“The machine is a game changer” – Allen Owens, Quality Manager
Pailton Engineering is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of suspension and steering components, selling to the global truck, bus, agricultural and military vehicle markets, with a great deal of business coming from USA, Israel, the UAE, Turkey and Australia. Naturally, there is a critical requirement for material hardness, be it for drop arms, ball joints or bevel gears, to name but three. On top of such standard production items, Pailton also produce many samples / prototypes for the growing electric vehicle market. Incorrect material hardness is, by definition, never acceptable, and the company performs over 400 hardness tests every week to ensure that their production is well within the appropriate hardness criteria (some parts require 100% testing, others are sampled on a batch basis).
They were previously using an old Avery Brinell hardness tester to do the work, however they felt that the time had come to upgrade their testing capabilities, and, after researching their options, they settled on a Foundrax Robus-D bench-top Brinell hardness tester. We travelled to Coventry to meet Allen Owens, Quality Manager, and goods-in quality technician Darren Smith, to hear about their experience of using the new machine.
They looked at Foundrax’s range of testers (alongside competitor products) because some years ago Foundrax had supplied them with a BRINtronic-LT automatic Brinell microscope, which remains in regular use and is popular with their technicians. Compared to the Foundrax range, others’ products appeared significantly more expensive but without offering greater functionality, so the next question was simply the choice of Foundrax tester. They considered both the Robus-D and Helios-D machines (which incorporate automatic measurement using the same proprietary technology that powers the BRINtronic-LT). Allen preferred the larger Helios-D, however, as the company did not expect to perform more than the current 400 or so tests each week, they decided that the Robus-D was better suited to the task. This is a bench-top Brinell tester (as opposed to the Helios-D which is designed for a knee-level table or plinth) suitable for components up to 320 mm in height, so it is well suited to most steering and suspension components.
Darren and Allen are both delighted with the new machine, particularly the automatic measurement system, as it produces results in seconds and provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing there is no operator influence on the result. The Robus provides an authoritative hardness figure that can be relied on and can, of course, also be presented to either customers or suppliers on the rare occasions there is a dispute. The user-friendliness is also highly valued as there are employees of many different nationalities at the company (the user interface is icon driven for simplicity, and can be configured for a wide variety of languages). They are very pleased with the ability to log their results and then go back to them afterwards if necessary, and they may network the machine in future to simplify the exporting of results. “We found that really useful, it allowed us to prove the capability of what we were doing” In fact, Allen said their general view of the machine is “Overall, very good, we like the machine very much. It’s a significant improvement on what we had before.” And Darren added “it’s just really easy”.
Allen also thanked Foundrax for supplying a temporary loan machine, free of charge, when their old Avery machine failed while the Robus was on order. He also said “Foundrax were really helpful, the installation ‘went like clockwork’… Dealing with Foundrax has been really easy, everyone has been really helpful, the office team respond really well. Communications are no problem, really good”.
“You’ve been really supportive, from day one, from the demo” – Allen Owens, Quality Manager.