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3 minute read

NPL helps to put precision engineering company on course to achieve ambitious growth targets and double turnover

Precision engineering firm JJ Churchill was looking to maintain an advantage in a highly competitive market and had invested heavily in 10 high-specification Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM), adding to the 27 multi-axis CNC machines already in operation. However, the company then found that it needed to address a problem with a customer rejecting parts, which appeared to be as a result of a discrepancy between results from their CMM and their customer’s.

Although their CMM readings showed an exact match with the drawings the customer provided, these were not replicated when the customer checked them – their CMM and the customer’s were telling two different stories.

NPL worked with JJ Churchill to develop a consistent approach to CMM best practice for all machine operators / Picture: Getty/iStock


They also wanted to ensure that the effectiveness of the new measurement equipment was being maximised, and the company required a highly skilled engineering, metrology and machine operator resource. JJ Churchill’s favoured approach was to develop its existing workforce to run this capability, as they were already experts in JJ Churchill’s products and manufacturing methods.

The Solution

JJ Churchill called in the experts from NPL as part of the Sharing in Growth programme to carry out a standard Product Verification Health Check to help them identify the discrepancy with their CMM. This work was also supported by the development of a consistent approach to CMM best practice for all machine operators.

The NPL team spent time on-site with JJ Churchill staff to fully understand the history, evolution and culture of the company and its measurement systems. They then developed a bespoke operator best-practice training package to roll out to all operators throughout the company.

The training pack for JJ Churchill employees covered understanding of coordinate measuring machine history and application, improved capability to interpret CMM data and the care and maintenance of CMM machines. Furthermore, an additional NPL Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) fundamentals training package was delivered to Quality and Production Engineers to upskill the team in monitoring and improving MSA on all measurement equipment.

NPL’s work with JJ Churchill will result in reduced downtime, leading to increased production and cost reductions / Picture: Getty/iStock


The Impact

It didn’t take long for the company to reap the benefits of working with NPL’s Product Verification team. “This work has been valuable in understanding our CMM’s capabilities and our own ability to achieve the tight tolerances prescribed by our customer base,” explains Paul Oldfield, JJ Churchill’s Quality Manager. “We have reduced downtime by eight per cent, improved measurement stability and embedded best practice across our entire workforce. This in turn has eliminated the variation in working practices originally observed in a number of areas”.

NPL’s work with JJ Churchill, as part of the Sharing in Growth programme, will result in reduced downtime in the company, leading to increased production and cost reductions, as well as helping them achieve ambitious growth targets.

If you’re a UK precision or advanced manufacturer, discover the ways in which NPL can help support your business and get closer to perfection by visiting: