EKO MEĐIMURJE d.d. uses the FARO devices for quality control in manufacturing. In particular, using the FARO Laser Tracker ION is used for parts alignment and saves 5 hours of production time per day on a capital intensive SHW milling machine. Many articles have been written highlighting the revolution from bricks and mortar businesses to online shopping, but this is a story of a company that developed a brick that saves mortar, and then reinvented itself to become a metal products manufacturer with a global client base. It’s a story of Croatian innovation.
The common thread in the activities of EKO MEĐIMURJE d.d. is making things better by making them simpler – that’s why they created interlocking oversized house bricks, which save clay, mortar and brick-laying effort. Besides the brick-making plant, the company also has a retail home and garden centre. But when the real estate crisis hit Europe, EKO MEĐIMURJE d.d. wasn’t caught off-guard.
Having developed their own engineering capabilities to update their brick plants, they already had relationships in other industries and an active development department working on new ideas in the area of metal work and machining. Today, EKO has renowned global players like Liebherr, Caterpillar, Wirtgen and Komatsu on their customer list.
Zoran Zdolec, Manager of electrical facilities at EKO MEĐIMURJE, explains “We use ProEngineer CAD software to design the product in accordance with the customers requirements. Then we use modern metal forming tools to create all the parts.” EKO recently invested in two FARO devices, a Laser Tracker ION and a FaroArm Fusion accompanied by FARO CAM2 Measure 10 software and three weeks of training with Filip Donlic from Teximp d.o.o.– the FARO reseller for Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. “Thanks to this investment EKO now has the latest in measuring tools for quality control and product documentation.”
Besides the documentation and quality control uses, EKO made one ROI calculation that really contributed to the investment decision. EKO has a SHW milling machine that is used for large parts. The milling head was equipped with a Renishaw measuring head. When parts were being aligned prior to machining using the Renishaw head, the machine is at a standstill and this process could take up to two hours for a very large part.
Filip Donlic was visiting the factory and saw that there is enough room on the machine table to begin alignment of a second part while the first part is still being milled. He recommended a FARO Laser Tracker ION for this process. “By overlapping the process of parts alignment and part milling, EKO is now saving around five hours of production time per day on this capital-intensive machine,” explains Donlic with satisfaction.
The FARO ION is now used to ensure that each part is perfectly aligned with the machine axis while another part is being finished. Once the milling head is free, the Renishaw can be used to collect a couple of reference points, but this only takes few minutes.
The SHW machine operators are not metrologists, and they work in pairs in three shifts. So the solution had to be very simple to learn and to use: Donlic created an in-software app in CAM2 Measure 10. Now operators can simply follow the on-screen instructions and reference points on the edges of the piece until the app approves the position that has been set.
EKO also uses a FaroArm Fusion for general quality control tasks on its own or in conjunction with the Laser Tracker ION when checking large parts or on parts where features obscure the laser line of sight.
The University François Rabelais of Tours is working on the virtual dissection of human brain fibres in the context of a multidisciplinary research project.
“The precision and speed of measurement of the FaroArm Fusion were decisive in terms of the selection of the portable CMM for the scientific team, as the digital sensor is capable of scanning more than 19,000 points per second,” noted Mr Serres, doctoral researcher at the University of Tours.
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