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Xspect Solutions Inc.


Xspect Solutions Reincarnates Monster DEA Gantry CMM for SES

When SES recently leased a tire manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, they needed a big CMM.

Published: Friday, December 4, 2009 - 14:41

(Xspect Solutions Inc.: Wixcom, MI) -- Xspect Solutions is the world’s largest supplier of rebuilt and remanufactured coordinate measurement machines (CMMs), and has extensive expertise in the area of large CMMs. So when Science and Engineering Services Inc.’s (SESI) Huntsville Manufacturing Operations, in  Alabama, went online to find a large gantry-type CMM, Xspect Solutions stood out as the best potential source to provide for this manufacturing supplier to the Department of Defense and FAA-approved repair stations.

“We have recently secured a significant number of new hardware and services contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense and other related OEM manufacturers that required more manufacturing floor space to accommodate programs involving military equipment like tank components (turrets) and helicopters,” says Millard Jernigan, vice president for special projects for Huntsville Manufacturing Operations of SESI. “The helicopter work includes modification, upgrade, rebuild, and painting of all types of Army helicopters.

“In Huntsville we have had a 61,000 square foot manufacturing facility for the past 12 years, but we recently leased 500,000 square feet of the old Dunlop Tire manufacturing facility and have completely refurbished this space to handle some of our new programs,” Jernigan explains. “This space is completely heated and air-conditioned, newly painted floor to ceiling, and has lighting of 100-foot candles at bench level. We have installed large milling machines and a large water-jet cutting machine with a 13 x 13-foot bed capable of cutting up to 8-inch armor plate.”

“As part of this new capital investment program, we required a large CMM to provide the high quality level of inspection we were going to need for checking large airframes,” Jernigan adds. “We looked on the internet and discovered Xspect Solutions, a company that not only sold new CMMs but had the capability to find us a preowned CMM. I think Xspect calls them ‘Xperienced’ machines that could meet our needs at a significant savings. Keith Mills, Xspect Solution’s president explained to us that in some cases older CMM frames were originally manufactured to more exacting standards than some of the newer machines, and with the right level of remanufacture, can effectively operate for 15 to 20 more years. We asked Xspect Solutions to show us what they could do.”

“It wasn’t very difficult to find a pre-owned gantry CMM of the size that SESI required, because there are only six of them here in the United States,” says Mills. “We were able to purchase an older DEA Lambda 5509 gantry machine that was originally owned by Caterpillar. This is a big CMM. It stands 300-inches high with a work envelope that includes X travel of 320 inches, Y travel of 128 inches and Z travel of 100 inches.

“Apart from going thoroughly through all the mechanics of the machine, we rescaled it, replaced all of the original cables, retrofitted it with a new Wenzel CNC controller and upgraded the software to OpenDMIS. When we were finished, SES had a like-new ‘Xsperienced’ gantry CMM with a savings of nearly 70 percent compared to the cost of a new machine. Since that time, Xspect Solutions has purchased two other similar large pre-owned gantry CMMs that we have in stock awaiting new customer commitments.”

“Xspect Solutions provided us with a turnkey program for this project, ” says Jernigan. “We consulted with them on the specifications for the isolation pad that was required and the modifications to the building that we needed. We actually had to raise the roof of the building 11 feet to get the CMM in, and ultimately provided a new ceiling for the CMM area that was 11 feet higher than what was originally there. We currently have our CMM technicians being trained on using the OpenDMIS software and creating the inspection programs we now need.

“We’ve used CMMs for a number of years, but nothing like the size of this gantry machine. But this capability now allows us to accurately inspect products like 9-foot diameter tank turrets and helicopter frames. The installation of this CMM provides SESI the additional opportunity of offering quality measurement services to other commercial or government organizations.”

The SESI contact information can be found at www.ses-i.com.



About The Author

Xspect Solutions Inc.’s picture

Xspect Solutions Inc.

Xspect Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of Wenzel, provides total coordinate metrology sourcing, allowing customers to focus on their manufacturing priorities while allowing a team of Xsperts to take care of their calibration, measuring, and new or preowned equipment needs.