The introduction of precision and high-performance moulds has led to ever-increasing demands on mould manufacturers in recent years. Since the precision of the shape is determined by the dimensional accuracy of the electrode, it is essential to carry out accurate measurements of the size and shape of the electrode before processing the shape. Article by WENZEL.
The LHF 2517 is a large portal measuring instrument of gantry and bridge construction for medium and large workpieces. (Courtesy of WENZEL)
Changyuan Technology (Tianjin) Co. Ltd (CHYUAN) specialises in the development and manufacture of automotive injection moulds. With a planned production capacity of 450 million moulds, the company aims to develop into one of the largest single manufacturers of automotive injection moulds in northern China.
For increased efficient production of precision moulds, CHYUAN has commissioned an automated production line for electrodes and mould inserts, which enables the integration of electrode disassembly, processing, inspection, repair and offline processes. Since the measuring system used is the key to quality assurance, CHYUAN prefers the use of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
A CMM provides one of the most effective solutions for measuring and collecting dimension data. First, it can replace a variety of surface-to-surface measurement tools and expensive combined gauges. Secondly, the CMM can reduce the time required for complex measurements from hours to minutes. Thirdly, it guarantees both the efficiency and accuracy of measurement of size, shape and positional tolerance of the electrode.
Automated Measurements in the Direct Production Environment
CHYUAN relies on the WENZEL coordinate measuring devices XOrbit77 and LHF 2517. The figures represent the measuring volume in the X and Z axes of 700 mm x 700 mm and 2500 mm x 1700 mm, respectively. The XOrbit was seamlessly integrated into the production line for electrodes and mould inserts for automated 3D coordinate measurement in 2019. The CNC measuring device is ideally suited for the shopfloor environment and can be equipped with switching measuring and optical sensors. The XOrbit offers excellent value for money with high mechanical precision and low operating costs.
Meanwhile, the LHF 2517 is a large measuring instrument in gantry and bridge construction for medium and large workpieces. The floor-level design of the LHF allows easy assembly with large parts with high freedom of movement for the user. The double drive in the Y-axis of the LHF ensures high measuring speeds and excellent stability of the guides.
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.
Wenzel Group will be exhibiting its latest metrology innovations aimed at optimising production in the upcoming EMO Hannover 2019 trade fair in Germany. The event will be held from September 16–21, 2019.
At the fair, Wenzel will demonstrate for the first time ultra-fast 5-axis scanning in the direct production environment with its SF 87 coordinate measuring machine in conjunction with the REVO from Renishaw. Visitors to Wenzel’s booth will also learn how they can achieve full process control along the production line and increase quality and efficiency using closed loops.
Other automated measurement solutions on display include the company’s exaCT computer tomographs.
Also, Prof. Dr. Heiko Wenzel-Schinzer will speak at the VDMA Technology Forum on Thursday, September 19, at 14:00. Her presentation is titled “Measurement Technology as a Supporter of the Digitised Industry”.
Here’s how Wenzel’s SF 87 shop floor CMM helps improve quality and productivity at Ferratec GmbH. Article by Wenzel Group.
Since 1989, Ferratec GmbH has stood for quality and reliability in the fields of tool and mould making and plastics technology. The company offers complete solutions from a single source—from the conception and development of tools to sample parts and series production readiness, through to the assembly of the finished components. The range of activities includes mould construction for the company’s own plastic injection moulding shop as well as tool construction for special machines, jigs and fixtures, cutting tools, series production, assembly and contract manufacturing.
To guarantee the highest quality standards, Ferratec constantly invests in new technologies, including in the area of quality control. One of the latest acquisitions by the company for its workshop is the SF 87 coordinate measuring machine (CMM) from Wenzel Group. Featuring a large measuring volume, a small footprint and a wide operating temperature range, the SF 87 meets all the requirements for successful measurements in the direct production environment.
Wenzel’s SF 87 CMM is a universal measuring machine for the production environment. It requires little floor space and offers an optimized measuring volume of 800x700x700mm—making it ideal for a large part of the metal cutting and forming industry.
Featuring high measuring volumes, Wenzel’s SF 87 CMM has a compact design with a small footprint and is flexible and mobile for use in the workshop.
More Efficient Measuring And Testing Process
The machine concept offers a very good price-performance ratio with low space requirements. Its high traversing speeds and accelerations ensure high productivity. The combination of powerful probes and optical sensors also leads to a considerable increase in efficiency in the measuring and testing process.
According to René Kunkel, product manager for CMM at Wenzel, the system’s measuring volume is three times that of competing products with comparable footprints. “Further increases in efficiency can be achieved by using more powerful probes and optical sensors,” he adds.
The Wenzel SF 87 can also be operated at temperatures of up to 30 deg C. In contrast, conventional CMMs can only operate at up to 20 deg C—making them unsuitable for use in production halls. At Ferratec, the SF 87 is primarily used for the evaluation of dimensional accuracy and shape and position tolerances of plastic parts from a wide variety of areas.
SF 87’s bionic structure and unique low centre of gravity design make it efficient, ergonomic, productive, and insensitive to shop floor vibrations. In addition, it is multi-sensor capable and supports both optical and Renishaw tactile sensors. This includes the PH10MQ PLUS, which can be equipped with extensions and SP25M analogue scanning probes. SF 87 can also be configured with a tool-change rack to switch probes and extensions automatically, without requiring time-consuming requalification.
Another notable benefit of SF 87 is that it uses an active damping system and does not need air bearing technology, which eliminates the need for expensive clean air. Additionally, it can operate using only a 230V power supply.
“In order to be able to guarantee our customers’ quality products, we manufacture almost all tools ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether you want single pieces or small series. The measurement solutions from Wenzel contribute to product quality, productivity and satisfied customers,” said Kunkel.
The decision for this measuring solution was easy. “We have been working successfully for many years with Wenzel, using its LH series of bridge measuring device,” explains Gerhard Rosenberger, head of QS at Ferratec. The high quality of the Wenzel products, and the fast and good service, convinced him.
Wenzel complements its strong product offering with an optional comprehensive service package, wherein customers receive up to 60 months of maintenance, calibration, and inspection, as well as preventative replacement of worn parts, insurance machine coverage, exchange service, and online support.
Supporting Seamless Integration into Automation Solutions
While the LH series is in the measuring room for precision measurements, the SF 87 is integrated into the machine tool workflow. “The SF 87 stands in a typical shop floor environment with direct sunlight, for which it was designed,” reports Kunkel. In the next step, automated assembly and an initial visual check by optical sensors are planned.
The SF 87 is a directly usable production line and automation solution, and it can be integrated through the optional WENZEL Automation Interface (WAI) for material handling without expanding its footprint. The accessibility of the measuring volume from three sides is optimal for automated assembly by robots and can be flexibly adapted for more complex tasks, according to Kunkel. The ability to seamlessly integrate into automation solutions was also a key factor in Frost & Sullivan awarding the SF 87 its 2018 Global New Product Innovation Award last March.
Metromec Quartis R15 released by Wenzel Metromec has numerous added features. Additional functions in the work window “Feature data” display results directly, before the report is created at the end of the measurement program.
The measurement service provider Lometec upgraded the measuring software for its tactile Wenzel coordinate measuring machines from Metrosoft CM to Metrosoft Quartis. Lomotech’s Chief Executive Officer Jörg Werkmeister and Technical Director Marc Lange talk about their practical experience using the example of a dimensional inspection of a turbine blade testing device.
Complex components can be analysed in a fully function-orientated manner with a combination of gear and 3D coordinate metrology. By Heinrich Brüderle, sales manager Europe and America, Wenzel
The requirements for metrology regarding throughput and flexibility are steadily increasing. Not only are individual measuring methods becoming faster—measuring systems should also become universally deployable. Ideally, different kinds of measurement tasks should therefore be able to be performed by one single system and in one process.
Entire Metrological Analysis
In conjunction with a change rack, it is possible to automatically switch between different probe configurations during the course of a measurement program. An intervention by the operator is not required and thus reproducible, user-independent measurement results can be achieved.The combination of gear and 3D coordinate metrology not only allows the complete measurement of various gear, prismatic and free-form components but also the entire metrological analysis with regard to form and location. This means that complex components can be analysed in a fully function-orientated manner. This is particularly evident in the case of components where gearing and geometrical elements are combined, such as planetary gear carrier sets.
Gear and 3D measuring systems normally differ in their construction. Gear measuring systems are conceived for measuring rotationally symmetrical workpieces with three linear and one rotary axis. Gear measurements can be performed according to gearing principles with the aid of the integrated rotary table, thus enabling optimum tactile contact conditions.
On the other hand, 3D coordinate measuring systems are more universally applicable due to their rectangular measuring volume, with prismatic and free-form components being typical.
The accuracy and acceptance procedures are also based on the respective application fields. Gear measuring machines are accepted according to the VDI/VDE-Directives 2612/13 and 3D measuring machines according to the ISO 10360 series of standards. The data from the 3D coordinate systems describe the precision of single-point probing and linear measurements. These are performed on reference standards such as spherical reference standards, step gauges or ball bars.
In order to combine both metrology principles, both acceptance procedures are used on a combination machine. In favour of achieving an optimal precision, the smallest residual, structural errors are captured and compensated by CAA laser compensation. These errors are reduced to a minimum in various ways, such as structures made with mechanical precision and the application of hand-lapped granite guideways.
Measuring Against CAD Data
If a 3D coordinate measuring machine is equipped with an integrated rotary table, the basics of gear metrology can be combined with the flexibility of 3D coordinate measuring machines. This procedure provides the possibility to use gear measuring software as well as 3D measuring software on one measuring machine.
In this way, prismatic components, for example cases can be programmed and measured against the CAD data, with extensive shape and position analysis also being feasible. In particular, position tolerances can be evaluated this way both in terms of production as well as function. On request, certain machine sizes can be equipped with tailstocks for the measurement of shafts.
The optimal utilisation of the coordinate measuring machine is due to the application of the 3D and gear measuring software. A broad range of gear measuring machines offers solutions analysis of minute gears up to large ring gears and bearings with a diameter of up to 6,000 mm.