MGS investing $2 million, upgrading lab

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MGS Manufacturing Group MGS Manufacturing Group began using its Zeiss Metrotom 800 equipment in April.

MGS Manufacturing Group is investing about $2 million to double the size and upgrade the capabilities of its metrology laboratory in Germantown, Wis.

MGS created a 5,000-square-foot facility within an existing building and is nearing completion of various stages of the improvements, installations and relocation of equipment from 2,500 square feet nearby.

Scott Wetzel, MGS director of quality, conducted extensive research over nearly a year en route to the firm’s acquisition of a Metrotom 800 computer tomography X-ray scanning measurement machine from Carl Zeiss Industrielle Messtechnik GmbH of Oberkochen, Germany. The machine uses a proprietary Calypso software suite that supports all Zeiss sensors and measuring capabilities.

Selection of the Metrotom hinged on the machine’s suitability for use on a significant portion of MGS customers’ small-to-medium-sized tight-tolerance parts. The Metrotom takes three-dimensional measurements without touching a part and non-destructively looks through the product avoiding the need for dissection.

After gaining state of Wisconsin certification for the machine, MGS began operating the Metrotom in April to address “the toughest applications” for MGS in “every industry we are in,” Wetzel said in a telephone interview.

In addition, MGS plans to acquire a Zeiss white light scanner after initial evaluation of the Metrotom’s operational characteristics.

“Our whole goal is to gain knowledge about a part’s current state by scanning,” Wetzel said. With the Metrotom, “we can give feedback in 20 minutes with a fast scan.”

Wetzel noted that the metrology lab has evolved from the days when MGS quality functions were focused within the mold making department.

“We were building molds for a variety of customers and had to be able to perform complex tasks,” he said. “About 15 years ago, most of our metrology was hand gauges and manual visual [devices].”

About 5 to 7 years ago, the MGS lab added a second coordinate measuring machine from Hexagon Metrology Inc.’s Brown & Sharpe division and a SmartScope Flash 500 video and multisensory system from Quality Vision International Inc.’s Optical Gaging Products division.

MGS will use the new and existing equipment “across the entire company for new qualification activities,” Wetzel said. “Quality is a 24/7 operation now with engineers on staff.”

The quality department in Germantown employs 24, including the recent addition of two engineers for electronic data analysis.

MGS injection molds components in Germantown, Libertyville, Ill., Antioch, Ill., Chihuahua, Mexico, Leixlip, Ireland, and, effective July 1, Buffalo, N.Y., after completion of the purchase of a facility and related product line from Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill.

Key MGS end markets during 2013 included medical, 24.5 percent; electronics, 18 percent; automotive, 17.5 percent; and business machines, 15.5 percent. Of $165.4 million in sales, molding accounted for 68 percent, tooling for 23 percent and equipment for 9 percent.