Did you know how...

... car parts for motor sports are measured?

Screaming engines, the smell of gasoline, spectacular passing: in motorsports, there is plenty to keep fans' adrenaline levels high. But for developers and manufacturers of car parts, the sport demands the ultimate in precision. After all, the parts have to be produced precisely – not just to get that vital tenth of a second out of the car, but also to ensure the driver's safety by delivering a high degree of reliability.

Supplier Pratt & Miller Engineering has been fulfilling these requirements for years. The company played a key role in the development of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R back in 1999, and is part of General Motors racing teams Corvette Racing and Cadillac Racing to this day. During this time, Corvette has won the 24-hour Le Mans car race seven times and has also been victorious in the American Le Mans Series seven times in a row. In 2005, Cadillac achieved victory in the Speed World Challenge as a first-time participant. In addition, a Pontiac GTO.R built by Pratt & Miller won the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2006.

In motorsports, the competition is constantly getting tougher – and the requirements more demanding. This is why the racing teams require their suppliers to deliver higher and higher degrees of reproducibility and precision – with shorter and shorter throughput times. Pratt & Miller's intricate tests, using portable measuring arms of various sizes and various hand tools, were no longer able to meet these demanding requirements. Therefore, the company purchased a bridge-type measuring machine from ZEISS in March 2011.

The new measuring machine measures the wheel suspensions for both the above-mentioned racing teams several times over: during initial sample testing right before external processing, following heat treatment and finally, after grinding. This guarantees maximum precision in the range of a few micrometers. The length of time required for a wheel suspension inspection has been reduced from two hours to just 20 minutes. Plus, all measurements are now carried out with a single instrument instead of up to 20 tools. Pratt & Miller can now measure over 100 parts in one day.

19 August 2014