How multi-sensor CMMs can help increase productivity and support expansion of a company’s product portfolio. By Ashley Machin, Nikon Metrology Europe
With Indian authorities pushing for more locally sourced and manufactured components, Fine Forge was founded with the aim to replace the need for imported turbine blades with locally manufactured components. The company based in Hyderabad specialises in the manufacture of turbine blades.
The moving blades and guide blades which occupy a large percentage of Fine Forge’s production are essential for the optimal functioning of steam turbines. The company is responsible for manufacturing up to 95 types of moving blades and 24 types of guide blades, all of which have differing, complex geometry.
They required a system that could make 3D scanning easy for the wide range of varying shapes and sizes. The blades, which are made from X20, X10 and X22 compositions of stainless steel, are developed and supplied to different customers for applications in the power and industrial sectors.
The company previously used manual and destructive measurement methods which were counter-productive, with data collection methods particularly time-consuming as well as the waste of expensive materials and parts. Fine Forge wanted to replace its manual methods and find a method that could introduce reverse engineering capabilities to help slash CAD design turnaround times.
These points were the criteria before consulting an array of CMM suppliers. A fast and accurate multi-sensor system that could facilitate QA and reverse engineering was required.
After consulting other suppliers and searching the market, it was discovered that Nikon Metrology could provide the most full and comprehensive solution.
The company’s multi-sensor Altera CMM with Camio software combines touch probing, SP25 continuous scanning and laser scanning, providing Fine Forge with a complete inspection toolbox.
Regarding accuracy, the Nikon LC15Dx is closing the gap with tactile inspection systems, delivering the most accurate results possible for a laser scanner. Thanks to the optical chain design using a Nikon focusing lens, the scanner is able to obtain a probing error of just 1.9 µm. Not only does the scanner facilitate the measurement of complex shapes, it also helps speed up inspection and reverse engineering requirements.
For difficult-to-access elements such as internal features and diameters or in the case of only a few sections to measure, the laser scanner can switched with the tactile SP25. The Camio software is also able to switch laser scanner and tactile probes conveniently as well. The software also allows for inspection task reports, providing a detailed analysis in the form of instant, easy-to-interpret results.
The productivity increase since the installation has helped the team to look for new possibilities and expand into different sectors. Vinod Reddy, managing director at Fine Forge explained that with the installation of the Nikon system, they are now able to explore new possibilities in pipe fittings and heavy truck components.
Many of the pipe fitting manufacturers never had the drawings for their parts, but the LC15Dx’s reverse engineering capabilities has enabled easy migration from the power industry to heavy truck components and pipe fittings, making exploring this market possible.
However, turbine blade manufacture does still remain part of the business today. The introduction of the laser scanner now enables the measurement of larger complex sheet metal blades, which was not possible before.
The multi-sensor CMM is equipped to deal with many more different workpieces. After the installation of the Nikon system, the team at Fine Forge have expressed their satisfaction with the investment and the opportunities introduced. Since then, the company has diversified, and now supplies steel forgings for power, automotive industries and more.
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