Metrology equipement to optimize machine tool productivity


asb0116AIA7Konecranes‘ machine tool service division for helping aerospace manufacturers upgraded the equipment at its Springfield, OH, facility by purchasing several state-of-the-art metrology instruments made by Automated Precision Inc. The equipment cost about $300,000 and includes a Radian laser tracker and four XD six-degrees-of-freedom laser systems.

According to Harold Schoch, vice president of technical services for the Americas at Konecranes, the new equipment quickly captures the multiple data points necessary to correct any positioning and geometry errors on large machine tools. He says service specialists can now visit a customer and harvest all the necessary data in one day or less, whereas older systems required two or three days.

“We can set it up one time, position the reflective mirror in front of the laser, shoot one run and capture six different freedoms of movement,” says Schoch, a fourth-generation machine tool builder. “In the past, we needed to make several setups in order to capture the same data.” The equipment uses volumetric error compensation to improve tool calibration accuracy. This technology ensures that machine tool movements across all six degrees (X, Y, Z, pitch, yaw and roll) are accurate over the machine’s entire working volume. More importantly, it has helped aviation industry customers reduce calibration downtime from a few days to a few hours.

“All machine tools have a certain accuracy standard for the products they make,” notes Schoch. “When you start machining wingspans on commercial airliners that are up to 200 feet long, accuracy is very important. Just the curvature of the earth can throw tolerances off.”

The machine tool service division also repairs, rebuilds and retrofits all types and brands of machine tools. Its comprehensive maintenance programs for single or multiple machines include tool evaluation, standard or tailored preventive or predictive maintenance, overall equipment effectiveness and a spare parts database. Service options range from scheduled to emergency repairs, with electrical and mechanical troubleshooting. The Radian laser tracker’s INNOVO technology has an integrated camera for capturing still and video images. The technology includes a unique feature, I-Vision, which locks the camera onto a target even if the laser beam is broken. An activity advisor informs the operator of the tracker’s warm up status and key operating and environmental conditions. Advanced self-diagnostics detect setup and workplace irregularities.

By simultaneously measuring linear, angular, straightness and roll errors, the HD laser system rapidly assesses a part or machine: Complete measurement of a 1-meter-volume machine takes only three to four hours. The system also evaluates a machine tool’s velocity, acceleration, parallelism, squareness and flatness. It is wireless (with Ethernet connectivity) and available with one, three, five or six degrees of freedom.