An established and traditional turned parts manufacturer, Currie and Warner, one of two manufacturing sites in the West Midlands, is part of the larger, renowned Currie and Warner Group of engineering companies.
Operating from multiple locations throughout the UK, at the group's Brownhills site, Currie and Warner manufacture high-quality, precision turned parts. An enviable hard-earned reputation means that the company does not have a large sales team or a policy of actively seeking out new work, customers come to them.
Although much of the work is niche, standards company-wide, are the very highest. Priding themselves on their certification, Currie and Warner hold ISO 9001:2015 quality accreditation and ISO 14001:2015, a standard that requires the monitoring, assessment, and mitigation of the business' impact on the wider environment.
Currie and Warner operate a 24/7 lights-out operation, enabling the company's workhorse Wickman multi-spindle CNC lathes, and other CNC machine tools, to produce small componentry, such as adaptors (predominately from brass, aluminium, stainless, and mild) in batches by the million for industries including Oil & Gas and Automotive - of which, 40% of total output is exported to America, Mexico and across Europe.
It is these high volumes that found QHSE Manager, David Bonnick, investigating ways of increasing efficiencies. He explains: "We looked across the business at what resources we had available and how much of that resource was required for basic tasks – it was about time, it was about bottlenecks, but also capability. Our customers are getting more advanced and they are demanding more data. Not only do the products need to conform to a drawing, but can we provide evidence that they conform? We very quickly realised that we had to make improvements."
"Looking to our inspection department, we analysed 6 – 8 weeks of data gathered from our existing manual CMM and there were definite bottlenecks. It was time consuming to inspect the intricate parts we now produce."
Senior Inspector, Peter Quigley, explains the decision to look for a more advanced CNC inspection solution: "We had been using Aberlink's 3D measurement software on our retrofitted manual CMM for many years, so when the time came to invest in a CNC system to reduce the identified bottlenecks, we started to look at the Aberlink Xtreme CNC CMM.
"We looked at other CMMs available on the market, but having experience of the Aberlink measurement software, supplemented by the excellent level of after-sales support that we've received from Aberlink when needed, it made it an easy decision."
Following a demonstration at Aberlink's Gloucestershire head office, aided by regional sales representative, Ian Vaughan of Mantech Geometrics, Currie and Warner placed an order for the innovative Xtreme CNC CMM.
Once installed in the company's dedicated inspection room, Peter and his team very quickly started to see the benefits.
"With our older manual CMM, checking multiple parts could involve skilled staff sitting in front of the machine for up to an hour and a half at a time, but due to the Xtreme's high-performance CNC capabilities, coupled with a pre-programmed inspection routine, the CMM will check these same parts and features in less than 10 minutes.
"When a program has been written for the Xtreme, all the shop floor staff have to do is click a button – the software shows them how to place the component onto the granite bed of the machine and once they're happy, they click another button to run the inspection.
"The Aberlink 3D interface is so easy to use, and if you want people on the shop floor to embrace new technology, you have to make it as easy as possible for them. It really is a case of pressing two buttons to get a pass or fail, and if it fails, the software tells them what its failed on. If our staff do have to use the manual CMM for any reason, they comment how much easier the Xtreme is."
In addition to the Xtreme, Currie and Warner simultaneously purchased Aberlink's programming from CAD software module. This add-on module has allowed the Brownhills staff to create urgent measurement programs from a 3D CAD model, offline on a separate laptop before the parts have even been made.
Summarising the decision to invest in the Xtreme CNC CMM, David commented: "The Xtreme saves time across the board and meets the demands of our customers as they now all require SPC - which we can now provide. We get more accurate measurement data and more detailed reports.
"We've bought many pieces of equipment, but nothing has given us the advantages that the Xtreme CMM has. Our only restriction now is writing the programs fast enough."
Designed using a non-Cartesian structure and utilising linear motors and mechanical bearings, as its name implies, the award-winning Xtreme CNC CMM provides a robust solution for providing precision inspection results. Not only is it extremely easy to use but offers incredible value for money. Aberlink are proud to be the only major metrology manufacturer to supply machines with zero annual software maintenance contracts and free software updates for the life of the machine. All of this means that the cost of ownership is very low providing a fast return on investment.
Aberlink are now able to offer remote online demonstrations for the entire range of CMMs, measurement software and accessories to customers who are unable to travel to a regional demo facility.