Motor Valley® UK, termed the "hub of leading technology" by the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), is home to some of the most cutting-edge and precise performance engineering and manufacturing in the country.
Ideally placed in this region is Long Crendon-based, Good Fabrications Ltd or GoodFabs as they're more widely known in the industry. A member of the Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC), over 75% of GoodFabs output is produced and supplied to Formula 1, with the remaining 25% manufactured for other racing categories including the World Rally Championships (WRC), Touring Cars and NASCAR.
Formed in 1982 by Steve Good, an ex-McLaren fabricator, for the past 37 years GoodFabs have earned an enviable, international reputation for designing, developing and manufacturing performance exhausts and manifolds for the world's fastest machines at the very top levels of Motorsport. Each and every component on the car could mean the difference between winning and losing.
Working closely alongside race teams and engine builders alike, GoodFabs use Titanium, Inconel and other exotic high-end materials to produce bespoke and small batch parts using a combination of tube forming and pressing, tube bending, heat shielding, machining and fabrication.
In an industry where a quick turnaround on parts is a necessity, there's little room to manoeuvre when such strict tolerances and accuracies need to be achieved. Customer requirements and expectations are high.
While already using an articulating arm for larger, less complex measurement routines, GoodFabs were prompted by customer requirements to seek out further, more accurate measurement solutions. Process Manager, Paul Watson explains: "A number of machined parts were subject to tighter and tighter tolerances due to the nature of the business and we needed an extra level of accuracy to meet requirements – our articulating arm is fine for larger, more complete assemblies but we were not able to achieve the accuracy needed on much smaller components."
"For this reason, we decided to invest in a CMM to ensure that parts were conforming to customer supplied drawings."
Following a period of extensive research and a review of the available options on the market, GoodFabs attended a demonstration of Aberlink's best-selling Axiom too CNC CMM at their headquarters in Gloucestershire.
So impressed by what they saw, GoodFabs placed an order for the highly-accurate Axiom too 600 CNC CMM complete with automatic indexing touch trigger probe and Aberlink's industry standard, easy-to-use 3D measurement software, which the company offers free of any annual software subscription charges or maintenance fees.
Now installed in a dedicated inspection room Paul comments: "The Axiom too CNC CMM and Aberlink 3D measurement software, with its graphical interface, is very easy to use. So much so that when our lead inspector was unfortunately unable to attend the training session, in just a few days he was able to pick up how to use the software from colleagues who did attend – an excellent demonstration of just how easy it is to use and how good the training was from Aberlink. In addition, due to the machine's accuracy we can now measure components to much tighter tolerances."
Paul concludes on just how this investment will benefit GoodFabs moving forward and allow them to attract new business: "In general, if we think there's a better service we can provide because there's better software or technology available, then we'll do that. We've invested heavily in the machining aspect of our company and the Axiom too CMM is another investment that will aid the business. We can develop and extend our machining capabilities because we know that the accuracies of what we produce is dead-on."
"The customer can design whatever they want, but achieving it isn't always easy. The Axiom too CMM now allows us to highlight to prospective customers the tolerances that we can meet and, in the long-term, it'll enable us to have more discussions about what we can produce. When we've talked to our existing customers about the CMM, they've seen the machine as a much welcome addition to our inspection capabilities."