Digitizing Cast Parts with Laser Scanners

To dampen dangerous vibrations in ship engines, elastic couplings must be precisely tailored to the needs o  each individual ship and its engine. Therefore, the models and varieties of couplings from the manufacturer VULKAN, which produces couplings and gear systems, are appropriately diverse. To exactly analyze this great diversity of couplings, the company looked for a fast and accurate solution to digitize them – and opted for a T-SCAN CS laser scanner from ZEISS.

VULKAN measures coupling components optically

Andreas Ladwig, Junior Lean Production Officer, and Ralf Redecker, a colleague from the Vulcanization department, examining a coupling segment.

Andreas Ladwig, Junior Lean Production Officer, and Ralf Redecker, a colleague from the Vulcanization department, examining a coupling segment.

Challenge: Measure a large variety of couplings

The couplings in the RATO S product line from VULKAN consist of several cast parts. To achieve the required elasticity, two of these castings are joined in a technique known as vulcanization. The problem: technical drawings and actual cast parts did not
always correspond 100%. This meant that the employees needed additional time to rework them. To improve the production process, the first thing that was needed was an exact analysis of the cast parts. "We have over 40 versions and sizes in this product line," says Andreas Ladwig, Junior Lean Production Officer. "We would have needed years to capture their geometry using slide gages." A faster and more exact approach was required.

The optical distance display makes scanning easier.

The optical distance display makes scanning easier.

Solution: ZEISS T-SCAN CS manual laser scanner

VULKAN introduced a T-SCAN CS laser scanner from ZEISS. This digitizes the topography of the workpiece with 210,000 single points a second. The data capture software from ZEISS generates a 3D model of the workpiece from these point clouds. The operator first mounts the cast parts on a vise in the production area. During the scanning process a ZEISS T-TRACK CS+ tracking camera mounted on a stand nearby records  the points captured by the laser scanner in a virtually clamped coordinate system.

High measuring speed thanks to the manual laser scanner from ZEISS

Ralf Redecker, an employee in the Vulcanization department, digitizes a coupling segment using the T-Scan. There are already initial signs of successful process optimization.

Ralf Redecker, an employee in the Vulcanization department, digitizes a coupling segment using the T-Scan. There are already initial signs of successful process optimization.

Benefit: Fast digitization, fewer rejects

Ladwig and his colleagues compared the CAD models with the scans using the INSPECTplus software from ZEISS. They
then updated the 'old' CAD models and sent them to the cast parts supplier. They subjected the 'new' cast parts to initial sample testing via a laser scan. "It's all incredibly fast," says Ladwig. "If my colleague scans in the morning and I have time for the analysis in the afternoon, then we can complete the initial sample testing for the component in a single workday. We used to need weeks to do this." The optimization process has led to a major reduction in both the reject rate and in the time and effort required for reworking.

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