two years, bringing the total number of devices to 7 as of 2010.
Currently, more than 90% of measuring work is done using FARO measurement devices, and more than 10 machinists are taking measurements on a daily basis. FARO’s measurement devices are deployed in the headquarters as well as at other factories. If the need ever arises, the devices are moved between the facilities. The portability of the FARO arm enhances mobility and contributes to quality maintenance of all factories, across all processes.
Although most of the objects that C-COM measures are automobile parts, they consist of a wide variety, ranging from products to fixtures. The size of the output varies, from components as small as 50mm to full-sized automobiles. And in some large-scale jobs, simultaneous use of multiple units of the FaroArm may be required. At present, C-COM’s main business is to measure machine elements with contact-type measuring devices, as well as to perform comparison and analysis between CAD-data and output.
Enhanced operability and convenience
Sensing a need to accurately capture the 3D data of surface geometry in the future, Mr Hamamoto further commented, “At present, we only use contact-type measuring arms to measure objects. But in line with our efforts to enhance our technical capabilities in the future, we are considering introducing non-contact measurement systems. By forming the backbone with our extensive track record and technical expertise, we strive to launch attractive products and propose plans that are ahead of its time.”
Established in 1984, C-COM is a prototype model and development manufacturer, is specialized in producing and selling of various metal parts and assembly including designing and fabrication of stamping dies, jigs, and fixtures.
C-COM serves various industries, including the automobile, automated machine system, aircraft and aerospace, railway, and home appliances.
For more information, please visit www.c-com.ne.jp