Quality is everything at water jet cutting machine manufacturer Stein-Moser. Therefore a highly efficient Leica Absolute Tracker is used during the assembly and checking of the machines.
Handling pressure is part of everyday working life in Bischofshofen, Austria. Stein-Moser GmbH, which started life as a stonemasonry business, is now a leading manufacturer of waterjet cutting machines. These machines cut a variety of materials such as metal, glass, ceramics, stone or composites, delivering up to 6 litres of water per minute at a pressure of up to 4000 bar through the cutting head – the pressure is about 450 times higher than a professional espresso machine.
Stein-Moser GmbH places great emphasis on the high quality, ease of operation, efficiency and value for money of its products. To ensure the quality of its machines, Stein-Moser relies on superior components from selected suppliers. During the manufacture of a new machine, the cutting head is accurately measured and adjusted with the help of a Leica Absolute Tracker AT401 from Hexagon Metrology.
Accurate Measurement: A Competitive Advantage
“The accurate measurement of the cutting head provides us with a competitive advantage,” says Managing Director Jürgen Moser. “By their very nature, accurately measured machines ultimately mean our customers manufacture a better quality component. To be known for quality is hugely important to us, especially nowadays when the range of applications for waterjet technology is expanding and our machines are in great demand. Therefore we supply measurement reports with all our machines.”
At Stein-Moser, the Leica Absolute Tracker AT401 replaces conventional measuring equipment such as dial gauges. “We were looking for a modern system that would speed up our measuring processes and provide more accurate measurements. At the same time, our new measuring system had to be portable and easy for our technicians to learn to operate,” says Jürgen Moser. “It did not take us very long to decide on the AT401. Four technicians perform measurements here using the tracker. They do it twice as fast as they did before.
Tracker Measurements: The Moment of Truth
During the assembly of a cutting machine, the laser tracker measures various positions of a mirrored reflector sphere mounted on the cutting head. The laser tracker continuously follows this reflector sphere and determines its 3D coordinates. At SteinMoser, the instrument has to take measurements over a distance of up to 12 m – no problem for the Leica Absolute Tracker AT401, which has a typical range of 160 m. The AT401 is protected to IP54 standard against dust and water, which makes it extremely suitable for its role at Stein-Moser – taking measurements in a production environment. Using the laser beam, which creates the link between the tracker and the reflector sphere, is easy to master: the AT401 has “PowerLock” technology to guide the laser beam automatically to the reflector – without needing any intervention from the user.
First, the technicians at Stein-Moser measure various points at 50 cm centres along the horizontal guide rail of the cutting machine. Then the angle setting is checked. If all the values are within the specified tolerances, then further measurements are taken of various points along the X and Y axes of the machine. In the case of cutting heads that move in relation to 5 axes, Stein-Moser also measures whether the axes are aligned correctly with respect to one another – an application that would be impossible without a 3D measuring instrument. These measurements ensure that only perfectly set-up machines are allowed to leave the Stein-Moser factory. “The tracker speaks the truth,” says Andreas Obermoser, one of the technicians who use the AT401 daily. “These measurements are our last chance for us to spot, for example, that there is something not quite right with the guide rail. This can also be instructive for the earlier steps in production.”
The AT401 Goes With You
The portability of the Leica Absolute Tracker AT401 means it can also be used on site at the premises of Stein-Moser customers by our service technicians. “If a wear part has to be replaced, we can remeasure right there on the customer’s production floor. And the tracker comes along with us,” says Jürgen Moser. “The accuracy of the AT401 is without doubt our greatest advantage. But the quality and reliability of the results are also a great help to us,” says Moser. “Together with the training and good service offered by Hexagon Metrology Austria, the tracker system provides us with a seamless solution.”