Here’s how a quality data management software has helped Metabowerke GmbH to optimize its measuring and manufacturing processes. Article by ZEISS.
If employees at Metabowerke GmbH, a manufacturer of professional power tools and accessories, find a piece of chocolate at their workstations on the first workday of the new month, then everyone knows that the previous month was a profitable one. The chocolate is one way that management shows its appreciation, and this is hardly a one-off occurrence. Employees think so highly of their employer that, as the result of an employee survey, Metabo was named “Best Employer” amongst mid-sized companies in 2014 by the German magazine Focus.
Achim Schmid, Quality Coordinator in the Housing Technology Center, shares his colleagues’ high opinion of Metabo. For him, the approximately 1,100 employees in Nurtingen are always ready to give 110 percent because company management acknowledges everyone’s contributions.
“We know that at Metabo, our opinions and know-how matter,” says Schmid. The company’s flat hierarchies make sure that everyone is heard and can actively contribute.
There is an interdepartmental mindset at Metabo that encourages employees to work with their colleagues from different areas. This approach played a key role in the company’s decision to purchase ZEISS PiWeb quality data management software. After Control 2015, an international trade fair for quality assurance solutions held in Germany, Schmid was personally “more than convinced that Metabo would benefit from using ZEISS software. But first I wanted to make sure everyone else was on board.”
The software was presented to employees and discussions were held, some of which were attended by ZEISS representatives. The end result: Metabo ultimately decided to invest in ZEISS PiWeb sbs in the middle of 2016, and has been using this software in the Housing Manufacturing department at their site since December.
Wireless Systems Instead of Cable Spaghetti
When attending the trade event Control 2015, what initially impressed Schmid about ZEISS PiWeb was the possibility of transferring manually captured measuring and inspection data directly to the system via a wireless connection.
“I really liked that you could easily integrate manual measuring tools,” says Schmid, who has been working at Metabo as quality coordinator for almost 31 years. The feature was “ideal” because various manual measuring tools are in use at the measuring stations in the Housing Manufacturing area. Prior to the introduction of ZEISS PiWeb, these systems were connected via cables, which not only limit employees’ mobility but also broke quite frequently, making it impossible to transfer the data to the system. The technology was not very reliable, and uptime was limited because the measurement plan had to be processed at one go. This meant that captured data could not be saved in between measurements.
“But now, these problems are a thing of the past thanks to ZEISS PiWeb,” says Schmid. For example, if an employee is measuring the gearbox housing of a flat-head angle grinder, they just need to open the corresponding measurement plan in the ZEISS software. The employee moves the cursor to the appropriate field in the table comprising a total of 17 characteristics, which must be measured by hand. With the push of a button, the employee transfers these data from the manual measuring tool to the system. If the value is within the stipulated tolerance, then a green dot appears immediately. A red dot indicates that the workpiece does not meet the quality requirements for this characteristic. It used to be the case that the employee would have to change software and then search for the corresponding data set in the statistics solution. Now, they can view the measurement values for the previous 500 measurements just by using the report templates in ZEISS PiWeb.
“This way, our team sees immediately if this is an outlier or if there is a trend towards exceeded tolerances,” says Schmid. This knowledge enables Schmid and his colleagues to steer the production process more quickly than before.
The demand for measurement tasks in which tactile and optical sensors are jointly used is set to rise more and more in the future. Here’s a technology that saves time and operating costs without compromising on reliable, precise measurement results. Article by ZEISS.
When it comes to maximum precision, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are an indispensable tool in industrial applications. To date, they have mainly been used for tactile measurement. In recent years, the need for and use of optical sensors is becoming increasingly significant. There are many reasons for this: the technical advancements being experienced in many sectors require increasingly complex parts; digitalisation and Industry 4.0 are changing manufacturing processes and thus also quality assurance; and customers have higher quality and efficiency demands, in general, nowadays. Many companies are therefore expressing the need for an all-round solution, that is, tactile and optical measurement on a CMM.
One example is the ZEISS CONTURA. Already in its fifth generation, ZEISS CONTURA is equipped with mass technology (multi-application sensor system) as standard, enabling tactile and optical measurement on a single machine. The multisensor platform means it is compatible with a variety of sensors from the ZEISS portfolio: sensors on the continuous articulating unit, star styluses or long styluses, optical or tactile, and scanning or with single point measurement. Thanks to the mass technology from ZEISS, the user acquires maximum flexibility.
Simple Sensor Switch
With ZEISS mass technology, when the sensors are operated on the continuous articulating unit, they are switched automatically. This applies to all optical sensors as well as the ZEISS VAST XXT and XDT tactile sensors.
During the sensor switch, the continuous articulating unit aligns itself in a 90 deg position, with the sensor pointing downwards. It then moves to a free place in the sensor magazine, which is usually attached to the reverse end of the measuring stage, pushes the safety flap back, moves downwards into a groove, and releases the magnetic locking mechanism in order to unlock the sensor. The new sensor is picked up in a similar way: the continuous articulating unit moves backwards and opens the safety flap, moves downwards and picks up the sensor magnetically. On the plate holding the sensor, there are three cylinder-shaped rollers which ensure that the counterpart is precisely positioned on the sensor.
Therefore, even after frequent switches, the sensor is reproducibly situated at the correct point. The measurement uncertainty is not increased by any significant extent due to the sensor bracket. Users do not need to worry that the accuracy may get out of hand if the sensor is switched repeatedly. Due to the high repetition accuracy during the sensor switch, it is not necessary to recalibrate the sensor after the switch has been carried out. Since the automatic exchange itself takes only a few seconds, ZEISS mass technology means an enormous boost in productivity – and thus time and cost savings.
The continuous articulating unit itself, as well as tactile probes from the ZEISS VAST XT gold series, are attached to the ZEISS CONTURA by means of a dovetail mechanism. This is a groove which the counterpart on the sensor or on the continuous articulating unit is pushed into and which, due to its shape and precise processing, does not allow any leeway whatsoever. Handling is easy too: the measuring technician loosens a screw mechanism and pulls the sensor or the continuous articulating unit out of the groove and inserts the new sensor. The sensor switch is completed within seconds. However, a repeated calibration is crucial during a sensor switch and is especially useful when using an active tactile sensor such as ZEISS VAST XT gold, which offers high measuring accuracy, short measurement times and long stylus lengths. All other sensors—passive, tactile as well as optical—are ideally operated on the continuous articulating unit—with all the advantages of the automatic sensor switch of ZEISS mass technology.
Optical Measuring Procedures
Optical measuring procedures are particularly interesting in parts with complex shapes if the user is required to record the surface quickly. This is useful in production in order to safeguard the quality of process steps, such as casting metal blanks or after grinding, in order to obtain a quick comparison between the current and target values of the CAD file. Optical sensors are also ideal for reverse engineering, that is, in order to generate CAD data from a prototype. Optical measurement procedures are often faster than tactile procedures and nonetheless sufficiently accurate. For sensitive parts which may not be touched, there is no alternative to optical sensors.
Various optical sensors can be more suitable depending on the application:
Chromatic-confocal white light sensor: This type of sensor is used in the area of application of workpieces with sensitive, soft, reflective or low-contrast surfaces. It records the surface of sensitive parts which may not be touched—where tactile styluses are obviously excluded. This sensor even detects transparent painted surfaces above underlying metallic layers and is suitable for transparent layers with various refractive indices. For this purpose, the sensor uses white light, which includes all wavelengths of the visible spectrum. Even strongly reflective surfaces such as glossy metal parts either in automotive and engineering or knee implants do not need to be sprayed with a contrast medium, which other optical measurement methods usually require.
ZEISS offers such a pioneering chromatic confocal white light sensor: DotScan. The sensor can be rotated and swiveled in 2.5 deg steps so that it is always optimally aligned towards the surface. In conjunction with the optional rotary stage, it is suited, for example, to the quality control of parts with complex shapes as well as glass surfaces.
Triangulation laser: suitable for the fast recording and inspection of freeform surfaces such as those required by casting tools or castings, bent sheets or plastic covers also require non-tactile measurement. The sensor moves above the part at a distance of a few centimetres and projects a line with laser light, which is thrown back from the surface into a sensor chip. Based on the angle, the sensor determines the distance from the part and therefore its surface shape. Each time the light is projected, the sensor determines hundreds of points in a line.
The maximum possible number of points with ZEISS LineScan is 700,000 measurement points per second—the number of rough points which are then calculated to provide actual measurement points in the software. Thus, point clouds which fully record the complex surfaces of even larger parts can be created in just a few minutes. Based on the point cloud, the ZEISS CALYPSO software calculates a chromatic representation using the CAD target data record as a comparison.
2D camera sensor: for very small or two-dimensional parts such as circuit boards or flat parts made of sheet metal that cannot be measured using contact means because it may result in deformation of their surfaces, the ZEISS ViScan 2D rotatable camera sensor is the ideal solution. It is capable of recording height-related information, thanks to the Autofocus function, as well as features various objective lenses, enabling increased flexibility in the working distance, area being recorded and accuracy.
Find out how MBFZ toolcraft ensures holistic quality control and precision in additive manufacturing. Article by ZEISS
Frederik Mack, Materials Engineer at toolcraft, examines a test specimen under the ZEISS Axio Imager microscope, which he sawed out of a 3D-printed part and ground.
Additive manufacturing is an uncharted territory for many companies, but not for MBFZ toolcraft GmbH. The company in Georgensgmünd, Southern Germany, manufactures high-end precision parts for the aerospace, automotive, medical technology and semiconductor industries, among others, and since 2011 also parts using 3D printing. The young established production technology is a challenge for quality assurance. Toolcraft is mastering this challenge with ZEISS 3D ManuFACT, the only solution on the market for continuous quality assurance in additive manufacturing.
Heat, noise, the smell of oil: They belong to industrial manufacturing like Yin to Yang. Yet this is quite different in the glass hall at toolcraft in Georgensgmünd. Anyone who has access to the area with their employee ID card hears nothing. They smell nothing either. There are few reminders of factory life as we have known it for a hundred years, because parts are not manufactured the way they have been for a hundred years. Instead of peeling the mold out of cast or forged metal blocks by drilling, milling and turning, additive manufacturing comes at the process from the other way.
Through small windows on the twelve 3D printing machines at toolcraft, you can watch glistening laser beams dancing over a wafer-thin layer of metal powder. Where the spot of light hits, the powder melts in a flash and immediately solidifies again, followed by the next layer. Thousands of hair-thin layers are used in 3D laser melting to create „impossible“ components that could never be produced with traditional subtractive manufacturing. Whereas ten years ago only prototypes and design studies were produced by using additive manufacturing, manufacturers of aircraft turbines, racing cars or medical equipment are increasingly incorporating them directly into their series products.
Challenges for Quality Assurance
As always, when a new technology emerges in a market, there are always questions. One of them is quality assurance. Jens Heyder points to a monitor that shows two images taken with the ZEISS Axio Imager light microscope at 50x magnification. On the left you can see a section of a good component. There are no large defects visible, only small pores. The material has an even, homogeneous structure. On the right, there is a cross cut shown, in which blowholes and welding defects are present. The construction process here was not optimal, which is why errors occurred during solidification of the melt.
“Crack formation could occur under high loads,” warned Heyder, who has been working as a material engineer in toolcraft’s materials laboratory for three years. Together with his colleagues, he checks the grain size distribution of the metal powder used. They help to optimize the manufacturing process in such a way that no defects occur in the part during melting and solidification.
However, the materials laboratory is only one component in the seamless quality assurance at toolcraft. Each process step is followed by a test: when a part comes out of the printer, after heat treatment and finally after milling into the final form, before the part is sent to the customer. Not every part is inspected. Random samples are taken according to customer requirements where typical parts only undergo a final inspection. For more demanding customer requirements, such as the aviation industry, 100 percent inspection and precision is required.
But one thing is for sure: when a part is inspected, it is done on a machine with the ZEISS logo. These can be found in several places in measuring rooms and in production at the company: two microscopes (ZEISS Axio Imager and ZEISS Axio Zoom.V16), several coordinate measuring machines (two ZEISS ACCURA, one ZEISS CONTURA and one ZEISS DuraMax) as well as an optical 3D scanner. Although the latter bears the GOM logo, the company also belongs to the ZEISS family since spring 2019.
The manufacturing industry has changed dramatically in the last 40 years. Jamco Aerospace Inc. recognised these changes and realised how critical it is to incorporate advanced quality inspection equipment into their manufacturing processes to stay competitive. They use two scanning CMMs (coordinate measuring machines) from Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology (IMT) to ensure the precision of these processes every step of the way.
Jamco Aerospace is a manufacturer of complex, structural components typically used in the aerospace industry. Ninety-five percent of their orders come from the aerospace industry, with the remaining five percent coming from the ground transportation industry. The company is a full-service machining and airframe sub-assembly facility. Some of their larger customers include Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, and the US government.
In 2006 Jamco decided they needed more efficient quality inspection equipment to stay competitive in their industry and to comply with their recent ISO 9001/AS 9100, Rev. B certifications that require significant process documentation. Their touch-trigger CMM and manual gauges were no longer effective and the CMM’s software had also presented some programming challenges. They needed a new CMM that was comparable in size to their previous CMM but with better measuring technology.
“I have been involved in this business for over 40 years and the manufacturing base in the US has grown increasingly smaller and more competitive,” says Dr. Jack Lee, CEO of Jamco. “The scanning inspection technology is spreading fast and I believe the key is to improve quality throughout the entire manufacturing process, otherwise the final inspection is completely worthless.”
Technical Specification Fulfilled
Ronald Lee measuring main landing gear rib on the MMZ 20/50/15.
After an in-depth review, Jamco decided that a Carl Zeiss CONTURA G2 10/21/6 VAST XXT RDS with scanning technology was the best fit for their inspections. The CONTURA G2 10/21/6 is robust and the right size for their parts. The VAST XXT RDS articulating probe is designed for measuring small features and lots of angles, and can reach 20,736 positions in 2.5 degree increments. The scanning technology allows them to get much more information in a shorter amount of time than with their previous touch-trigger CMM, a feature that brings down manufacturing costs by improving efficiency.
Typical parts for Jamco are structural bulkheads or fittings used in aircraft which they measure on the CONTURA G2 for in-process and final inspection. Parts are inspected on the CMM after any initial finishing processes, before moving on to turning or milling processes followed by a second inspection. A final inspection is done after all processes or assembly are completed. The increased efficiency resulted in more orders over the years although most of their parts require 100 percent inspection. As the number of parts and orders grew, the company knew it would need an additional CMM.
They liked the CONTURA system with the VAST XXT RDS articulating probe but wanted a larger machine to more efficiently handle larger aerospace parts such as bulkheads, longerons, ribs, webs and frames, while keeping the same CALYPSO software and ZEISS quality. In 2011 they purchased a large gantry CMM, an MMZ 20/50/15 which could not only measure larger parts, but also large lot sizes of smaller parts.
Jamco appreciates the simplicity and user-friendliness of CALYPSO software. “Once you know what to look for it is pretty straight forward,” says Ronald Lee, Quality Control Manager at Jamco. “If an operator is unsure how to set up a part, the software shows multiple part views to make the process easier. And programming from CAD models with CALYPSO is a lot easier due to the integrated assistant that helps you select the measuring references so there is no difficult code or text editing. This allows you to spend more time measuring than programming, unlike with our previous metrology software.”
The ZEISS systems have helped Jamco gain more customers with their improved quality inspection accuracy and efficiency. The CMMs also allow them reach their targeted tolerances that are all within 5 ten-thousandths of an inch. Their touch-trigger CMM collected about 100 points in 2 to 3 hours while the ZEISS scanning CMMs gather about 1000 points in just 1 to 2 minutes. Jamco currently measures approximately 30 parts a day. Typical parts are around 12 inches long and have a number of critical features requiring 30- 40 minute inspection programs. Efficiency is also increased because operators can multi-task while inspections are running. For larger orders of about 40 parts, they like to use the AutoRun feature so entire lots of parts can be inspected automatically.
The ZEISS systems have given Jamco the confidence in their ability to do more inspections and projects, and to measure bigger parts. The ZEISS MMZ machine effectively handles the larger parts, but it also inspects a pallet of smaller parts at once instead of having to do a series of measurements. “Quality assurance throughout all of our manufacturing processes has brought new confidence to us and our customers,” states Dr. Lee.
A mini propeller for the aorta will support weak hearts in patients suffering from cardiac insufficiency. German medical technology company, CardioBridge, is working on the market launch of the tiny pump. A multisensor measuring machine from ZEISS is accompanying the development and ensuring the quality of all components.
A multisensor measuring machine from ZEISS accompanies the development of the Reitan catheter pump on the road to market approval and ensures the quality of its components.
The Challenge: 50 exact single parts
In almost 10 percent of heart attack patients, there is a risk of cardiac shock: the blood no longer circulates properly and can lead to organ failure. The solution for many patients in the future could lie in the Reitan catheter pump.
“This pump helps the heart regenerate and supports circulation at the same time,” explains Klaus Epple, Research and Development Manager at CardioBridge GmbH.
When folded, the device has a diameter of only around three millimeters, unfolded 15. It is implanted in the aorta via the femoral artery in the upper leg. Once in place, the propeller unfolds and pumps blood with a speed of 13,000 rpm. For everything to work properly, the device must not deviate by more than 15 micrometers from the ideal dimensions. Furthermore, the 50 different parts that go into the pump must be produced with exact precision and interact with each other seamlessly.
The company receives the parts – primarily cast, turned and milled parts just a few micrometers in size – from different suppliers. This made reliable incoming inspection that much more vital: “We can only assess the results of our developments if we know the accuracy of our components,” explains Epple.
The Solution: O-INSPECT multisensor measuring machine
CardioBridge purchased an O-INSPECT multisensor measuring machine from ZEISS to ensure that all the parts of the pump comply with the specifications. Measuring technicians use O-INSPECT to measure each component – with the optical or contact sensor depending on the size, geometry and surface finish.
“Thanks to the two sensors on ZEISS O-INSPECT, we can precisely measure all of the different parts,” says the satisfied head of development. The user-friendliness of O-INSPECT is also vital to ensuring that the measuring results are available shortly after a part is received. As a result, the reliable and practical measuring machine is playing a big role in bringing the pump to market in the near future – and ensuring that patients’ hearts keep beating.
Driving the Next Industrial Revolution: Here’s how ZEISS is helping Oerlikon ensure that all AM components reach their desired geometric accuracy and specified mechanical characteristics.
Until recently, additive manufacturing (AM) was thought to have value solely in prototyping new products or designs. Today, however, it is evolving into a game-changing production technology, with companies like Oerlikon at the forefront of industrializing this technique. In their Munich-based Innovation and Technology Centre, Oerlikon places priority on attention to detail throughout the entire AM process chain—from the initial research and development to final product inspection. To ensure that all AM components reach their desired geometric accuracy and specified mechanical characteristics, Oerlikon chose ZEISS to supply the lab’s microscopy and metrology solutions.
Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, is a production technology that is driving the next industrial revolution. In metal AM, all products start as a digital model. AM equipment reads the data from this model to build the product by adding layer upon layer of metal powder. This powder is fully melted to the layers beneath it using a high-powered laser or electron beam. The process is repeated, layer by layer, until the part is complete. Using this technique, objects can be made of customized metal alloys in virtually any shape. The advantages are apparent: Additive manufacturing delivers the freedom to innovate, enabling production of parts with lower weight, higher temperature resistance, and improved mechanical performance—characteristics demanded by aerospace, automotive, medical, power generation, tooling, oil and gas, and other industries.
Oerlikon Group, a leading producer of metal powders, recently formed the company Oerlikon AM to focus on additive manufacturing. In its Munich Innovation and Technology Centre, Oerlikon connects the dots between materials science, component design, process engineering, production, and post-processing. Under the leadership of highly regarded materials research scientist Blanka Szost, a young, international team of researchers, engineers, and metallurgists is dedicated to driving the integrated development of new materials, production processes, software, automation and post-processing solutions.
The ZEISS instruments are engaged in a wide range of analytical and inspection tasks—from metallographic investigation, in-process analysis, dimensional measurements and inner structure examination—to surface characterization and final quality control.
Oerlikon’s new Munich microscopy laboratory is equipped with a ZEISS Comet 6 3D scanner, a ZEISS Stemi 508 stereo microscope, a ZEISS Smartzoom 5 digital microscope, a ZEISS Smartproof 5 confocal microscope, and a ZEISS MERLIN field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). The diverse characterization and measurement capabilities delivered by these solutions are enabling thorough study of material properties, allowing scientists to compile comprehensive data for verifying the quality of printed parts.
“A reliable quality check as well as precise measurements are necessary to reveal product properties in their entirety,” process engineer Luke Dee says. “Every component produced by our AM machines undergoes a dimensional inspection to ensure that part geometries are within tolerance.”
Alper Evirgen, metallurgist at Oerlikon AM, adds, “In this regard, ZEISS Comet 6 16M is a crucial tool for assessing the dimensional accuracy of the designs and components. Its 16 megapixel camera provides the needed precision to produce the highest quality 3D scan data. ZEISS Comet 6 16M is one of the best solutions available for supporting AM.”
Ensuring Successful Process Flow
Another important challenge is to produce components with the desired microstructure while minimizing variation from part to part.
“We carefully control all production parameters and post processing conditions which could markedly affect our final product microstructure and therefore, final properties,” Evirgen says.
To further assure a successful process flow, Oerlikon employs the ZEISS Smartzoom 5 digital microscope and the ZEISS MERLIN FE-SEM. Process engineers, powder experts and metallurgists use this suite to characterize the powders, alloys and the printed materials. The instruments help them identify changes to micro-structure during the entire manufacturing process. Specifically, the ZEISS Merlin FE-SEM reveals further details for both process powders and final products with its high resolution imaging and compositional analysis capabilities.
To meet the strict surface quality requirements in industries such as aerospace or medical, scientists meticulously inspect each component produced in the Munich facility via surface texture measurements. “We benefit greatly from the high accuracy of the ZEISS Smartproof 5 confocal microscope when obtaining surface roughness profiles from the final products. A significant advantage to using this microscope is that there is no damage to the analyzed surfaces, because confocal technology uses light scattering principles. No surface contact is required during analysis,” Evirgen notes.
Referring to the success story of Oerlikon’s implementation of ZEISS instruments in their laboratories, Szost, who is the head of Additive Manufacturing Competence Centre of Oerlikon AM, comments, “In materials science terms, AM is like discovering a new universe, and the field of microscopy is like the telescope we need to explore it. ZEISS provides us with the equipment we need to continue driving the industrialization of Additive Manufacturing.”
As one of only a few companies able to provide the entire process chain—from powder production, processing and handling—to the final component production, Oerlikon will continue using ZEISS equipment to lead the development of its AM technologies.
Daesuk Chung of ZEISS sat down with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News to talk about the latest technology and manufacturing trends driving the metrology sector. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Daesuk Chung is the regional sales manager for Asia Pacific, industrial metrology business group, at ZEISS. At the recent EMO Hannover 2019 event in Germany, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Chung to talk about the latest technology and manufacturing trends driving the metrology sector.
Tell us some of the technologies you are showcasing at the event.
Daesuk Chung (DC): We are actually celebrating the 100th year anniversary of our business division—IQS (Industrial Quality Solutions)—this year commemorating 100 years of the first measuring technology presented by ZEISS in an industry fair. At this year’s show, we have four different categories in our booth: first is the quality lab with our flexible bridge-type CMM solution PRISMO and new sensors.
Next, we have solutions for productivity, which is getting more and more important. We are presenting some concepts on how customers can reduce their cycle time in order to enhance their productivity. We have new machines designed for measuring—but we now understand that you need flexible solutions on the shop floor. We already have special machines designed for shop floors—but very often they have some limits in terms of measuring volumes, for instance, or there is not enough choice of different models; depending on the tolerance and measuring volume, customers have certain preferences. With our new concept and design, customers will have that flexibility.
Then, we have two sectors where we are showing our new strategic initiatives. In the past, we are only focused on bringing new products—we are a hardware-oriented company. We are now trying to be more of a solutions provider. You will see our offerings related to e-mobility solutions.
And that is a trend. Due to issues like climate change, and the Dieselgate scandal a few years ago, all of the car manufacturers now, especially in Germany, are strongly pursuing the concept of new-energy vehicles. Fuel cell cars, electric vehicles, for instance.
We are now collaborating with a lot of customers already who are manufacturing components for electrical engines, for instance. So far, not many metrology manufacturers have sufficient knowledge or experience about NEV market, but we do have from many reference projects in recent years. So, we are now showing concepts for those customers who are now entering that market; we are showing them examples and strategies in dealing with those special components.
Finally, additive manufacturing is another big trend in our industry, especially in the aerospace and medical sectors, where there is a need to bring customised products or solutions. These sectors are driving the need for additive manufacturing. But again, it’s a totally new process, and many manufacturers who are entering this segment don’t have enough experience. We are now capable of analysing the whole manufacturing processes and can suggest our customers what kind of solutions they need for whatever application they have. We have these solutions because of our wide range of portfolio and knowledge about every single step of manufacturing process.
With the e-mobility trend, how have the market requirements changed?
DC: On the one hand, many manufacturers and customers feel very unsure of the market situation in the coming years. Nobody can really predict how the market will change. Many people know that it will come, except for the real market size of electrical vehicles, for instance, and what will happen to conventional technology.
It does not mean that the number of cars with the combustion engines will not increase, the technology will stay and production will increase, but nobody can really predict.
At the moment, it is difficult to make any kind of forecast or prediction. But it will definitely come, many governments around the world started adapting regulations to put a lot of pressure on the industry, as well as introducing subsidies making the electric vehicles more attractive. Existing car OEMs who are only relying on combustion engines are now starting to enter into the NEV market, and they are all looking for new suppliers and technologies.
How different are the technology requirements?
DC: The way how they use the quality assurance tools, like the CMMS, is not different. But the truth is, we are now dealing with completely different components, so the parts that are built for the assembly of combustion engine and electric engine are completely different. While the machine usage is the same, there are more aspects that you have to consider. For instance, the hairpins inside the stator, which are very significant components of electric engines having a flexible structure and being coated with a sensitive lacquer layer and therefore create challenges for reliable tactile inspection. An automated ZEISS coordinate measuring machine, equipped with confocal light or laser triangulation optical sensor, is one option to accurately measure the shape and lacquer thickness. Another more manual, flexible tool is a standalone ZEISS optical fringe projection sensor or a ZEISS handheld laser scanner
In those kinds of special applications, you need a special sensor, a special software, or a special knowledge to solve those issues. That’s the basic concept of how we approach the customers.
From your perspective, what are the opportunities for growth in asia, and specifically, southeast asia?
DC: We are seeing that the positive economic growth in the past 10 years will now be unachievable, so everybody is a little bit worried about it, considering the trade war between China and the US; and the smaller trade war between Japan and South Korea in terms of the semiconductor segment. But for the Southeast Asian market, I am seeing big opportunities because with the trade war between China and the US, many companies who are producing their products in China are now planning now to move their production to some Southeast Asian countries. Vietnam, for example, is often being mentioned as the best alternative relocation site from China.
There are also other markets who are benefitting from this. That is why I am quite positive now of the business in Southeast Asia.
Are there industry segments that you expect to see high growth potential in the southeast asian market?
DC: The automotive sector, where we are quite strong already. We have countries like Thailand, where the market is still quite big; Vietnam brought its own brand—VinFast—this year, and we are also getting a lot of benefits from that.
In general, the automotive sector is one segment in which I expect a lot of growth in the future. But it is not the only sector that will have that potential; the aerospace sector is also quite growing, especially the MRO, where I see a big growth potential.
Medical is another sector that shouldn’t be neglected; still, maybe it is not as big as of the moment in Southeast Asia, but I expect strong growth in the coming years.
How will the additive manufacturing sector impact the metrology segment?
DC: The aerospace and medical industries—these are the two sectors that will have a big impact on additive manufacturing, because you need individual and flexible parts and manufacturing process to produce them. If we just take an example from the medical technology side, there is a growing demand for artificial implants due to ageing population in many industrial countries. Additive manufacturing can provide cost effective solution for individually customised solutions. In line with that is the growing demand for quality control of those parts produced on 3D printers. Many people only think about dimensional checks or digitise the surface freeform with a 3D scanner. But in reality, you have to start from the material itself—you have to do the internal inspection; you even have to control the quality of the metal powder. You have to use high-quality microscopes to analyse the real sizes of the powders, or the content of the powders, etc.; they all have to be inspected in detail. That is why we see a very big potential for additive manufacturing. I am very confident that we will get a lot of benefits from the developments in this sector.
ZEISS’ investment in Senorics marks the start of a technology collaboration with the sensorics startup based in Dresden, Germany. The partnership aims to further the joint development of small and cost-effective sensors for industrial use in quality assurance and in process monitoring, e.g. on production lines for foodstuffs, agricultural products, plastics and medicine.
ZEISS can draw on its longstanding, extensive knowledge in the development, manufacturing and marketing of optical and photonics systems, as well as the digital solutions that go with them – particularly in quality measuring technology. At the same time, the company is actively shaping global markets in the field. Senorics now stands to benefit from this expertise.
And ZEISS will get the chance to use the Senorics technology to tap into new applications that it was previously harder to do with the technologies in its portfolio.
“We will begin by examining common application cases. Senorics’ innovative technology has the potential to create compact, cost-effective sensors for applications such as compositional analysis. The investment is a way of consistently implementing our strategy in the field of Advanced Sensor and Data Solutions,” says Dr. Philipp Strack, Head of ZEISS Ventures.
“The fact that ZEISS has approved the quality of our technology and would like to use it in the future considerably increases our customers’ trust,” says Dr. Ronny Timmreck, CEO of Senorics GmbH. “Moreover, the collaboration with ZEISS supports us with both the development and marketing for our technology. What’s more, the collaboration with ZEISS following the closing of our seed funding round in late 2018 was a further milestone in the long-term advancement of Senorics.”
Here’s how BMW in Munich was able to increase process reliability for front and rear end assembly. Article by Carl Zeiss.
The ZEISS T-SCAN fulfils the highest demands with regard to ergonomy. For this reason, larger components can also be scanned without fatigue.
The front-end decisively characterises the silhouette of a vehicle. For this reason, perfect assembly and strict adherence to the joint plan are of great importance to car maker BMW. For a long time, gaps have been tested only with gap gauges. In this process, deviations of tolerances are effectively visualised, however, it does not contribute to determining the cause of an error. In the past, in order to track down this error, vehicles with a conspicuous joint and gap profile, therefore, had to be driven to the measuring room and measured there.
So, the department searched for a digitising system to optimise the assembly process. It should be used right after the final assembly and should provide as precise results as did the system in the measurement room.
Intuitive 3D Scanning
The hand-held ZEISS T-SCAN laser scanner enables fast, intuitive, and highly precise 3D scanning. Hand scanner, tracking camera and the touch probe are perfectly matched. The modular system can thus be used for numerous applications. Here, the unique scanning speed and the precise measurement results are of great value. This is because the surface of the component is scanned contact-free and lightning-fast with the help of the laser line generated in the hand scanner. Around 210,000 points per second are recorded—more than with any other conventional method. As the tracking camera detects the position of the scanner, 3D surface data can be calculated with the help of triangulation.
With the touch probe, it is also possible to take tactile measurements of additional single points, for example, in order to capture hole edges or not observable depressions. The data captured with the ZEISS T-SCAN thus describes the actual state precisely. This can then be easily compared with the target specifications, as defined in the CAD model. Deviations can be quickly detected in a user-friendly way with a false colour comparison of the entire surface.
As the ZEISS T-SCAN also fulfils the highest ergonomic demands, fatigue-free scanning even of larger components is possible. Thanks to the light and compact scanner housing, the ZEISS system can also easily capture data in areas that are difficult to access. The intuitive and easy handling extend the range of applications or user groups.
Single point 3D data acquisition at optically inaccessible areas with the touch¬probe ZEISS T-POINT.
Since March 2016, three assembly workers have been inspecting front and rear ends of an average of six completely finished vehicles per day. As a result, joint and gap widths of the two-part and rounded off radiator grille, the so-called BMW kidney, the headlight, and the bumper are measured. The briefly trained operators of the ZEISS T-SCAN capture 80 to 90 measurement points at the front end and 40 measurement points at the rear end of the various models. The measured actual values are then compared with the set values of the CAD model. Within two hours, it can be determined whether the front and rear ends show any defects. In this way, the quality engineers of assembly and body construction can counteract much faster.
For the quality and process engineers, the ZEISS system is therefore an important prerequisite to more effectively control in-house processes as well as those of the suppliers. Thanks to the portability of the ZEISS T-SCAN system, the apparatus for the assembly of the front and rear end can be measured directly in the production hall.
The time saved on measurements helps MAPAL Dr. Kress KG develop innovative tool solutions even more quickly for trends that will play such a pivotal role in the future. Contributed by Carl Zeiss Pte Ltd.
These days, employees from the development department at MAPAL Dr. Kress KG generally know within an hour if new tools will offer the level of precision their customers require. Instead of having to wait days for a service provider to deliver the measurement results, the company started performing onsite measurements at the beginning of 2018.
With the high-precision coordinate measuring machine (CMM) ZEISS PRISMO ultra, MAPAL inspects the workpieces machined with the new tools it manufactures. The time saved on measurements helps this global company develop innovative tool solutions even more quickly for trends that will play such a pivotal role in the future like e-mobility.
With the high precision coordinate measuring machine ZEISS PRISMO ultra, MAPAL inspects in-house the workpieces machined with the new tools it manufactures and generally gets results within one hour.
How a Workpiece Ensures a Precise Tool
“We need extremely exact measurement results to develop high-precision, innovative tools and tool solutions,” says Dr. Dirk Sellmer, vice president of R&D at MAPAL. For years, the company had an external service provider measure its workpieces and tools. Seller compares MAPAL’s tools to “Lego blocks that are combined to create complex solutions.” To deliver these bespoke products to the customers more quickly, the company invested in an extremely precise CMM from ZEISS.
In January 2018, two employees began working with the ZEISS PRISMO ultra. Almost a year later, Sellmer has reached the conclusion, “The investment has paid off.” The measuring machine provided MAPAL with the necessary precision and was immediately running at full capacity. The two employees from the development department, who alternate between the measuring system and the production machines every two weeks, inspect the department’s tools on the CMM.
Most importantly, however, MAPAL employees measure workpieces that are machined in the development area with the company’s own tools, thereby determining the workpieces’ precision and stability under manufacturing conditions. Precision is on everyone’s mind because most MAPAL tools and tool solutions are used when components need to be machined with a very high level of accuracy.
The stator housing for an electric motor is one example of how MAPAL is successfully meeting its customers’ requirements. The challenge with this cast part is to create the primary, large-diameter borehole that runs through the entire component—all with an accuracy of just a few microns. For perpendicularity, the tolerance is just 30 microns (0.03mm) and, for coaxiality, 50 microns.
The Right Tool for Stator Housings
These are extremely narrow tolerances for such large boreholes. Yet, a closer look at the design of the electric motor illustrates why these stringent requirements are necessary. Take for example the permanent magnet synchronous motor, the most frequently used motor design in new energy vehicles (NEVs). The stator is the stationary component within the motor. Coils or copper wires known as hairpins are attached. These generate a current that creates a rotating magnetic field. The rotor is located within the stator and, thanks to its own constant magnetic field, follows the magnetic field of the stator. The three-phase current of the rotor causes it to rotate in synch with the magnetic field.
The rotor cannot move unless there is a gap between it and the stator. However, the rotor is subject to considerable magnetic resistance, which in turn reduces the magnetic flux density and with it the power of the motor. Thus, designers make this gap as narrow as possible.
To ensure that the manufacturing process does not compromise the component’s design, MAPAL offers its customers a high-precision tool which is also very light for its size.
First, a borehole is made in the cylinder for the stator housing. This means that a tool approximately 30cm long creates a hole in the outer die-cast layer of the housing. Then, the surface is carefully ground down. Tools for the highly precise machining of primary boreholes for stator housings have been part of MAPAL’s product portfolio for one-and-a-half years. And since not all housings are identical, these tools are customised for each customer.
On-site Measurements for Reduced Wait Times
Automotive manufacturers generally provide 10 to 30 housings that MAPAL must then machine with the corresponding tools in its testing area. The measurements performed after multiple rounds of machining serve as the basis for optimising the highly complex tool solutions in line with the customer’s needs.
Before purchasing their own CMM, MAPAL had an external service provider measure its workpieces and tools. However, the company’s measuring expenses rose significantly within the span of just 10 years. MAPAL increasingly manufactures the tools for its customers and takes on pre-series production. Numerous measurements are performed to ensure that the customer has all the information they require. The need for more measurements also increased outlay.
Yet as the company considered whether or not to invest in a CMM, it was not the costs that ultimately tilted the balance, but time.
“We used to have to wait two to three days for measuring results. This is no longer the case,” explains Sellmer. Now, these are generally available within an hour.
Since the employees performing measurements at MAPAL have also received metrology training, there are fewer artefacts. “Since our team also works with the machines used in production, they have a highly developed intuition and know, for example, where contaminants might have impacted the measurement result,” says Sellmer.
Moreover, the components are now clamped in the machining fixtures for measurements and measured on the company’s premises. This reduces potential artefacts caused by removing the workpieces from the fixtures or preclamping them. Another significant benefit for MAPAL is the ability to intermittently perform unplanned measurements, such as with thin-walled components like a stator housing. This way, the company can see how fixturing impacts machining.
Dr. Sellmer highlights yet another key advantage: the improved communication between engineers and technicians. They can now discuss the results at the measuring machine, rather than relying solely on measurement reports. And this promotes knowledge sharing. “We now achieve our goals significantly faster,” concludes Sellmer.