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Freedom To Measure With Volvo

Freedom To Measure With Volvo

An automotive production plant for Volvo has boosted its productivity and efficiency with advanced measurement systems. Article by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.  

With some 2400 employees, Volvo Car Body Components (VCBC) in Olofström is an automotive production plant that produces millions of car body parts every year. From hoods and roofs to doors and subassemblies, the facility is dedicated to pressing sheet metal into vital car components that are shipped whole or partially assembled to Volvo car factories around the world for final assembly and finishing.

The earliest production stages of the car design process at Volvo rely heavily on the development of the sheet metal stamping tools designed and manufactured by the Tool and Die team at Olofström. The team is first responsible for producing tool prototypes, and with up with up to 80 tools needed for a vehicle project this can be a four-to-five-month task. Each project typically runs for a year, and the remainder of the time is dedicated to producing the final tooling that will be used to press hundreds of thousands of car body components.

In 2018, the team decided it was time to introduce a modern metrology solution to their tool prototyping and production with the goal of improving productivity. They identified several key steps in their design, production and validation process that could potentially benefit from the introduction of advanced measurement devices. Having a large and well-equipped quality room already in place, the team was already familiar with a wide range of metrology hardware. One of their key considerations was identifying a solution that would be as at home on the shop floor as it was in the quality room.

Improving the Initial Casting

The first step in producing a designed prototype or final tool is the precision milling of a casted block of raw material. Casting is not a precise process, and the casted part is typically delivered with a lot of excess raw material that must be subsequently milled down to the correct size and shape.

A key step in setting up a casted part for milling is ensuring there is no collision between the milling machine and part as they are both moved into position. Such a collision can result in expensive and time-consuming damage to the CNC milling machine. Therefore, the operator must introduce a safety factor when setting things up – positioning the machine far enough away from the material that they are sure no collision will occur. Doing this by eye is not easy, and often means that the milling machine spends a significant amount of time at the beginning of its program milling nothing.

“When you can optimise the milling program to the actual size of the material, that’s the big time saving, because it doesn’t matter if the machine goes through the air or through the material, it’s the same speed,” said Kim Tingstedt, Tool and Die Operator at VCBC Olofström.

This optimisation was already being performed, but with the comprehensive data provided by a scanner, things could be much easier. This casting scan data can be used in other ways to improve production. Tool castings are extremely heavy and difficult to move, so any possibility to make them lighter improves their usability and reduces the amount of raw material required to make them. This means they have to be as small as possible – but not too small; if not enough material is left between the outside of the tool and the inside of its precision mould, it won’t be strong enough to withstand repeated high-power stamping.

Using scan data taken after casting, the casting of subsequent prototypes and final tools can be refined to ensure the minimum weight and raw material usage is achieved without diminishing the structural integrity of the tool. This also has the benefit of allowing the milling machine to begin its work closer to the final part shape with each iteration, compounding the time savings at every step.

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Topometric Develops One Measuring Fixture For All Vehicle Doors

topometric Develops One Measuring Fixture For All Vehicle Doors

topometric GmbH has developed a multi-door fixture for an optical inspection system, which helps accommodate different doors for different vehicle models—both inner and outer panels and complete door assemblies. Model-specific individual door fixtures are no longer needed; just the support and contact points have to be adapted.

The multi-door fixture from topometric saves costs and storage space. Since there is no time for loading and unloading of the fixtures, the measuring machine’s capacities can be used up to 50 percent better. Measuring technicians are less tied to manual workpiece exchanges and can increase significantly the throughput of the expensive measuring device.

In each case, a door set can be measured on the multi-door fixture. The polyamide plastic contact points avoid damage to sensitive parts. (Photograph: topometric)

In each case, a door set can be measured on the multi-door fixture. The polyamide plastic contact points avoid damage to sensitive parts. (Photograph: topometric)

The relevant tilt angle for correct positioning of the parts is set on the fixture via the profile system. This enables reproducible measurements.   (Photograph: topometric)

The relevant tilt angle for correct positioning of the parts is set on the fixture via the profile system. This enables reproducible measurements. (Photograph: topometric)

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OGP: Prosthetic Devices Inspection With ShapeGrabber Scanner

OGP: Prosthetic Devices Inspection With ShapeGrabber Scanner

Prosthetic Device Manufacturer Relies on ShapeGrabber for Measurement and Inspection

DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, designs, manufactures and distributes orthopaedic devices and supplies including hip, knee, extremity, trauma, orthobiologics and operating room products.

Components like knee implants are checked with laser scanning, because of the complex sculptured contours required for proper functioning.

As DePuy developed more complex, sculpted medical device components, implants, and prosthetics, it found its measurement capabilities were limited by the low point density and relatively slow speed of traditional touch probe technologies.

Because its devices were being used by human patients, DePuy needed dramatically higher density of point coverage to accurately capture the form and dimensions of these complex shapes, and the ability to compare them directly to CAD designs.

To obtain the high point density necessary for accurate measurements, DePuy selected a ShapeGrabber 3D laser scanning system. The ShapeGrabber solution proved to be faster and more versatile than other laser probe systems that DePuy evaluated, and the ShapeGrabber scanner was able to measure the complex, compound curves of DePuy parts quickly and accurately.

Since choosing the ShapeGrabber system, DePuy has found that it can reconfigure the scanner quickly to accommodate parts of different sizes and can perform the quality assurance inspections it requires to ensure its low volume parts are properly formed and sized.

“For complete inspection of our anatomical implants, we opted for the touchless approach of laser scanning. Our first laser probe system was very slow and had limited function, because it could only acquire one point at a time and could only measure diameters. We moved to a ShapeGrabber 3D laser scanner, a much faster and more versatile alternative,” said Roger Erickson, DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson and Johnson subsidiary.

Learn more about the ShapeGrabber here.

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Wenzel: Towards A Closed Loop Measurement Environment

Wenzel: Towards a Closed Loop Measurement Environment

Dr. Heike Wenzel, managing director and CEO of Wenzel Group, talks about the challenges and trends in the metrology industry, industries driving their growth, and her outlook for the market. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Dr. Heike Wenzel

Founded by Werner Wenzel in 1968, Wenzel Group has grown from being just a small workshop with just three people in Germany to a global company with subsidiaries in the United States, China, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Switzerland, and a workforce of more than 630 employees.

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) sat down with Dr. Heike Wenzel, managing director and CEO of Wenzel Group, to talk about the challenges and trends in the metrology industry, industries driving their growth, and her outlook.

GIVE US A BRIEF BACKGROUND ON WENZEL AND YOUR ROLE IN THE COMPANY.

Dr. Heike Wenzel (HW): We are the biggest family owned company in this industry. My father founded the company over 50 years ago, and we started with very precise parts. Now, we offer all of the tools in the metrology business—mainly CMMs—but also computer tomography solutions and all other things. Everything that is produced need to be measured, and we are the provider of the measurement equipment needed.

I grew up in the production area in the company. I really breathe the air there since the beginning. I went to university to study economics and informatics, without any thought about running the company. I started a consulting business, and I’ve seen many companies there that are interesting—but this company is our baby, it is a legacy, and I am happy to be running it now.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES IN THE METROLOGY INDUSTRY?

HW: Right now, the measuring machines are moving more in more into the production floor, because you need to have a close loop. You need to measure faster, and you need to produce faster. The trend is to produce individual, customized products; therefore, you need to produce fast and hence, you need to find out problems very early. Which is why measurement needs to be right there early in the process.

What everybody’s facing now is the need to have the right machines close to the production. And we have listened to our customers and developed solutions for it. Among our offerings now are special shop floor machines that are dedicated for this environment and have no problem with temperature differences or dirt. This will help customers get the information very early in the process so that they can change it and send the information back to the production machine; this is very important. As you need to be agile, the different machines need to communicate together—so you need this communication between the machines, and therefore software needs to be integrated in the whole process. This is also something that our customers need.

HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS TOWARD THEIR SMART FACTORY JOURNEY?

HW: The most important thing is, as we talk about smart factory, Industry 4.0, or Internet of Things (IoT), we help our customers get the right things, the right machines, and then to integrate them into the process so that these machines can communicate with each other.

YOU SAID MEASURING MACHINES ARE BEING PLACED IN THE FACTORY FLOOR. ARE THEY BEING INTEGRATED INLINE, OR ARE THEY STILL SEPARATE SYSTEMS?

HW: Yes, you need to be close to production so that you don’t have to go to the measuring room, and to lose time there. Whether it is integrated inline automation process or traditional stand-alone, it much depends on the application.

WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE DRIVING GROWTH?

HW: The aviation industry is still growing a lot. Measurement is getting more and more important because you need 100% accuracy there, because we need to be secure there. Of course, 3D printing is also a very important thing in production in general, and it is likewise driving the metrology business. We have our computer tomography solutions to measure those parts, because you can’t measure 3D printed parts without destroying them—so this is a growing business for us. Finally, the medical industry is also a growing business.

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES AT WENZEL.

HW: What we are highlighting right now is the shop floor machine (SF87), which is dedicated to the shop floor environment. It does not have any air bearings, and modern machine design with small footprint, flexible and universal use can be easily integration into inline and automation processes.  What is new—which we have launched early this year—is a measuring arm for mobile measurement; this helps customers to be more flexible for use in both production and quality measurement process.

HOW ARE MANUFACTURERS JUSTIFYING THE NEED TO ADAPT AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS IN THEIR LINE?

HW: All new things take time. People are very careful; they start with one machine close to the line, and they see how it works, before fully adopting the systems. As they think measurement is something complicated, it is our task to make these systems easy to use in the production area. Overall, it will take some time, but the manufacturing side is open for it because they see it is necessary, there is no way to go around it.

WHAT MAKES WENZEL’S METROLOGY SOLUTIONS UNIQUE?

HW: What makes our products unique is our manufacturing—we produce everything ourselves. We produce every part; we get the granite from South Africa and we cut it ourselves to make sure of the quality of the whole process of the machine production.

And as we are a family owned company, we are really behind the company. My name is on the machine, so I am really invested personally, and I am very much aware of what is going on in our production.

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR NEXT YEAR?

HW: To be honest, it is not a very exciting time right now because there are so many things happening worldwide, and the world is changing so much and so fast. The industry is sometimes waiting for the next steps, and decisions are not being made so fast at the moment, and that is a problem—which is why the market is going down.

But I hope this will change soon because the market needs to develop. We need a breakthrough very soon so that the market will go up again. At present, it is very difficult to look at the future. The forecast is good if you ask our sales force, they are all very positive about the many interesting projects—but the decisions are just not made as quickly as we would have hoped.

 

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Renishaw: SFP2 Surface Finish Measurement Probe

Renishaw: SFP2 Surface Finish Measurement Probe

Renishaw’s SFP2, a surface finish measurement probe designed for use with the REVO 5-axis measurement system on coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), increases the REVO system’s surface finish measurement ability.

The REVO system offers a multi-sensor capability with touch trigger, high speed tactile scanning and non-contact vision measurement on a single CMM.

The surface finish system is fully integrated with the standard CMM inspection program, thanks to the automatic changing of the SFP2 probe and stylus holders using the MRS-2 rack and RCP TC-3 ports. It is managed by the same I++ DME compliant interface as the REVO system, and the MODUS metrology software provides full user functionality.

Hexagon: PC-DMIS 2017 R1

Hexagon: PC-DMIS 2017 R1

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Model and mould-maker Sammer, Machining Centres located in Eugendorf near Salzburg, Austria, is mostly engaged in the production of moulds for the automotive industry, including cylinder heads, crankcases and transmission housings. By Winfried Weiland, head of marketing, Blum-Novotest GmbH.

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