SuperAlloy Industrial Company Ltd (SAI) was facing the challenge to enhance product quality and reduce the amount of rework and corrections during processing to ensure high quality levels. As a solution, it opted for Renishaw's probing solutions to deliver in-process measurement control and real-time data feedback.
The automotive industry is fiercely competitive. Tier-one car manufacturers are constantly looking for breakthroughs in areas such as performance, safety and innovative design, all of which places ever stricter requirements on the processing of metal components.
SuperAlloy Industrial Company Ltd (SAI) is a supplier of high-quality lightweight forged metal products. The forged wheel and car chassis components SAI produce are used by the world's top car manufacturers that demand specialised technologies and services, including some of the world's top-tier car makers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, VW, Porsche, Ferrari, Ducati, Bentley, Audi, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, GM and Honda, thanks to the company's insistence on premium quality and precision manufacturing. Renishaw machine tool probe systems, including the OLP40, RMP60, OMP60, and the NC4, are a perfect match for SAI, allowing SAI, assisted by Renishaw, to make great progress on the route to high end precision manufacturing.
SAI's relationship with Renishaw began with CMM measurement. Dr Henry Shih, CEO of SAI, explains, “When we entered the European market in 2008, we realised that our high-end car manufacturer clients' quality, dimensional stability and precision requirements for metal products were extremely high. While our equipment at the time was able to meet their volume requirements, we needed to enhance product quality and reduce the amount of rework and corrections during processing so as to achieve high quality levels.”
He adds, “Through Renishaw, we discovered machine tool probe measurement solutions that could deliver in-process measurement control and real-time data feedback on our existing CNC machines, thereby providing effective precision manufacturing control. This was a massive help in terms of increasing production efficiency and precision.”
In order to increase production precision and reduce scrap, SAI equipped the relevant lathes with Renishaw OLP40 touch probes, which use optical signal transmission and are adapted for turning processes. The CNC milling machines were equipped with RMP60 machine tool probes which use wireless radio transmission to measure workpiece position and reference height, as well as providing in-line key dimension detection, thereby increasing production performance.
Y C Kao, Senior Manager of SAI's Wheel Production Department, explains, “The automated workpiece setup enabled by Renishaw machine tool probes allows us to ensure that the cutting dimensions remain stable and consistent when we are producing wheel rims, as well as effectively reducing human error. For example, the air valve hole cutting thickness Process Capability Index (CPK) rose from 0.71-1.13 to 1.35-1.43 when using Renishaw machine tool probes.”
OLP40 probes allow SAI to carry out in-process measurement control to achieve tolerance of less than .0.02 mm, and can replace human measurements and updates to workpiece coordinates. This greatly improves cutting and efficiency for surface precision processing after coating. Even more importantly, it reduces rework by 80 per cent, as before the introduction of in-line measurement systems wheel production generally had to be processed twice to achieve the necessary precision. When combined with Renishaw software, the probes not only play a role in guidance during production, but also provide in-process control and real-time feedback, immediately updating and correcting data during metal cutting, and efficiently monitoring and controlling dimensions and deformations.
Renishaw machine tool probe systems have allowed SAI to increase production precision and product quality, while also reducing scrap from 2-3 per cent to 0 per cent, and improving production efficiency.
Unlike wheel rim production, chassis production tends to involve high volume and lower diversity, but nevertheless still requires high-precision metal cutting and processing. Renishaw OMP60 optical machine tool touch probes use advanced modulated optical transmission to provide 360° signal transmission. The probe simplifies measurement and calibration processes, thereby achieving high-precision measurement for workpieces with complex profiles. The NC4 uses innovative laser technology to perform high-speed, high-precision measurement of cutting tools as small as 0.2 mm, and to perform tool breakage detection on cutting tools as small as 0.1 mm. Its non-contact method avoids the potential for causing wear or damage of cutting tools.
Production times for car chassis are relatively short, and can generally be kept within 20-25 minutes. Renishaw machine tool probe systems provide the operator with turnkey solutions for real-time positioning and measurement, and in-process control measurement, helping to further automate production processes.