Bombardier is using a GapGun from Bristol-based Third Dimension (www.third.com
) — a supplier of metrology equipment and services —to assist quality inspection for the production of 66 train carriages on order for Transport for London’s Elizabeth line service.
The train maker is also planning to use the system in the production of 45 carriages for London Overground’s LoTrain project.
Colin Mellor, Bombardier’s operations quality manager, says the GapGun is a “culture changer” that has already saved the company huge amounts of time and money.
“Since we started using the GapGun we have been able to speed up the production process and check each part as we go along, allowing us to ‘head off’ problems before they arise.
“We have recently sold our first Elizabeth line train and it’s clear from this first sale that the procurement of the GapGuns was indeed a wise investment.”
The new trains are being manufactured and assembled at Bombardier’s plant in Derby, supporting more than 750 manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships.
The firm is using GapGun to check components, along with the ‘gap, flush and radius characteristics’ of panels before and after being fitted, considerably reducing the time taken to check each panel and allowing problems to be rectified well ahead of completion.
Mr Mellor added: “The GapGun completely removes ambiguity and subjectivity. It is so accurate that it leaves no margin of error; it is also really easy to use, with operators only needing a couple of hours training.
“Moreover, this hand-held instrument can measure without needing to touch the surface. This maximises the accuracy and repeatability of measurements; it also allows soft or unfixed parts to be measured — and eliminates the possibility of surface damage.”
Peter Rogan of Third Dimension, said: “With just a simple point and a click of the GapGun, measurements can be taken in seconds. The instrument can be used for quality inspection in virtually all manufacturing industries, and it has already been widely adopted in the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors.”