ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a leading worldwide manufacturer of gear transmissions, and developer and producer of technologies for drive-line and chassis technology. The complex gear transmission casings for commercial vehicles are made of aluminium using the method of pressure die-casting.
Based on the casing created in the CAD system, die-casting moulds are produced to serve as shaping moulds for the casing components. In order to ensure consistent quality of the parts, the adherence to the predefined tolerances has to be continuously verified.
Aicon’s high-resolution 3D scanners offer the ideal solution for quality assurance in the areas of first sample inspection or serial production. The application range stretches from laboratory measurements to automated process solutions in the factory environment.
Various tasks – one technology
The inspection tasks at ZF are versatile. For the required quality in the prototype phase, precise three-dimensional data is needed for first sample inspection. The aim: the highest level of rigidity of the gear transmission casing, while using a balanced material input.
During serial production, precision is of key importance to maintain the quality standard. The casing is inspected for contour accuracy and the surface for damages and deformations. A special inspection parameter is wall thickness, which has to be of optimum proportion with regard to stability and quantity of material.
Finally, the tools used in the production process are regularly inspected for signs of wear and tear in order to avoid inferior product quality.
All inspection processes can either be carried out manually, on a turntable, or automated in combination with a robot (serial inspection).
How does it work?
The individual scans are generated, aligned and merged into a uniform polygon mesh with the Optocat software. The generated data is imported into the inspection software in order to assess the geometries of the measuring object.
If the CAD tool data is already available, it is directly loaded as reference. The measured deviations between target and actual status are visualised in a false colour map. The measuring results can be directly interpreted and immediately used for the optimisation of the die mould tool or the process parameters. This maintains a consistent efficiency even under demanding circumstances, and in the end ensures the production of high quality gear transmission casings.
Scanning in a new dimension
Compared to non-optical coordinate measurement technology, Aicon’s 3D scanners allow for a much easier and faster evaluation of the measuring result, particularly of freeform surfaces. Furthermore, the user is provided with a much more comprehensive database for subsequent processing, which significantly reduces the time-to-market-cycle.
The latest innovation in 3D scanning, the stereoSCAN neo, opens completely new opportunities for the user. The SWYM-technology (See What You Measure) visualises measuring results directly on the object. For the first time, it is possible to measure and display deviations of the component surface quickly and precisely. Corrections on the object can be carried out directly. Even in inspection tasks, deviations can be visualised and problems solved immediately.