In many industries such as aerospace, automotive, and heavy equipment manufacturing, large-scale measurements are a common requirement. Given the large scale of various components in each of these industries, consistent, accurate measurements are necessary to maintain design intent and performance; however, taking large-volume measurements can be a cumbersome and slow task.
FARO’s groundbreaking large volume metrology tools, such as the FARO Laser Tracker streamlines the entire inspection process. Quickly taking precision measurements at any scale, portable metrology solutions provide the highest accuracy with the least amount of user variability, eliminating costly rework and scrap.
Large size? Not a problem!
In fact, Tacchi successfully works in various heavy precision engineering sectors: oil, aeronautics, metallurgy, energy, etc. “We are going through a positive phase,” Malosetti continues, “despite the fact that the general scenario is complex and extremely competitive. The market is no longer demanding conventional or standard products, but special machines, which are perfectly aligned with client requirements. Since these are large machines, we need the proper processing and measurement instruments.” And it is precisely from this perspective that it is important to emphasise how Tacchi has found an ideal partner in FARO.
“Our collaboration with FARO is very intense and profitable. Besides high product quality and technical support, it is very important for us to be updated on the latest technological advances. The latest tool “introduced” to Tacchi is the FARO laser tracker ION, a device that can be brought directly to the part to be measured.” The advantages in terms of time and working arrangements are significant: in fact, in the past, measuring machines were mostly stationary and located in the metrology laboratory. It was not actually possible to bring very heavy and large parts to the machine. “But today,” the technical director goes on, “exactly the opposite takes place: with the FARO laser tracker ION, we can measure our large parts quickly and easily right where they are located.”
In detail, the FARO laser tracker ION is an extremely precise portable 3D coordinate measuring machine, which makes it possible for users to produce, optimise processes and provide solutions with fast, simple and accurate measurements. Malosetti: “We have been able to experience the high quality of FARO products for some time. The switch to the laser tracker ION provides us with inspection capabilities with a working range of up to 55 metres, and a horizontal envelope of ± 270°. These specifications make it possible for us to fully satisfy all of our needs. For example, with just one position, they make it possible to perfectly align the work tables.” Previously, the Lombard company’s personnel had to work in phases and reposition the traditional measuring device each time, which was anything but simple. When installing long machines, the time saved is significant, amounting to days.
“The laser tracker,” Angelo Malosetti continues, “is used on a rotating basis by five specialised workers in order to measure not only the machines that we manufacture, but also the parts still being processed, for example to check the straightness of deep holes and the flatness of surfaces. Once confidence is gained with the software and usage procedures, the device is simple and intuitive to use due to its great versatility and adaptability for use in narrow and congested areas and the system for offsetting changes in temperature, pressure and humidity.”
Angelo Malosetti concludes: “We are very satisfied with the results that the FARO laser tracker enables us to achieve. Measuring parts is much simpler, faster and more effective.”
Tighter tolerances for tunnel longevity
Advances in tunnel technology are increasing the viability of tunnel projects to solve infrastructural challenges all over the world: from reducing congestion in megacities to opening access to remote valleys.
Precast concrete segments allow tunnel constructors to reinforce the tunnel quickly and cost-effectively. The CBE Group is a leader in this field, making concrete segment moulds and all associated handling equipment for customers on five continents.
“We know how to integrate the production of the precast segments into the overall tunnel boring process so that work can proceed smoothly and without complications,” says CBE’s CEO Pascal Clerc. “Any inaccuracies in the geometry or dimensions of the segment will lead to delays or problems during the tunnel construction phase or issues of reliability during the tunnel lifetime. For example, if the segment surfaces don’t match precisely, stress cracks may result. Also you might have problems with water leakage between segments. That is why we make moulds that are accurate to +/- 0.3 mm. This level of accuracy sets us apart in the market.”
Founded over 25 years ago, CBE has played an important role in the evolution of technology and methods in this field. “Staying ahead of the game is all about recognising the trends and working out what technology and methods are needed to fulfil the expectations of the customers.”
A FARO Laser Tracker ION® is used to verify the dimensions and geometry of all the contact surfaces of the mould. “Before we had the FARO Laser Tracker we had to rely on templates for quality control. Our measurements were limited to 2D and deviations could easily go unnoticed. With the ION, we not only save time and increase the accuracy – we are able to verify any point on the mould with respect to the CAD files. This ensures that the geometry and longevity of the tunnel will not be compromised.”
“We evaluated 3 types of laser tracker and chose the FARO product based on the combination of price, performance and service,” explained Mr. Clerc. CBE’s current production capacity is 2,000 moulds per year and the dimensions of each mould can be verified with the FARO Laser Tracker ION after manufacturing in a batch process. “We use it in a raw workshop climate, so having a robust, mobile and easy to use solution was vital.”
Besides the moulds, CBE makes all the associated handling equipment including fully-automated moulding plants with outputs of 5 to 6 segments per hour. CBE’s engineering office works closely with the tunnel engineers to optimise the design of individual segments and of the segment precast plant. “The more accuracy we can offer, the more customers appreciate the advantages of precision. We now have a new customer in the Netherlands that requires a tolerance of +/- 0.2 mm.”
Objective – Leadership in Innovation
The FARO system is equally impressive for taking exterior as for interior measurements in Dingolfing and Regensburg.
FARO has successfully combined three tried-and-tested measuring systems in the Track ScanArm. The mobile measuring system is particularly impressive in the measurementof entire vehicles, not least as a result of its efficiency.
The BMW Group relies on the latest, stateof- the-art technologies, in particular in development and production. In this context, the Track ScanArm from FARO, which is used at the plants in Dingolfing and Regensburg (both in Germany), represents an equally clever and mobile measuring system in Geometric Integration measuring technology. What was required was a system for recording tactile points and surfaces irrespective of location, as well as wireless transfer rather than via a tool. Calibration was therefore not to be conducted by means of reference marks, as this represents an uncertainty factor, for example because of the moving parts. The objective was clearly non-contact wireless transfer – this was the basic requirement of the system to be procured. FARO’s Track ScanArm, which ideally satisfied the requirement profile, was ultimately ordered for the German plants.The Track ScanArm combines the FARO Laser Tracker, the seven-axis FaroArm Quantum with a range of 2.4m, and the Laser Line Probe V3 scanner. The package is completed by Polyworks software. All measuring systems can be linked together by means of a common coordinate system. The coordinate system can be calibrated either by means of the laser tracker, by means of tactile measurements by the FaroArm or through scanned measurements. The coordinate system is then transferred to each of the other systems, for example from the tracker to the arm or vice versa – and thus from any vantage point. As the fixed base, the laser tracker either stands on the tripod as in Regensburg or is hung from the ceiling as in Dingolfing. The coordinate system is transferred from the fixed base of the laser tracker to the arm, irrespective of where it is located in the respective measuring environment. This means that you calibrate and can then carry out measurements – separate from the tracker and without any visual contact – of both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle, with all seven degrees of freedom. Tactile measurements or the scanning of surfaces are ideal for precisely those places that cannot be reached with the laser tracker. The Track ScanArm ultimately combines the advantages of the laser tracker, tactile measuring arm and laser scanner systems, supplemented by powerful software and a computer.
that make up the Track ScanArm individually.
FARO provided a suitable partner for the implementation of this ambitious project for the two Bavarian BMW plants simply because FaroArms have already been successfully employed both in Regensburg and in Dingolfing for some ten years now. The plant in Lower Bavaria alone currently has a wide range of FaroArms from the Gold, Fusion and Platinum series. The initial presentations of the Track ScanArm were carried out as long ago as 2006. The system finally became really interesting for metrologists when FARO was also able to offer wireless vehicle network transfer. Procurement was followed by the installation phase, during which the specialists from both partners contributed their expertise. The Track Scan- Arm has been in operation as planned since mid-2009. In the end, there were several reasons that spoke in favour of the FARO system compared to that of a competitor. These included not only the price but also the fact that the quality experts at both plants were already familiar with the measuring arms and their high level of accuracy. There is also the “monopoly position” resulting from the fact that at the time FARO was the only company able to offer wireless transfer of the vehicle network.
The range of tasks covered by geometric integration is extensive: the focus is on product qualification during the product development stage; or pilot production, in order to get the suppliers’ parts up to series production standard and to ensure that the entire vehicle is ready for production. This is also followed by analysis in the series production process whenever a component cannot be fitted as required. In the course of the measurements required for testing, the Track ScanArm is regularly employed throughout the entire vehicle, on both the interior and exterior, in a very wide variety of ways. The system is furthermore used for checking production tools and jigs. Assembly jigs are currently being measured in Regensburg, so that it will be possible to restore the current status of the C-frames after retooling. In the case of these measurements, the system is particularly impressive not only for its mobility but also for perfect ‘job-sharing’: The measuring arm is used whenever measurements need to be taken in locations that cannot be accessed by the laser tracker. The tracker is used, on the other hand, for measuring points at heights of up 3.0m which cannot be reached with the measuring arm.
The combination of tracker, tactile measuring arm and laser scanner has proven absolute stood the testing in both Dingolfing and in Regensburg. Not least because transfer can be carried out anywhere and the system offers all degrees of freedom – so that there are no limitations. The specialists at BMW have also come to appreciate the mobility of the measuring system. The Track ScanArm also plays a similarly important role for the Regensburg plant as a replacement for and a supplement to the underfloor measuring system, in order to avoid capacity bottlenecks. If the stationary measuring machine is busy, the FARO system offers the flexibility of enabling positioning the vehicle wherever there happens to be space at the moment, and the measurements can then be carried out there. In cases where the item to be inspected can only be transported into the measuring area with great difficulty, if at all, the Track ScanArm also offers the possibility of going straight to the part, for example to the production line, in order to carry out the measurements in situ. Thanks to the portability of the system, the specialists in Geometric Integration can make considerable savings in terms of transport costs and time. And when in this context the analysis is carried out more quickly, it is of course also possible to respond more quickly to any inaccuracies, which represents a significant advantage particularly in the series production process. One essential bonus of this system is the option of using each of the products individuthese measurements, the system is particularly impressive not only for its mobility but also for perfect ‘job-sharing’: The measuring arm is used whenever measurements need to be taken in locations that cannot be accessed by the laser tracker.
The tracker is used, on the other hand, for measuring points at heights of up 3.0m which cannot be reached with the measuring arm. The combination of tracker, tactile measuring arm and laser scanner has proven absolute stood the testing in both Dingolfing and in Regensburg. Not least because transfer can be carried out anywhere and the system offers all degrees of freedom – so that there are no limitations. The specialists at BMW have also come to appreciate the mobility of the measuring system.
The Track ScanArm adds another element to the existing comprehensive array of measuring devices in Dingolfing und Regensburg, and quite considerably increases efficiency in the case of certain measuring tasks. On this basis, the metrologists can select and utilise the most effective measuring system available in each case, for any application. This also applies especially with regard to the combination of scanning and tactile measurement for large measurement volumes, and the possibility of mobile deployment on the production line.
measuring assembly jigs.
Roland Schlüßl, Key Account Manager at FARO and responsible for BMW client support, sums it up as follows: “The experts in Geometric Integration measuring technology at BMW are quite satisfied with the Track ScanArm system. And it’s no wonder, as the automotive industry is virtually predestined for the combination of these measuring systems, because the components to be measured are too large for the measuring arm, and the laser tracker can do little on its own. Admittedly, we also learned quite a lot in the course of the installation process at BMW, and we were able to develop the Track ScanArm even further in the process. Now the package is absolutely ‘spot on’ and is already being used by various other car manufacturers.”
5 Good Reasons
… why you should consider the FARO Track ScanArm:
Combination of FaroArm and tracker: Large range, small details which are difficult to access, highest precision
Benefit from the high accuracy of both individual systems
While measuring with the arm it is not necessary to be in line of sight with the tracker. Thus you measure/ scan with real 6/7 free axes
Only one laptop necessary for the control of both products
Laser Tracker and ScanArm can also be used indivuaally