Going large on product measurement

| Environmental Testing

UHA probing is just one step down from NPL accuracy at Trescal - Copyright Ed Bagnall

Jonathan Newell investigates a new facility in Derby offering super-sized Coordinate Measurement Machine capabilities.

Metrology and calibration service provider, Trescal, has chosen Derby to site its latest facility serving industries clustered within the region as well as farther afield throughout the UK.

The 2,300 square metre facility is located on Derby’s Pride Park, the former home of the power house of railway manufacturing and more recently reclaimed from dereliction to form a modern business park. Metal has long since ceased to be bashed here and is more likely to be probed gently on the Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) at Trescal, which has the capacity to handle many of the components produced at the former Derby Engineering Works.

With measurement volumes of up to 2.1 x 4.4 x 1.6m and a weight limit of 10 tonnes, the flagship CMM at the company is the largest in the UK, with rotary table measurement operating within a highly controlled and UKAS accredited environment.

Taking around 7 months to build and costing over £2 million, the Derby facility is home to six laboratories in total to provide a comprehensive service in both metrology and calibration. To find out more about its capabilities, I spoke to Trescal’s Derby Branch Manager, Steve Powell and Dimensional Measurement Manager, Richard Parker.

Calibration Services

The calibration labs in Derby offer a range of technical capabilities including dimensional, electrical, temperature, pressure and vacuum as well as torque type calibrations. When choosing the location for the new Trescal site, the company looked at its strategic positioning in the heart of the UK with easy access to highly innovative engineering companies within the Midlands region.

According to Powell, the hub is strategically located to provide the company’s extensive calibration expertise in support of British manufacturing in the East Midlands and beyond. “We have made a significant investment in the Derby facility and through our enhanced capabilities are expertly positioned to support the many manufacturing and precision engineering companies located within this area. Our ability to offer a one-stop-shop for calibration services, at this level, sets us apart from the competition and ensures we continue to deliver high end accuracy in-line with customer requirements,” he said.

Metrology

The calibration services offered at Trescal are complemented by the new investment in the latest CMM equipment, which includes the large capacity machine with rotary table measurement as well as a second machine which provides a measurement performance capability (MPE) of 0.0009mm+L/650mm.

According to Parker, these machines form part of a suite of equipment at the Derby site that all operate on a common software platform, enabling Trescal to offer very rapid and flexible product verification services on component, jigs and fixtures.

Such flexibility expands beyond the walls of the Trescal laboratories. “As well as on-site work, we also have eight return-to-base facilities and we’re embedded in 30 customer facilities,” Parker told me. Being embedded in client locations means that Trescal is always on hand for product verification and can even relocate if the host company moves its manufacturing facilities.

The tasks that Trescal is involved in both at Derby and other locations include national product verification programmes to provide independent validation across different industries. The company also carries out independent audits, first article inspection, product investigations, life assessment and even arbitration.

Driven by innovation

Engineering innovation is rife within the Midlands with automotive and aerospace companies there keeping Britain at the forefront of technology. According to Powell, many smaller companies are in the midst of such progressive industries and don’t have the investment capabilities for such metrology equipment.

“We can offer such companies our in-house services or we can visit them with our mobile facility with laser and non-contact measurement capabilities,” Powell concluded.

Jonathan Newell
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