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Portable Spindle Control System Measures Axial and Radial Run-Out

The Blum-Novotest PSC (Portable Spindle Control) system allow companies to inspect the spindles for all machines in a shop with one portable laser system. The PSC is a compact, easy to use system, allowing users to monitor an unlimited number of motor spindles in a facility. Measure axial and radial run-out, run a vibration analysis or check the stability of a machine spindle directly on a computer with this portable device.

“The spindle must turn” – as simple as the motto of Marco Popp, Managing Director of kptec service gmbh, sounds, there is really a lot behind it. The company repairs, overhauls and tests machine tool machining spindles. The goal of the spindle service from Schorndorf near Stuttgart, Germany, is to keep customer downtime as short as possible. When analysing and diagnosing spindles prior to disassembly, kptec uses the Portable Spindle Control (PSC) mobile spindle monitoring solution from Blum-Novotest.

A very important aspect in the field of spindle service is the inspection of installed spindles. If a company notices that a machine is no longer achieving the usual precision or that surfaces are not being machined to the required quality, kptec service must first check where the problem lies. Until now, users only had the option of inserting a measuring head into the spindle and manually recording the spindle deviations using a dial gauge. Since this measurement is done using contact and not at working speed, this is of course less meaningful in practice. In addition, the conditions on a spindle change greatly with speed and runtime. For example, the preload in the bearing assemblies varies throughout the speed range, the spindle heats up and expands – all these changes have a big impact during operation, which cannot be recorded and taken into account with manual measurements.

With Portable SpindleControl (PSC) from BLUM, the kptec service company relies on a transportable, highly intelligent solution that enables measurement on the rotating spindle and in all operating states. The PSC system, housed in a handy carrying case, consists of a laser measurement system fastened to the machine processing table with a magnetic holder, an interface unit and the LC-VISION PSC software, which runs on a connected laptop. For measurement, the machine operator positions the spindle with a reference tool clamped in the laser beam of the measuring system and starts a small NC program, based on which the machine runs through the previously defined speed stages. Parallel to the measurement, the software installed on the PC evaluates the measurement data and visualizes it on the laptop screen.

The first measurement is usually a stability measurement. This is followed by a run-out measurement throughout the entire speed range, during which the axial run-out and radial run-out are precisely measured and documented. Vibration analysis and parameter measurements are then performed, including recording of various vibrations within the spindle bearings. For an operation at a well-known automotive supplier, kptec service was able to use the PSC to show that one of the two spindles on a machining centre with a double spindle was worn out, resulting in expensive scrap and incorrect machining.

“A huge advantage for us are the graphical visualisations which the LC-VISION PSC software uses to display the measurement results. The very precise non-contact measurements also make it possible to detect problems connected to the spindle that, strictly speaking, have nothing to do with it”, explains Marco Popp. “For example, these could be worn-out ball screws or machine guideways because the same parts were manufactured on the machine for years and the sliding unit always moved in the same places. As a plug & play solution that does not require connection to the machine controller or any associated PLC adjustments for operation, the PSC is especially useful in mobile applications”. This is another reason why kptec service is now in a position to offer customers new services that were not possible before.

As one of the first users of the system, kptec was initially able to incorporate some suggestions for improvement from the field into the development of the PSC. Blum-Novotest also considers the collaboration with kptec service very successful and efficient for both sides. In addition, the measuring and testing technology specialist is very proud of the PSC because the system combines the expertise of the three business divisions of measuring components, measuring machines and testing technology for the first time. Marco Popp also draws a positive conclusion: “We can provide our customers with the best possible support and make sure that the spindles turn. After all, we are not just talking about a spindle worth 35,000 Euros or more, but about even more expensive machining centres that, in the worst-case scenario, can come to a standstill and the associated loss of production, which is often even more expensive. With Portable SpindleControl, we help customers be able to rely on their machines at all times”.

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