Portable CMMs Go to Inspection Source

Quality Magazine cover story, November 2010 Discover how rapid shop floor inspection makes quick work of Quality. By Ron Branch  For the machine shop that supplies the aerospace industry, portable coordinate measuring machine (PCMM) and model based definition (MBD) are everyday terms that are integral parts of its daily inspection routines. In the effort to drive quality and control processes, aerospace OEMs have altered the inspection methodology and the tools of their entire supply chain. Many of these suppliers are small- or mid-sized machine shops that have invested in inspection hardware, software and processes to satisfy strict quality s...

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SpaceX Demands Precise Positioning

With the retrieval of Dragon from the Pacific Ocean, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) became the first commercial company to launch and recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit. Placed into space atop the company’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle, Dragon completed two orbits with speeds topping 17,000 miles per hour. After its three-hour, fifty -thousand-mile flight, Dragon splashed down at the predicted time.This was the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program designed for companies to demonstrate International Space Station (ISS) resupply capabilities. Following completion of COTS missions, Dragon will begin regular fligh...

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Powering Up an Age Old Design

Reverse Engineering Helps Power Companies Generate Up To 15% More PowerVerisurf Software helps power companies reverse engineer steam turbine rotor assemblies to support new and improved bladding. Southern California Edison, GE, Alstom, Siemens, Mitsubishi and Toshiba have all used Verisurf Software to create "as built" CAD models of existing rotor assemblies. Why go to all that trouble you might ask? After 130 years, steam turbines are still a wonderful and powerful design generating approximately 90% of the electrical power in the United States.  Most of the steam turbine power plants in use today around the world were built over 60 years ago, long before CAD ...

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Scan It, Build It

When Gabe Draguicevich was asked to help fabricate a titanium hip implant based on CT (computed tomography, also known as CAT) scan data, he had to coordinate numerous technologies to complete the project. Because the CT data consisted of 2-D cross-sections, Draguicevich had to stack and align the individual scans to create a 3-D model, which he used to create a polygonal mesh in the form of a stereolithography (STL) file. After creating a prototype, he had to verify it against the original scan data, which was no mean feat considering that software capable of providing deviation analysis of the model surface to the STL file did not exist. Finally, Draguic...

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Quality Control for Big Fabricators

For some people thinking big is not so easy.  Which is why in business you often hear the statement, “Think Big  Think outside the box!” On the other hand, some people find thinking big, not only easy, but necessary.  Which is exactly the case at Irvine, CA’s Coast Composites, Inc., a large aerospace fabricator dedicated to producing large precision molds and tooling used by aircraft and other manufacturers for production of composite components. “At Coast Composites we have to think big,” says Steve Anthony, company IT manager. “Some of the high-precision tooling we produce for customers is really huge. One example of a large ...

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