Digitally Integrated Surface Finish and CMM Measurements

At its Steyr site, ZF uses mobile surface measuring instruments from ACCRETECH’s HANDYSURF+ series for first part approval in metrology – Data is logged in the ZEISS Calypso metrology software together with dimensional measurement data of the components taken from ZEISS coordinate measuring machines. This End-to-end digital solution ensures convenient data management, traceability and process stability at ZF.

ZF Steyr has seen an increasing trend in surface roughness requirements.

ZF’s Steyr site is part of the Industrial Technology Division and, with around 560 employees, primarily produces components for agricultural machinery, construction machinery, forklift transmissions, and automotive components. Gearbox housings, gear wheels and shafts are machined on modern machine tools with stringent requirements in terms of dimensional accuracy and surface roughness.

“We have a very high number of different parts. And almost every one of these components has its own specific surface quality requirements,” emphasizes Michael Nief, Team Manager Quality at ZF in Steyr. “In this regard, it’s important that the various specifications for the surface of a component must be checked in a flexible manner.”

ZF Steyr has seen an increasing trend in surface roughness requirements over the last few years. Here, the tolerances and specifications are becoming tighter, and the demands placed on metrology more complex. In agricultural vehicles, similar to passenger cars, there is an increasing focus on the acoustics. Rough mechanical surfaces on moving components can cause cabin noise, and must be eliminated. This enhances comfort when driving. In addition, the service life of the components can be extended via the surface quality. If the surface roughness of mechanical components is not correct, problems with oil retention or poor lubrication flow could culminate in problems such as premature wear or gearbox failures.

Time-Consuming and Laborious Previous Solution

All data is automated and neatly put together in the measurement report.

In the past, ZF in Steyr used special hand-held surface measuring instruments to test all components for specified surface parameters prior to first part approval for the release of production. However, the measurement technicians first had to print out the measurement values and then assign them to the individual measuring points on the components for which dimensional measurements were taken on the coordinate measuring machines. “That was time-consuming and laborious,” Nief recalls. As ZF in Steyr has high quality assurance standards, also with regard to its own processes and procedures, the team was not satisfied with the solution as a long-term solution.

For this reason, the ZF Steyr team was thrilled to learn from ACCRETECH at the Control trade fair that ACCRETECH was collaborating with ZEISS on an interface that can be used to connect the mobile surface measuring instruments of the HANDYSURF+ series with ZEISS coordinate measuring machines or ZEISS Calypso metrology software. This interface is now supplied as standard with every HANDYSURF+.

Soon after the trade fair, ZF had the chance to try out the solution in Steyr. The quality assurance team were impressed by the solution and ZF decided to invest in three HANDYSURF + units. One expert from ACCRETECH and ZEISS respectively were present on site for implementation and training purposes. They used a measuring instrument to demonstrate how the connection works, which meant that the employees on site were able connect the other two HANDYSURF+ units to ZEISS Calypso themselves giving a simple yet effective solution

All three HANDYSURF+ units have been in use in Steyr for a few months now in the main measuring room with its three ZEISS coordinate measuring machines. Each surface measuring instrument is used about three to four times a day on average.

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