ACCURATE IN-PROCESS MEASUREMENT OF BORES
Alcon Components Ltd: Established in 1984 by engineer and sports car racer John Moore, the well-known brake and clutch product manufacturer, Alcon Components Ltd now employs more than 80 staff at its global headquarters and impressive manufacturing facility based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Complementing the work of technical sales personnel located in the UK, the USA and France, Alcon has a network of distributors situated throughout Europe, Africa and Australasia. Alcon’s comprehensive range of brake and clutch products are able to satisfy an extremely wide spectrum of customers, from an F1 designer seeking a bespoke solution, to an enthusiast building a race car on a tight budget. Equally an OEM project engineer with a new performance car programme to support is able to find all of the help he needs.
Within the challenging world of motor-sport, as well as enjoying official Technical Partner status with the Honda F1 Racing Team for the past 7 years, Alcon’s advanced brake hardware is also used by a number of other prominent F1 teams.
Alcon’s advanced brake hardware is also supplied to Citroën, helping Sebastien Loeb to dominate the demanding World Rally Championship [WRC] in recent years. Reflecting the global popularity of the company’s products, the motor-sport departments of Audi, BMW, Ford, Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen are all valued Alcon customers. Whilst In the USA, every IRL title since 2003 has been won using Alcon brakes. Well-known, front-running NASCAR customers include the famous Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports teams.
In the field of specialist and performance road cars, Alcon serve an impressive list of prestigious road car manufacturers, including Audi, Bentley, Brabus, Jaguar and Land Rover. The company’s reputation for technical innovation is illustrated by the advanced brake calipers it supplies for the Bentley Continental GT Supersports and Audi RS6, the company’s vast but lightweight 8-piston calipers are designed specifically to clamp the world’s largest road car brake discs.
The safety critical nature of Alcon’s products dictates that the company runs an extremely stringent quality control regime. In addition to employing a full range of high-tech inspection equipment, the specialised nature of the company’s products means that bespoke solutions to some of Alcon’s more unusual measuring applications have to be sought. A perfect illustration of the ingenious solutions Alcon apply to difficult gauging problems is the custom-built bore gauge system recently supplied by Bowers Metrology UK.
Having sought an easy to use, ‘off the shelf’ solution to the precise measurement of a pressure seal groove and a wiper seal groove, located in the piston bore of a high performance brake caliper, Carl Evans, Alcon’s Quality Engineer was unable to find a standard gauge that would match the company’s demanding accuracy specification.
A chance conversation with a Bowers’ Sales Engineer resulted in Bowers manufacturing a specialised digital bore gauge. Carl Evans enthused, “Based on Bowers’ XT Xtreme, Pistol Grip Digital Bore Gauge, our new measuring kit has measuring anvils that match the profiles of our caliper bore grooves. By pulling the gauge’s trigger, the instrument’s anvils retract allowing entry into the bore, releasing the trigger enables the contacts to locate accurately into our difficult to access grooves. The resulting diameter measurement is then instantly displayed on the gauges digital output. The micron capable Bowers gauges are extremely repeatable, they have speeded-up a previous time consuming inspection routine and have proven very popular with our machine operators.”
“Although we normally employ our new gauges on brake calipers post production, it is useful that, due to their impressive fluid resistance, we are able to measure components that remain located in our machine tools. The higher magnitude of dimensional measuring accuracy the Bowers kit as delivered, enabled us to recently undertake a rigorous process capability study. The result of this exercise has delivered considerable process improvements and a reduction in the purchase of consumable tooling. “
Bradford based Bowers, the world’s leading bore gauge manufacturer, describe their state-of-the-art, XT Xtreme range as the ideal solution to bore gauging within hostile measuring environments, such as in close proximity to Machine Tools. The impressive, XT Xtreme Bore Gauging range has advanced new electronics boasting a very impressive IP65 rating, rendering them resistant to coolant and water. Amongst a long list of useful features incorporated into these, radical tough instruments are: - a clear digital display, a metric/inch conversion, an RS 232 output and hardwearing extended travel carbide measuring anvils. Available to measure diameters up to 300mm, as with Alcon, Bowers is able to manufacture inexpensive ‘one-off’ XT instruments to cater for many none standard internal measuring applications, such as threads, grooves and splines.
For more information on the Bowers Bore Gauge range, click here.
Updated on February 22, 2011 15:28