Given their deformable nature, precise rubber components raise a variety of gauging challenges. As conventional physical measuring techniques are liable to distort rubber components’ geometry and have an adverse effect on the accuracy of a gauging routine, non-contact measuring methods have long been regarded as the best means of achieving optimum accuracy.
Although equipment such as profile projectors has traditionally been employed for measuring rubber components, the advent of high-accuracy, 3-axis non-contact video measuring systems, means that previously unimagined accuracy levels can now be achieved and the most complex of component features can now be precisely inspected.
Since its inception in 1978 Butser Rubber has gained an excellent global reputation as a first class manufacturer of high-quality, custom-built rubber components. The burgeoning company’s rise to eminence has resulted in it becoming a key supplier to a wide range of demanding industries including the aerospace, automotive, motorsport, chemical, oil, defence, electrical, marine and medical sectors.
From its high-tech design and manufacturing plant, based in Liss, Hampshire, the company is capable of undertaking contracts for the supply of one-off components, to very high-volume production runs.
Butser Rubber’s range of customer focused services begin prior to manufacturing, by applying the company’s high levels of expertise at an early stage in the design process, optimum, cost-effective solution being applied to all customer’s applications.
Whilst high levels of technical expertise within the field of accurate rubber moulding allows the production of a wide range of high quality goods, including precision gaskets and fabrications in natural, synthetic and spec polymers.
Material technology for aircraft
Supplying critical rubber components to today’s aircraft systems means that Butser Rubber strives continuously to improve material technology and production processes, as a result the company’s components can be found on the majority of commercial aircraft that are currently in service.
In contrast to the company’s cutting edge design and performance aerospace work, Butser Rubber is also engaged in the restoration and remanufacturing of pattern parts for World War 2 flying legends, such as those involved in the Battle of Britain Memorial flight.
Flexible solutions for motor sport
Reflecting the reputation for the quality of the company’s products, Butser Rubber supply a range of components, including sealing, anti-vibration and flexible solutions, to all of the current Formula One teams, either directly or through teams’ engine and transmission builders.
Working within the demanding Formula One sector has given the Butser Rubber an in-depth understanding of the global motor sport industry. This knowledge has lead to the company building key components for cars involved in The ‘World Rally Championship’, ‘British GT Series’, ‘Formula Nippon’, ‘GP’ and ‘Le Mans 24’.
Stringent Defence Standards
An ISO 9001:2008 accredited company with full traceability to all raw material sources; Butser Rubber can supply rubber and rubber fabrications to a range of Defence Standards including natural rubber to NRQX.
A stringent quality ethos permeates all aspects of the company’s endeavours, whilst highly trained staff ensures full control of every in-house process and all materials used. Relying heavily on the principles of TQM plus other modern quality tools such as Poka Yoka, Kaizen, 5S’s 7 Muda, the company has designed and implemented a continuous improvement programme to drive it towards the goal of zero internal defects.
3-D Precision video measuring system to ensure quality
To help uphold the company’s hard won reputation for quality, Butser Rubber make regular investments in the latest inspection equipment, a case in point was the company’s recent purchase of a Falcon Video Measuring Machine from Vision Engineering.
Now in daily use the Falcon 5000 is making a significant contribution to the work of the company’s busy quality department. Butser Rubber Production Director, Charles Newby recently said:
“Having been keen users of Vision Engineering’s Mantis, low magnification visual inspection microscopes, for several years, we have been very impressed by the superb 3-D imaging they provide.»
“Our Mantis units’ ergonomics give our operators improved freedom of head movement, whilst their advanced optical technology allows improved hand-eye co-ordination.»
“Compared to our previously used systems our Mantis microscopes have considerably reduced eye strain, whilst also allowing our inspection operators to wear glasses if required.”
When the requirement for a high-accuracy, 3-axis non-contact video measuring system arose, impressed by the contribution made by the company’s Mantis units and the service provided by Vision Engineering, a demonstration of Vision’s recently launched Falcon was requested.
100% inspection of high volume, complex automotive parts
“Having recently been awarded a very prestigious contract for the extremely high volume supply of precision automotive components, we realised that, although we had the necessary expertise and manufacturing capacity, the requirement for 100% inspection of these complex parts, would overwhelm our already busy inspection department.»
“Complicating our requirement, the nature of our manufactured components means that they are deformable, this factor precludes the use of conventional physical measuring techniques within our in-process and final inspection routines.»
“Although we have enjoyed the many benefits of using Vision Engineering’s Mantis stereo microscopes for a number of years, we did consider several other brands of non-contact 3-axis measuring devices. Although once the advanced features of Vision Engineering’s Falcon had been demonstrated, we realised that we had found the ideal solution to our high-volume, high-accuracy measuring needs.»
“Now in daily use, our Falcon 3-axis, non-contact measuring system is now allowing us to undertake the required 100% inspection of our high volume, complex automotive parts.»
“Such is the speed of the Falcon’s operation, it is able to perform the in-depth measurement of a full batch of parts in just 2 hours, this compares to the previously taken 2 days.”
Vision Engineering’s Falcon 5000 incorporates over 50 years of proven optical experience, in a high accuracy 3-axis non-contact video measuring system.
Encompassing many technical innovations, the advanced Vision Engineering products delivers high accuracy measurement results within a compact footprint, yet is suitable for both shop-floor quality control and manufacturing inspection applications.
Falcon provides fast and accurate 3-axis measurement of both routine and complex precision component parts. From simple, single-feature operations, to multi-point video edge detection measurements, Falcon combines class-leading simplicity with high accuracy and repeatability.
Vision Engineering’s value-for-money, 3-axis video measuring system capabilities include, high resolution indexed zoom optics, offering high precision and improved flexibility in a compact design.
Falcon boasts a large field of view for easy sample orientation and unique surface and substage iris aperture control for adjusting the depth of field. Other advanced standard features include, progressive motorised Z-axis control, controllable quadrant LED illumination and both high and low magnification lens options.
Ultimately, the Falcon has been designed to make the measurement procedure as simplistic as possible, with ergonomically designed system adjustments and intuitive software allowing for fast navigation.