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.
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.
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.
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.”
OSKAR FRECH GMBH + CO. KG
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.
Building 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.
CONTROL, 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
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.”
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.
The CBE Group is a leader in the field of concrete segment moulds. “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.”
The America’s Cup has entered an era of unprecedented speed, thrills and action with a completely new format and the AC45s and AC72s.
The AC45s (45 ft. / 13.5m long) with 20m wings the size of a tennis court are re the development platform and compete in the America’s Cup World Series, the pre-cursors to teams ramp up to the AC72 (72 ft. / 22m long) for the Louis Vuitton Cup (the Challenger Selection Series) which precedes the 34th America’s Cup which will take place in San Francisco in September 2013.
On March 8th you will have the chance to see the latest in SpatialAnalyzer’s metrology solutions for every application. It offers the simple tools for the everyday jobs and in depth suite of capabilities you need to tackle the tough jobs. It interfaces to every FARO instrument simultaneously and makes it easy to get the results you need quickly. The depth of the SA architecture and graphics provides the traceability needed to validate the results under the most rigorous tests.
FARO is organising a European series of seminars called ‘Quality on Tour’ this autumn. The aim is to educate the participants on quality control topics. The seminars are carried out in conjunction with universities and measurement experts.
The seminar Quality on Tour consists of two days and features the topics ‘Portable measurement technology, articulated arm Coordinate Measuring Machines and laser scanners’ as well as ‘Measuring large volumes and laser trackers’. During the mornings participants will hear theoretical introductions to measurement systems, how they work and where they can be employed. In the afternoons participants will have the opportunity to test and deepen their newly gained knowledge in workshops.
The Quality on Tour seminars are taking place in October and November in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France and Italy. The UK event will take place on 16th and 17th November at Warwick University in Coventry.
More information can be found on http://www.qualityontour.com/.
FARO has successfully combined three tried-and-tested measuring systems in the Track ScanArm. The mobile measuring system is particularly impressive in the measurement of entire vehicles, not least as a result of its efficiency.
The BMW Group relies on the latest, state-of-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.
The webinar will consist of a live demonstration of CAM2 Q showing its efficiency in the measurement of parts against a CAD model. The live demonstration will focus on the following elements of the measurement process:
• Importing / viewing of CAD files
• Performing a CAD to part alignment
• Measuring prismatic features
• Measuring points on CAD surfaces
• Performing part dimensioning
• Building a report