Production managers at the engine factory of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH in Chemnitz, Germany are proud of their standardized metrology infrastructure. All measuring machines from Carl Zeiss, Hommel and Mahr have been networked and connected to the Master Control Center (MCC) from Carl Zeiss since 2008. The benefits: a good overview, availability of current measuring programs and lower service requirements for the measuring machines.
“Until now, we had focused on the printed measurement log,” remembers Matthias Kurth who is responsible for measurement planning in the planning division of the factory in Chemnitz. "Now, every authorized person can access all data provided by the Master Control Center (MCC) from their computer." The previous log-based system had reached its limits. “The number of measuring machines had doubled," says Kurth describing the situation, "and we were looking for an optimized data management system." Carl Zeiss offered the MCC which was later installed – with the Measurement Log Archive, Production Data Acquisition (PDA) and Onboard Diagnostics software modules.
The MCC is a modular, web-based control system that does more than simply manage coordinate measuring machines (CMM), CNC programs and measuring results. With the integrated production data acquisition feature, it also enables you to check at any time which part was measured when, including the results. Furthermore, the PDA MCC module informs personnel of the CMM capacity regardless of the software that is used – CALYPSO®, HOLOS® or UMESS®. Charts and histograms can be selected for display. Operating data can be displayed as a graphic or in an Excel sheet. Connection of the database to PDM/ PLM systems is also possible.
A visit to the engine factory in Chemnitz provides an example of all that the MCC can achieve with these modules: “Of the 16 coordinate measuring machines, eight of them are located directly in production,” says Matthias Kurth. All measuring machines are networked and connected to the MCC. This enables all authorized personnel in production, planning and quality assurance to access all MCC data from any workstation. “The measurement log database gives me access to the central data pool,” states Kurth, “everything works without paper and we also have long-term documentation at our disposal.” The management function enables not only professional data backup, but also traceability of all measurement plan modifications. All measurement plans for all measuring machines are saved in the measurement log database and are approved for volume use. This guarantees that only approved and up-to-date measuring programs are used. Approved measuring programs are read-only files and can only be uniformly edited and reversioned by those responsible for measurement plans. The PDA and OBD software modules provide an effective measuring machine management system in Chemnitz. Access to the operating status of each machine is now possible. This allows you to monitor not only the temperature gradients, but also the level of utilization which is an important criterion in measurement planning. A knowledge database, which ensures centralized provision of operating manuals and general metrology know-how, was set up as a by-product with the existing MCC data. The new system enabled the factory to meet the increased demands of highly flexible production without additional personnel expenses.
Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH is a 100 percent subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. More than 1000 people work at the engine factory in Chemnitz and manufacture 3500 gas-driven and diesel engines, and 3500 balancer transmissions every day. Sixteen coordinate measuring machines, half of which are set up locally next to production machines, are used in this working environment. Management of all CMM data and measurement programs is organized centrally, which is achieved using a network and the MCC.