Home > Carl Zeiss measuring machines ensure the precision of high-end Swiss watches

Carl Zeiss measuring machines ensure the precision of high-end Swiss watches

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article image Production line with Kern Evo coordinate milling machine for parts

Measuring technology from Carl Zeiss Pty Ltd is assisting a leading Swiss watch manufacturer, IWC ensure efficient quality assurance of their coveted high-end Swiss watches.

IWC Schaffhausen has been manufacturing exclusive watches since 1868 combining extreme precision with an exclusive design. IWC not only produces sports watches such as aviator and dive watches, but also highly complex chronometers for the Haute Horlogerie segment.

IWC relies upon the master craftsmanship of outstanding specialists with years of training as well as a sophisticated quality management system to ensure precision and perfection.

For a watch to show the exact time all the time, every one of the tiny parts must be matched geometrically perfect to each other with the tolerances for many of these dimensions being just two micrometres. The special features of an IWC watch entail additional complexity in the design, assembly and quality inspection of these fabrications.

Till the introduction of Carl Zeiss industrial metrology four years ago, IWC relied primarily on manual measurements in quality management and used various measuring gauges for the different models and sizes.

According to Dr Thomas Bregel, Associate Director of Quality at IWC, the measuring machines from Carl Zeiss deliver the precise data needed for their quality assurance activities with considerably less work than in the past.

As a growing international company that combines precision, technology, perfection and uniqueness into its products, IWC Schaffhausen has, over the course of its expansion decided to rely on a partner in quality assurance that also lives by these values, says Bregel about the partnership with Carl Zeiss.

The high demands of IWC are now reflected in an efficient quality inspection concept that covers tailored processes, suitable measuring machines, appropriate software for the configuration of the measuring programs and an intelligently structured data management system as well as experience and development expertise.

IWC has used coordinate measuring machines from Carl Zeiss since 2007 for incoming goods, initial inspection, and process and final inspection. They complement the manual testing equipment and are ideal for checking dimensions of height and boreholes.  

Carl Zeiss supplied four O-INSPECT optical-contact measuring machines in 2007 for use in the measuring labs of the two production sites in Schaffhausen and Neuhausen. The multi-sensor systems check the position and form features of different watch parts. Measurement begins at the push of a button. For a contact measurement, a stylus extends and scans the part on the basis of the specified measuring program.

The acquired data is automatically used for the statistical evaluation with O-INSPECT checking the curves and contours optically by means of an integrated camera.

Additionally, IWC has two DuraMax coordinate measuring machines in operation since 2007. Featuring a small footprint and insensitive to temperature fluctuations, these robust systems can be used directly on the shop floor and help achieve maximum measuring accuracy. The results are quickly available to production staff who can implement the corrections directly in production.

All measuring machines are programmed offline with CALYPSO software.

Key benefits for IWC from Carl Zeiss measuring machines:

  • New measuring concept increases efficiency of quality assurance while decreasing work
  • Additional information about parts helps in the correction of machine settings and tools
  • More accurate feedback on the feasibility of the parts designed to specific design need
  • Measuring results let workers know where deviations have occurred
  • Helps designers improve future designs
  • Single machine replaces multiple measuring gauges
  • Completes complex 3D measurements in just a few minutes
  • Simplifies checking the position of two boreholes for a bottom plate or the flatness of a watch part
  • Networking the machines and holistic loading and operating concept simplify machine operation
  • Web-based PiWeb quality documentation software connects the machines with all measuring results managed in a central data pool

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