High accuracy requested for machine calibration of injection molding machines

The Laser Tracker has become virtually indispensable in the assembly of large machines.The large Frech die casting machines are twelve-metre-long giants but even so, extreme accuracy is required in their manufacture. Conventional measuring tools such as spirit levels and alignment telescopes were occasionally no longer enough. Finally the Swabians opted for a Laser Tracker from FARO. From then on there were no more problems, only solutions.

Oskar Frech GmbH + Co. KG is currently the global leader in hot chamber die casting machines. Materials such as zinc and magnesium are cast using their machines. The components manufactured include metal fittings, laptop and mobile phone housings and toys such as the world-famous Märklin model railways. The Swabians also hold second place in the equally hotly-contested market for cold chamber die casting machines. These machines are used to manufacture whole engine blocks from aluminium, such as the Daimler V8, and structural body parts for Audi. Other typical products include gearbox housings, dashboards and steps for escalators.

Frech machines are true giants. The cold chamber version can be up to 17 metres long and weigh up to 250 tons and create a closing force of 4,100 tons. The machines take around 11 months to build and the individual parts are delivered to the customers by heavy load transporters. The route to the final destination is therefore a kind of one-way street. Returning faulty machines to the factory in Schorndorf is not an option, due to the enormous costs. It would also not be certain whether there would be sufficient space in the production hall.

The individual parts have to be stored in the production shop when they reach the customer, in order to acclimatise before assembly. Only then can you ensure that all the parts will fit together and there is no unnecessary wear. This procedure demonstrates that a high level of accuracy is required for the manufacture of these enormous machines.

3D measurment systems
A FARO Platinum measuring arm has been in use at Frech since 2006. This year, those responsible have ordered another measuring device from FARO, the Laser Tracker Vantage. The determining factor was a customer from the automotive sector, who repeatedly reported problems with his machine. After re-equipping with a new casting mould the machine symmetry was no longer correct, the guide rods could no longer be guided accurately into the socket and were colliding early. Frech technicians examined the machine repeatedly but, due to the complex installation conditions, they could not find a cause for the fault with the usual measuring equipment. When inserting the rods after the change of mould they repeatedly seized. In the end a technician was called in from FARO to discuss the dimensions to be measured and the practical interaction between the mould and geometric tolerances. He was able to detect the fault within a short time using the FARO Laser Tracker. This made a lasting impression on Frech and the FARO Laser Tracker was instantly on the shopping list.

The combination of FaroArm and Laser Tracker enables extremely flexible measurement.Best of both worlds
FARO measuring systems are meanwhile used not only at Frech and its suppliers but also during the installation of the machines on the customer’s premises. The space around the machine is usually very limited here and there is very little space for measuring or for measuring equipment. Because of this, the combination of measuring arm and Laser Tracker into a new system, known as the TrackArm, is currently under consideration. This would give Frech the best of two worlds, so to speak, as the TrackArm combines the great range and high level of accuracy of the Laser Tracker with the flexibility and reliability of the FaroArm. The great advantage of this is that the measuring arm can be quickly repositioned at will within the measuring range of the laser tracker. In doing so the arm always remains in the same coordinate system, and points can also be reached that do not lie in the visual range of the tracker.

Finding deviations
The technicians can virtually measure around corners and in this way can inspect even very large components with no difficulty. Wolfgang Schöben, responsible for quality management at Frech, could no longer do without the Laser Tracker: “We have to find and rectify faults and inaccuracies on site, because we take the machine to the customer by heavy goods transporter. There’s no going back.” For this reason, in Spring 2013 Frech also launched a quality initiative together with its suppliers and defined comprehensive, standard measurement methods in order to remedy recurring quality problems. FARO measuring equipment is the constant element in this, because Frech demands that outsourced parts are also measured using FARO equipment. If that is not possible, the Schorndorf-based company offers measurement as a service.

Now every area of production at Frech is measured quickly and accurately. This actually happens during production. This means corrections can be made before it is too late and costly reworking would be necessary. “This is crucial because any deviations in a component can affect the whole machine,” stresses Schöben. “Subsequent components may then have to be adapted to the deviations.” This jigsaw puzzle is costly and can seriously affect the interaction between components.

Inspection reports
In the past, Frech measured and adjusted the components using conventional measuring equipment such as spirit levels, micrometers, external micrometers or alignment telescopes. “With FARO measuring equipment we save many man hours,” states Schöben. “In addition, customers in the automotive industry demand detailed inspection reports. With FARO systems we can produce these in an instant.”

More about the FARO Laser Tracker

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Passion has played a crucial role from the outset at Oskar Frech GmbH + Co. KG. This is the only reason why the Swabian tool-making company based in Schorndorf-Weiler near Stuttgart has become a leading global supplier of die casting technologies, with 700 employees. The Frech range leaves no customer requirement unfulfilled. For suppliers of zinc, magnesium or aluminium die casting, Frech have customised solutions for the production of the smallest die cast parts, right up to engine blocks and body parts.


Laser trackers shrink aircraft-sized manufacturing problems

Laser trackers shrink aircraft-sized manufacturing problemsBuilding aircraft has always been a struggle between the size of their components and the need to craft them carefully. More than any other device, airplanes epitomize the concept that ‘the devil is in the details’ because in small errors lies the potential for great mischief such as increased drag and decreased range.

In the past, large structures such as wings, fuselages, or vertical stabilizers were difficult to make alike because there was no good way to measure them. The traditional measuring standard for objects over 20 feet was the theodolite.Although theodolite measurements can be fairly precise, they are subject to interpretation and as such are not always reproducible.With the advent of the laser tracker, precise, rapid, reproducible measuring over great distances finally became a reality.

Although laser trackers are used to align large industrial equipment such as metal rolling mills, printing presses, and power generation equipment, one can imagine that they were created expressly for the aerospace industry. A laser tracker can be set up anywhere, in a design studio or factory, and its vast operating range is large enough to capture the wing of the biggest planes ever conceived.

For the aviation industry a laser tracker provides the greatest benefits to mechanical engineering; calibrating machine tools and process monitoring. How this is done you can read in this white paper about mechanical engineering in the aerospace industry.

Learn more? Ask for an onsite product demonstration.


Ralf Drews at Control: “Optimally prepare customers for complex requirements”

Ralf Drews Managing Director at FARO EuropeIt was again exciting at Control, the international trade fair for quality assurance in Stuttgart. Diverse technology, international exhibitors and countless suggestions made a visit to the show worthwhile. This was also the right place and time for Ralf Drews to introduce himself to the wider public. Since the beginning of 2013 he is Managing Director of FARO Europe.

FARO’s credo seen throughout all product lines: measuring systems can be user-friendly. Even if the complexity increases – the technology must always be easy to use. In maintaining this goal in constant view, regarding portable measurement systems, Drews sets the customer’s requirements first.

The latest solution that could be seen at Control is the so-called FARO TrackArm. It expands the measurement volume of the FARO ScanArm by combining it with the FARO Laser Tracker Vantage in one coordinate system. Innovative adapters provide a wireless connection between the two measurement systems. The extremely flexible portable arm reaches almost every hidden corner of components and in combination with the laser tracker it has an enormous range of up to 80 meters. The ScanArm can often be repositioned as desired during measurements. Re-calibration is not necessary: a significant alleviation in practice.

Also, the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D Drews sees as a perfect example of this idea: “With its ease of use and flexibility, the Focus3D embodies our strategy. The leap in mobility and quality with the Focus3D launch two years ago, was a revolution in the market. The scanner has a built-in color camera, increased accuracy and reduced noise and is also radically smaller, lighter, easier to use and much more cost-effective than other solutions on the market.” Especially in 3D applications, that can realize the ‘unbelievable’, the Managing Director sees large potential.

Ralf Drews will also be present on the first day of the FARO 3D Documentation User Meeting on 13th and 14th June, held in Strasbourg.


FARO at National Maritime Museum Cornwall – June 3rd 2013

FARO at National Maritime Museum CornwallFARO will be present at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall event in Falmouth on June 3rd.
Digitising artefacts with the help of portable measurement systems is the main focus of this event. You have the chance to see live scanning and 3D documentation of different artefacts in the NMMC.

We will present our portable CMMs and 3D imaging devices FaroArm, Edge ScanArm, Laser Tracker Vantage and the Laser Scanner Focus3D for 3D measurement and 3D image documentation together with the accompanying software.

Furthermore, participants will be able to try FARO devices for themselves. If you bring a piece or component, you will have the opportunity to scan it.

Register here

Date: 3 June 2013
Time: 10.00 am – 4 pm

Address: National Maritime Museum Cornwall
Discovery Quay
Falmouth, Cornwall
TR11 3QY

Further reading: ‘Pushing the next generation of digitizing heritage


Control fair in Stuttgart: the FARO Team

Group photo FARO team at ControlMeet the FARO team at booth 3404 in hall 3 for a coffee and entertainment. Get your picture taken on the FARO Chopper that was flown in from the States especially for the Control fair. Explore the new and improved TrackArm, that unites the long range Laser Tracker with the flexibility of the FaroArm into a long-reach, six-degree-of-freedom probe. Also discover the brand new CAM2 SmartInspect software for non-CAD measurements and the renewed CAM2 Measure 10 software.

Visitors to the CONTROL trade fair (from 14 to 17 May, 2013, Stuttgart Trade Fair) can find out all about the new FARO TrackArm at the FARO Stand 3404 in Hall 3.


FARO TrackArm – new and improved technology for the most versatile portable 3D measurement system

FARO TrackArm – new and improved technology for the most versatile portable 3D measurement system

The FARO TrackArm is the most versatile portable 3D measurement system available. It brings together the long range and high accuracy capabilities of FARO’s Laser Tracker with the flexibility and consistency of the FaroArm.

The seamless combination of these metrology devices expands the FaroArm’s working volume, allowing it to be quickly repositioned anywhere within the Laser Tracker’s measurement range; while remaining in the same coordinate system and the same software interface. This solution is ideally suited for the automotive, aerospace and heavy machinery industries as well as for suppliers of large parts to industries such as tunnel & mining and hydro & wind power.

The TrackArm is ideally suited for the automotive, aerospace and heavy machinery industriesThe FARO TrackArm unites the FARO Laser Tracker Vantage, which has a range of up to 80m (262.5 ft), with the entire FaroArm product family – Edge, Prime or Fusion – into a long-reach, six-degree-of-freedom probe. New innovative adapters enable the integration of the Tracker and the Arm. This improved solution also eliminates the need for a synchronization cable between the units and the system can be operated wirelessly with the FaroArm’s built-in capability. CAM2 Measure 10 software provides a simple user interface to quickly switch back and forth between the two systems. Attach FARO’s Laser Line Probe to the Arm to enable extended scanning and non-contact inspection ability for reverse engineering, CAD-to-part analysis, and inspection purposes.

Visitors to the CONTROL trade fair (from 14 to 17 May, 2013, Stuttgart Trade Fair) can find out all about the new FARO TrackArm at the FARO Stand 3404 in Hall 3.

>>More on FARO’s TrackArm



FARO Chopper at Control FairCONTROL, the major European exhibition dedicated to metrology, opened its doors this morning in Stuttgart, Germany. Every day, visitors will have the opportunity to discover the latest trends in quality control and attend events organized by the exhibitors.

See the photos of FARO’s chopper designed by Paul Jr. Designs, of the televisionshow American Chopper on our Facebook Page. Visitors at the FARO stand have the opportunity to be photographed on the powerful machine that was created exclusively for FARO’s 30th anniversary.

As with most custom choppers created by Paul Jr. Designs, the FaroArm was used to manufacture the birthday bike. It is important for PJD to be able to create unique pieces with speed and efficiency. Some elements, including the fuel tank, the seat pan and the cover of the primary belt give a glimpse of the real talent that goes into the design of each piece. All these elements have complex shapes and contours difficult to understand or replicate by hand.

The FaroArm scans the exact shape and location of the parts. The design and creation of cardboard templates are thus basically useless. The data collected by the arm can immediately be imported to a CNC machine or waterjet cutting tool to produce parts with high precision in perfect shape from the very start. The FaroArm therefore reduces waste, saves time and increases overall efficiency.

For more photos of the FARO Chopper visit our Facebook Page or come and visit us at Control and get your photo taken!

Stuttgart Trade Fair, 14-17 May 2013
Booth 3404 in Hall 3


FARO will be exhibiting at Railtex 2013, April 30th – 2nd May in London

International Exhibition of Railroad Equipment Systems & ServicesFARO UK invites all interested parties to Railtex, the all encompassing showcase for technological innovation across all sectors of the rail supply market.

FARO will be demonstrating several advanced metrology products, including the FARO Edge that boasts the lightest and smallest laser line probe and touch-screen computer for basic measurements at stand number G03. Also on display will be the FARO Gage with barcode scanner and the company’s innovative new Laser Tracker Vantage that is ideal for accurate, large volume measurements.

Date: 30th April – 2nd May 2013
Location: Earls Court 2 Exhibition Centre
Warwick Road
London SW5 9TA


Featured White Paper: an Introduction to 3D measurement technology

White Paper: An introduction to 3D measurement technology

Whether it’s small machined parts requiring precision diameters, alignment of large equipment or setting up machine tools, or even documenting entire buildings and environments, three-dimensional measurement data can help companies make more informed decisions and produce better quality products.

Read this white paper to learn more about the latest 3D measurement tools, how they work, and their common applications.

For access to other white papers on 3D measurement topics, follow this link.




Aligning a particle accelerator with maximum precision in 3D at ESS Bilbao

FARO Laser Tracker integrated into the ESS Bilbao particle accelerator ESS Bilbao is a technical scientific facility facing the challenge of constructing the first high-intensity linear accelerator in Spain.

At ESS Bilbao, laser tracker technology is integrated into the entire accelerator system to measure the components and mechanical parts of the accelerator and to align all of its sections.

Carlos Martínez de Marigorta explains: “with regard to applications in the area of generated neutrons, the ones that stand out are laboratories that work with neutron ‘scattering’ (which would be used by the scientific and industrial community) and neutron time of flight. The FARO Laser Tracker is an essential system in any accelerator in order to be able to align its components.”

>>Read the full story


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