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Even the Machines Are Flexible

Volkswagen accelerates quality inspection in engine production

Monitoring equipment, plug gauges and slide gauges – at the engine factory of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH in Chemnitz, Germany, these tools for elaborate manual measurements are a thing of the past. Today, small and robust coordinate measuring machines from Carl Zeiss are used for quality inspection in production. They can be flexibly adapted to new products and generations, thus enabling considerable savings. At the same time, the measuring machines quickly deliver precise, detailed results.

The challenge: measure flexibly on the shop floor

"A measuring machine like DuraMax fully meets our demands," says Matthias Kurth who is responsible for tool and measuring technology planning at the Chemnitz engine factory of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH. The factory conducts random measurements during production to ensure the quality of the engine parts. Until now, there has not been a coordinate measuring machine small and robust enough to inspect the form and dimension of the parts directly next to the machines. Operators used monitoring equipment and other hand-held tools. This meant replacing or converting the measuring instruments with every new product generation or variation. Furthermore, the process was time consuming and susceptible to errors as the results depended on the experience and performance of the user.

The challenge was to find a flexible replacement for the gauges that could also be used directly in a production environment.

Solution: small, robust coordinate measuring machine

Today, flexible, programmable DuraMax 3D coordinate measuring machines are used for the in-process random measurements. This enables Volkswagen Sachsen to support the production of all key engine parts.

However, it was only with the launch of the small and robust DuraMax that it was possible for the engine factory in Chemnitz to take coordinate measuring technology directly to the measuring stations on the shop floor. The system has a footprint of just about one square meter. Furthermore, DuraMax works at temperatures between 18 and 35 degrees Celsius, is insensitive to dirt and requires nothing more than a power plug.

Benefit: faster and more accurate measurements

The greatest benefit that DuraMax brings to the Chemnitz engine factory: instead of several different tools, only one measuring machine is required which can be adjusted as needed for a new part or engine generation in just a few steps.

Furthermore, the measuring results are more detailed, accurate and reliable than before, and can be better compared to the results from the measuring lab.

The Chemnitz engine factory now uses 14 DuraMax machines in its production facilities. "This has enabled us to reduce our costs," states Kurth. "Furthermore, we are improving the utilization of our capacities, process transparency and output. We are therefore making a key contribution to value creation-oriented process – fully in line with the higher-ranking corporate objectives of Volkswagen."

About the company

Headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen is one of the world's leading car makers. Process and product quality are among the company's most important goals. The Chemnitz engine factory of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH is a pioneer in the use of flexible measuring technology directly on the shop floor. The 1150 employees in Chemnitz produce around 3000 four-cylinder gas and diesel engines daily, and 4000 balancer transmissions.