New case story: Flexible and high precision 3D measurement
ITM in Gleisdorf (Austria) needs top-class 3D measurement technology in order to optimise manufacturing processes. It must be able to be used flexibly for various measurement processes and, at the same time, ensure high precision and process reliability. The 3D scanners, software and other components of Nikon completely fulfil the challenging requirements of the engineering service provider.
“As a service provider, we are involved in development, design and 3D metrology. Through our comprehensive know-how in the engineering of operational equipment and measuring systems, we are constructing production plants for, among others, automotive subcontractors as well as for manufacturers of gas and steam turbines. In this regard, our focus lies on the metrology assisted process optimisation,” explains Christian Vidic. As the owner, he manages ITM’s business in Austrian Gleisdorf. He founded his company in 2004 after previously having worked as a Designer at a tool machine manufacturer. ITM now employs seven highly-qualified experts. The employees measure and test equipment and prototype parts by commission order. Moreover, they develop and realiseautomated inline measurement solutions which serve to optimise manufacturing processes and/or improve process reliability.
The specialists at ITM have, for example, designed a special machine for drilling and milling bodywork sections made of aluminium. The customised integrated measurement technology adjusts the machining process adaptively. This increases the precision and pprocess reliability substantially. The specialists in Gleisdorf have realised similar devices and special machines for automotive applications such as the processing of cylinder head, gear and turbocharger turbine wheels. Finally, in another project which concerned the measurement of steam turbine shafts fitted completely with blades, ITM was not only responsible for the suitable measurement strategy, the measurement processes and the required equipment, but rather also successfully conceived and realised the entire measurement process.
“In order to be able to render these comprehensive engineering services we require particularly top-class and, at the same time, flexible measurement technology,” explains Mr. Vidic and continues:
“During the planning and design process, we must repeatedly measure prototypes and test various measurement processes in order to be able to respectively select the optimal solution for the integrated measurement technology.”
Numerous measurement systems for a large spectrum of components
During the last year, ITM invested in two coordinate measurement machines (CMM) and also in specific measurement equipment. This includes, among others, measurement arms and optical scanners. In
addition to the measurement of very large workpieces, the specialists in Gleisdorf use this also for the reverse engineering, thus the tracing back of 3D measurement data from a measured component into the
design data in the 3D CAD system.
In this regard, Mr. Vidic prescribes special requirements particularly for the procured coordinate measurement machines. They must be able to alternatingly conduct touch-trigger measurements as well as 3D touch trigger and optical scans. Thus, after doing thorough market research, the company opted for a CMM from Nikon (LK V HA 15.10.8) because, on this system, the Gleisdorf metrologists are capable of 3D scanning without any problems – even at very high speeds – with a REVO probe (Renishaw). It is thus the only measurement technology company in Austria which has such equipment. Another advantage: the Nikon CMM can be flexibly used.
„The Nikon controller (computer) enables the use of software from various manufacturers. Thus, we profit, firstly, from the performance advantages of the specific software that is installed; secondly, we adapt flexibly to the respective measurement requirements of our customers. As a universal service provider with customers from many diverse industries, this is a critically-important factor for us,” explains Vidic. Based upon the application, ITM works alternately with diverse software; for example, from the manufacturers Renishaw (Modus) and Nikon (CMM Manager, Camio) respectively in conjunction with the CMM LK V HA.
High CMM performance after retrofit
Based upon the impressive advantages, Vidic ultimately chose to comprehensively retrofit a proven CMM from the manufacturer DEA with components from Nikon in order to obtain state-of-the-art technology. “In particular, during the planning and implementation of the technical updates, the specialists at Nikon have always supported us upon a partnership basis”, he reports. ITM received the optimally-suitable equipment within a very short period of time.
The components could be installed and commissioned without any problems. The investment costs remained moderate in so doing. Thus, the CMM retrofit already quickly paid off within a short period of time.
A CMM retrofit produces numerious advantages. Thus, the CMM’s acceleration and positioning – now with drives from Nikon – is enhanced significantly. Moreover, the controller from the Japanese manufacturer ensures that ITM can also use diverse measurement technology and evaluation software on this CMM, both universally and flexibly. The Gleisdorf engineers thus have at their disposal another top-performance and universal CMM for touch-trigger probing and contact and optical scanning technology. For the scanning applications they use the digital 3D XC65Dx laser scanner from Nikon. Mr. Vidic: “Laser scanners from Nikon offer great process reliability. Because they automatically calibrate, they work reliably and quickly as well as independently of the surfaces for the components to be scanned. Regardless of whether they are on shiny, strongly-reflecting or black, matted surfaces: Nikon laser scanners detect even the smallest geometric details without any problems and reliably.
Prepared for multiple sensors
Particularly in conjunction with Nikon’s multi-sensor software Camio l, various probes and 3D laser scanners can be alternatingly used without any problems on the CMM. During scanning, the software provides high speeds and short measurement times. The cost-intensive use of the CMM is thus optimised. Inspection programmes can be created in advance offline from a CAD model. The software automatically generates paths for scanning complex surfaces. Measurement results can be directly compared with the 3D CAD data. In addition, data from countless diverse 3D CAD can be imported into software. For the output of measurement data, countless interfaces and a broad range of common data and file formats are provided, thus offering a reliable connection to the measurement and evaluation software of other manufacturers.
Owing to the high degree of flexibility, there are unlimited growth opportunities for ITM. The company is in any case well-positioned for successfully demonstrating its know-how, including in the future, in countless diverse industries and production companies. Mr. Vidic summarises his high satisfaction with Nikon: “Measurement technology from Nikon is flexible and universal. It has proven itself successfully to us. In addition, it is particularly cost-effective. The experts from Nikon also support us upon a partnership basis and competently. And this throughout the entire range of 3D measurement technology.“
Another step towards an even more intensive cooperation with the Japanese manufacturer was thus only logical for Vidic: For interested parties in Austria, ITM in Gleisdorf has been the exclusive sales partner for Nikon’s measurement technology since 2014.