Engineering a Quality ‘Form’

Established in 1971 in a small factory in Sharnford, Leicestershire, O.L.D. Engineering currently operates in an impressive facility in Hinckley. Since those early days, the company has constantly reinvested in state-of-the-art CNC machine tools and equipment to allow ever more complex work to be undertaken. In addition to first class sub-assembly and inspection facilities, the company now boasts an extensive range of advanced machining centres, CNC lathes, and grinding machines.

Given the growing complexity of the components O.L.D. Engineering manufactures, and its enduring quality philosophy, significant investments in high precision inspection equipment are regularly made.

Tim Bainbridge
Tim Bainbridge, Senior SQI Manager

Tim Bainbridge, O.L.D. Engineering Senior SQI Manager, explains: “Over the past five decades O.L.D. Engineering has grown to become a World-class, flexible and highly competitive precision engineering solutions provider. Although we mainly served the automotive industry we now have customers operating in many other demanding sectors, therefore our services are fully backed-up by a rigorous commitment to quality assurance. We also pursue a policy of regularly investing in the best available quality control equipment.”

As O.L.D. Engineering’s customers expect premium quality products to be delivered on time, at competitive prices, not only do all quality control checks need to be very precise, they need to be completed in a timely fashion. To help ensure the efficiency of its operation, when the need arises, O.L.D. Engineering purchases inspection equipment that delivers, not only the high levels of accuracy, but also the required speed of operation. An example of O.L.D. Engineering’s requirement for both precision and speed is the company’s recent acquisition of an advanced form, contour and surface roughness measuring system.

Tim Bainbridge continues: “We recently won a contract that involved the manufacture of precision shafts that had extremely demanding dimensional specifications. In particular, the lead angle of the shafts’ chamfers that entered mating parts, needed to be held to 30º with an extremely tight tolerance. As we needed more confidence in the results we were achieving with our optical comparator, and because of our growing need for a highly precise means of measuring components’ form, contour and surface roughness, we searched for a suitable solution.


The Mitutoyo Formtracer SV-C3200

The Formtracer SV-C3200 in operation
The Formtracer SV-C3200 in operation

“Having looked at a couple of alternative systems, a demonstration of Mitutoyo’s Formtracer SV-C3200 instrument, conducted on both our problematic shafts, and on a wide range of other challenging applications, persuaded us that the unit was ideal for our use.

“Now installed and fully operational, our quality personnel have had their initial product training. As the machine’s controls and software is relatively intuitive and easy to follow, we are already undertaking a lot of fairly involved form, contour and surface roughness inspection and achieving very accurate results. A second planned training session should enable our staff to quickly become fully proficient in the Formtracer SV-C3200’s use.

“Given the ever-increasing complexity of the parts we produce, in addition to improving the precision of our form, contour and surface roughness checks, it also helps that our new Mitutoyo instrument completes its routines extremely quickly. The speed of the Formtracer SV-C3200 has removed the potential for inspection department bottle-necks in these vital areas, and has enabled us to forward inspected components to dispatch much quicker.”

Mitutoyo offers a wide range of high quality, flexible measuring instruments that enable high-accuracy measurement of form/contour and surface roughness with just a single unit. The Mitutoyo Formtracer SV-C3200 boasts excellent traverse straightness making it suitable for handling workpieces calling for high accuracy. In addition to providing high-precision results, the Formtracer SV-C3200’s increased drive speeds, X1-axis of 80 mm/s and Z2-axis column of 20 mm/s, substantially reduces measurement cycle times.


For more information about our quality equipment and procedures, as well as our full range of capabilities, click here.