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Bowers Universal ‘Rings’ the Changes for Silcoms

Serving the global aero engine and gas turbine industries, Silcoms Ltd is a leading UK supplier of machined rings...

Silcoms supplies its global customer base with a diverse portfolio of rings for all sections of aero-engines, from the fan, through the compressor and combustor to the turbine and exhaust. Projects supported embrace most of today’s civil and military programmes including the Trent 900 and GP7000 for the Airbus A380, the Trent 1000, PW1000G, Eurofighter’s EJ200 and JSF lift and thrust engines.

Significant capital investment over the last few years has included the acquisition of 5-axis, twin pallet machining centres; large ‘ram type’ CNC vertical borers with auto tool change; an advanced CMM with scanning capability; and CAD/CAM solid modeling capability to complement DNC programming. A computer controlled balancing machine has also been installed within the company’s Fan Seals cell to balance rotating seals.

The company is accredited to BS-EN ISO9001:2008 / AS9100 quality assurance standard and holds NADCAP approval. In addition, Silcoms maintain a number of company specific approvals. The nature of the aero-engine components manufactured by Silcoms means that the highest quality standards are applied across all aspects of the company’s activities.

Andrew Morris, Silcoms Engineering Manager explained;

“In addition to our many official accreditations and company approvals, we are also internationally accredited for activities such as balancing and non-destructive testing. Besides in-depth final inspection, we undertake thorough in-process inspection routines on all of our products.

As we are able to both turn, and 5-axis mill aero-engine rings and casings of up to 2 metres in diameter, on the latest CNC machines, the sheer size of our components and their demanding accuracy specifications can result in in-process measuring difficulties.

Although we were able to achieve the required standards of precision with our previously used beam gauges, measuring 2 meter diameter components situated within machine tools proved both awkward and time consuming.

In accordance with our aim of continually improving our operational efficiency, we recently searched for a solution to this measuring problem. Having explored the available modular gauging options, we purchased a Universal Gauge from Bowers Metrology.

Now in constant use, our Universal Gauge’s modular construction means that we can assemble it in ways that enables it to accurately carry out all of our more difficult large diameter measurements.

When measuring internal and external diameters, the Universal Gauge’s ability to ‘freeze’ its display on the achieved reading provides great accuracy and repeatability. The gauge’s speed and ease of use, and its clear digital display make it ideal for inspecting large parts that are positioned within machine tools.

Our Bowers Universal was supplied with a wide range of extensions and accessories, meaning that we are able to construct the gauge to suit a wide range of diameters and uses on features such as plain diameters and undercuts. Since being issued to the shop floor, the new Bowers gauge has slashed our large diameter measuring times and also improved our already high accuracy standards.”

Bowers Universal Gauge’s ingenious modular format means that it can be quickly configured to suit almost any measuring challenge. Whether measuring internally or externally, the gauge’s ingenious constant pressure device ensures that all users achieve both accuracy and consistency of reading, whilst the gauge’s findings are displayed on an easy to read digital readout.

The unique modular construction of the Bowers Universal Gauge allows the fitting of a large variety of measuring contacts and adaptors, enabling countless measuring tasks to be completed with ease. Depending on the extensions used, the Universal is able to perform internal and external measurements from 0 – 3000 mm, 0 - 118".

Accessories for the precise measurement of threads, grooves, splines, gears, hole centres, and many other applications are available as standard, whilst Bowers is able to manufacture special adaptations for more unusual applications.

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