Controllers Boost Business for Aerospace Component Processor
Seeking Nadcap accreditation, an aerospace components manufacturer upgraded the control system for its thermal processing line and achieved optimal results.
For a U.S. company that treats and inspects fasteners for the aerospace industry, controller flexibility and profiling ability were key characteristics that optimized processing.
Active Magnetic Inspection Inc. performs plating, stripping, stress-relief and magnetic-particle inspection processes for fastener manufacturers. In the aerospace industry, which is highly regulated due to the extreme need for safety, manufacturing precision is key, and a business such as AMI depends on meeting quality control requirements. In order to achieve this, a precise level of process control and accurate record-keeping is required.
AMI had decided to raise the bar and establish a process system that would earn accreditation from National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap) and thus enable the company to strengthen its position in the aerospace fastener business. To meet this need, AMI’s systems were enhanced by temperature controllers from West Control Solutions, Gurnee, Ill., via its CAL 9500P temperature controller.
AMI enlisted the services of R.J. “Skip” Schaefer of Titan Industrial Heating Systems, Pico Rivera, Calif., an expert in the design and construction of temperature-controlled manufacturing processes. Skip’s task was challenging because many points of control were required. These included two stress-relief ovens that each required monitoring of 60 product containers. In order to achieve Nadcap accreditation, it also was necessary to establish a thorough quality system. It required well-documented process instructions and complete records for all production lots, including time and temperature data, to meet the needs of the annual audit.
“The customer needed to provide 100 percent traceability on its output,” Schaefer explained. “I’ve been using CAL temperature controllers for around 25 years, and I can count the number of failures on one hand, so it had to be CAL. Aside from the reliability and durability of the CAL product, West Control Solutions is also very helpful with background information when I’m planning a system build.”
The CAL 9500P process controller was chosen as the front end for its flexibility and profiling power. In order to satisfy Nadcap process data requirements, all of the instruments are tied to a central PC that runs CALGrafix process-monitoring software. The result is that every point is monitored and stored on a minute-by-minute basis.
When the process system was inspected by Nadcap, the results were excellent and AMI was issued its certificate, enabling AMI to strengthen its position in the aerospace fastener business.
“There have been zero flaws in the system,” Schaefer said. “That’s with two ovens: one with 36 controls and one with 34, both working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A system such as this requires absolute reliability and CAL controllers have guaranteed that.”
West Control Systems, a global specialist in process and temperature control with four brands (CAL, Partlow, PMA and West Instruments), is based in the United Kingdom. To learn more from West Control Solutions, call (800) 866-6659 or visit www.west-cs.com. To learn more from Titan Industrial Heating Systems, call (562) 951-9500 or visit www.titanindustrialheating.com.