Optical CMM cuts inspection time by 265 min

An optical co-ordinate measuring machine has reduced the inspection time for checking large steam turbine ‘buckets’ from 280 min to 15 min.

Toshiba GE Turbine Components (TGTC) joint venture in Yokohama Japan, which specialises in fabricating large buckets for steam turbines, recently installed a Steintek Maxos system The Maxos multi-axis, optical co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) reduced inspection time from 240 min to 15 minutes.

Steintek told manufacturingtalk that the optical CMM provided a significant time-saving benefit without causing any detrimental effects to measurement accuracy.

The buckets sizes vary from 660 to 1320mm (26 to 52in) and are supplied for steam turbine applications world-wide in nuclear, combined cycle and fossil fueled power plants.

The decision from TGTC to go with Steintek was based on the advantages of optics over tactile CMMs.

Besides the considerable time gain offered by Maxos during the inspection process, TGTC can now inspect areas that were inaccessible, such as dovetail hooks and automated measurement of weld fillets, when using tactile systems.

The flexibility, including the several available best fits, of the Win3DS blade inspection software, allowed a easy integration on the existing production process.

An important factor for TGTC was that it didn’t have to adapt its own procedures to a specific measurement machine.

President of Toshiba-GE, Tomio Kubota, said: "CMM measurement and evaluation to engineering solid model should be the minimum requirement to prove the precise machine process in state-of-art technologies".

Kubota said that during TGTC’s evaluation of the CMM market place it discovered that the Steintek system would satisfy its requests, was very flexible for integration in the company’s engineering and production processes and would measure reflective components without the need for applying a matt coating.

Trials at the Steintek HQ then proved that the machine was significantly faster than other systems that had been considered by TGTC.

Kubota commented: "The expertise and professionalism, which were evident during the trial, gave us the confidence to adopt this new technology".

President of Steintek, Eliana De Santis, said that the Maxos had continued Steintek’s tradition of best customer service through customisation and development of advanced software and hardware to satisfy the needs of accuracy and fast inspection in the production.

The Steintek CNC measuring system is an automated system, featuring the white light scanning technology.

Together with its software for measurement and evaluation of complex aerofoil sections, the system enables real-time processing and graphics display of results with automated alignment and different best-fit options.

* About TGTC – Toshiba GE Turbine Components Co, Limited is a joint venture that combines the production expertise of Toshiba and General Electric.

The two companies collaborate to specialise in large buckets for steam turbines using advanced manufacturing facilities.

TGTC has its headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.

* About Steintek – Steintek is a pioneer in optical multi-axes measurement systems, supplying truly systems for quality assurance in the workshop environment.

Steintek has headquarters in Bavaria, Germany, and distributors world wide.

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