One of the largest manufacturers of wind turbines, Moventas has invested in measuring technology from Carl Zeiss Pty Ltd to improve quality and increase overall efficiency.
In 2006, Moventas planned a new factory with the capacity to deliver thousands of planetary wheels annually. These components were previously manufactured in small batches manually and individually.
A new quality management system, which would combine all tools and processes, was therefore required for the new Ikola plant. Taisto Kymäläinen, Moventas’ quality manager and his team were tasked with conducting an in-depth analysis of internal processes as well as a price/performance comparison of all measuring machines and measuring solutions on the market.
Taisto Kymäläinen selected the CenterMax coordinate measuring machines by Carl Zeiss for the Ikola plant. Carl Zeiss was taken onboard as a solutions partner. The Ikola plant, which opened in early 2009, has far exceeded its planned production of planetary wheels.
Gear quality is a critical factor in the energy efficiency and service life of a wind turbine. Large steel blocks are first tempered before being transported to pre-machining using automated guided vehicles. A data matrix code is assigned to each part during initial machining. Following pre-machining, the gear wheels are transferred to the hardening area to provide the surfaces of the gear wheels with an extra hard shell.
Prior to grinding the hardened gears, the parts are first measured on a manually fed CenterMax directly on the shopfloor. Volume production begins once the quality is confirmed. During serial production, an automated gantry robot transports the components after grinding to the next quality inspection station equipped with another CenterMax coordinate measuring machine.
The gantry robot then moves the gear wheels to different processing stations, where the gears are cleaned and their tempered surfaces inspected using the Barkhausen noise method. This is followed by quality inspection using a CenterMax coordinate measuring machine where the heavy gear wheel is placed in a special fixture with the measurement starting automatically.
The measuring results are transmitted to a database via communication with the cell. Each part inspected by the CenterMax is first sent to a larger, automated warehouse where it waits until it is integrated into the gearbox.