+Vantage Corporation started by providing metrology and assembly solutions to the automation industry, and now provides full integration for robots and sensors. They turned to New Way to help build precision inspection stages, including a piston pin inspection stage built on T-series Air Spindles.
+Vantage Corporation had its beginnings providing metrology and assembly solutions to the automotive industry. As the demand for automation and precision has increased, +Vantage has expanded its expertise to include the integration of intelligent manufacturing systems to a broader range of industries including:
Critical to the success of these integrated systems is the inspection of products. Bearing choice was important as friction could potentially mask or induce errors during operation, questioning the integrity of the results. “As manufacturing tolerances have gotten tighter in the production world, the earlier technologies just became obsolete for us,” remarked Carl Mumaw, Engineering Manager at +Vantage Corporation. Recognizing friction as an inhibitor to their success, the team at +Vantage began investigating air bearing solutions; they realized they (air bearings) “put us at an advantage to other companies doing similar type of work.”
In 2016 +Vantage reached out to New Way® to provide a frictionless bearing solution for use in the inspection of pin and crank journals on a crankshaft. This solution enabled the gauge head to dynamically move without contributing mechanical influences as ball bearings do. Ted Wilcome, Systems Design Engineer for +Vantage explained, that this application, like many others, required a “demanding accuracy and repeatability of the bearing performance.”
The success with New Way’s products enabled +Vantage to expand the use of New Way Air Bearing products into the inspection of other critical automotive and diesel components:
+Vantage has worked with different styles of air bearings. Initially, they did a lot of work with traditional orifice-based air bearings. Over time though, they have been presented with more complicated systems with tighter requirements down to nanometer accuracy. Orifice-based air bearings are unable to meet this level of precision, driving the +Vantage team to the more prevalent use of porous media air bearings. The team at +Vantage commented on the mechanical advantages of porous media, such as:
All of New Way’s products are built on Porous Media Technology™ which uses the inherent permeability of carbon to distribute air through millions of sub-micron holes. This concept delivers an even and stiff cushion of air, resolving concerns of pressure gradients which can impact precision, repeatability, or cause the air bearings to crash and become damaged.
New Way was not the first air bearing supplier for +Vantage. Previously, they had worked with both orifice as well as other porous media air bearing suppliers, but Wilcome remarked that they “always had inadequate experiences due to either:
That changed when they began working with New Way.
“Everything has been an added benefit to us,” stated Mumaw. His team listed the many benefits +Vantage experienced with New Way products, including:
This new standard New Way created for +Vantage wasn’t just about product performance.
“+Vantage as a whole has been very satisfied with the full team effort that New Way has been able to offer us,” stated Mumaw. New Way’s team worked closely with +Vantage during some manufacturing lead-time issues, addressing the issue and allowing them to stay on track with their development.
New Way has also provided custom solutions for +Vantage. Mumaw and Wilcome worked with another supplier for a custom solution but with an “extremely poor result.” New Way entered the picture and provided a resolution, even though it wasn’t their original product.
The end was “a great result,” remarked Mumaw. New Way’s assistance allowed +Vantage to create a small standard product line of rotary displacement transducers. The custom spindle created by New Way is now used as +Vantage’s standard spindle for performing precision roundness and cylindricity scans/measurements across a wide range of products, such as measuring the cylindricity of cylinder bores.
Wilcome commented how New Way’s custom solutions have allowed +Vantage to go “outside the box in a way they hadn’t anticipated before,” positioning +Vantage for growth.
“We have not been disappointed with a single product New Way has provided to us,” Mumaw stated, summing up his team’s experience with New Way. As +Vantage is presented with the challenge to integrate increasingly complex manufacturing systems, they know they can depend on the superior performance of New Way products.
“New Way takes pride in offering quality air bearing solutions, while also providing the support our clients need,” said Rich Hesse, Technical Sales Manager for New Way.
Contact us today to find out how air bearings can set your products apart from the competition by experiencing the benefits of Frictionless Motion™.