Portable measurement technology at Weir Minerals

Measuring arms and non-contact laser scanners help to streamline production at Weir Group company

Posted on 30 Jul 2018 and read 644 times
Portable measurement technology at Weir MineralsWeir Minerals Europe (part of the Weir Group plc) is a leader in the provision of ‘mill circuit technology’ and services, as well as a market leader in slurry-handling equipment for abrasive high-wear applications.

The firm’s products are used in mining, oil and gas and general industrial applications.

Weir Minerals has established a global reputation for the high quality of its products; to maintain this reputation, the company enforces a stringent quality regime and makes regular investments in what it considers to be the best-available quality control equipment.

At the company’s production facility in Todmorden, all products are made to demanding levels of accuracy, but confirming that accuracy on large products such as slurry pumps over 4m in diameter used to be a time-consuming task.

Weir Minerals found the solution to this problem in a Faro Titanium portable measuring arm with an 8ft capacity, supplied by Rugby-based Faro Technologies UK Ltd (www.faro.com).

Rather than removing a large heavy component from a machine tool and transporting it via overhead crane to a co-ordinate measuring machine, accurate measurements could be made while the part remains fixtured on the machine tool.

Multiple benefits

The use of the measuring arm not only slashed inspection times, while delivering the required levels of precision, but also eliminated the difficulties associated with having to re-establish datums when a part returns to the machine tool.

The success of Weir Minerals’ first Faro measuring arm meant that when the company introduced even larger products, a second arm — a Faro Quantum with a 12ft measuring capacity — was purchased.

These were followed by two Faro non-contact laser scanning devices — and by more measuring arms to accommodate increased levels of production.

Quality supervisor Andrew Horsfall said: “The Weir Minerals items that are used in demanding abrasive applications, such as slurry transportation and mineral processing, include Warman and GEHO pumps, Cavex hydrocyclones and Linatex rubber products.

“Our expertise lies is in the delivery of excellent wear-resistant products that have a reputation for outstanding reliability and longevity.

“As well as applying in-process quality checks at each stage of manufacture, each product undergoes a comprehensive inspection on completion.

“Although our large fixed CMM had the capacity and the accuracy required to undertake the inspection of all of our products, we were all too aware of the time being spent removing large products from machine tools mid-cycle for the necessary in-process dimensional checks to be made.

“Having searched for a suitably precise and portable means of inspecting large products while still on our machine tools, we saw a number of systems demonstrated, but we were particularly impressed with the precision, speed and portability of the Faro Titanium measuring arm, and we were happy to place an order.

“Following a brief training course, I was soon proficient in the system’s use; I was then able to train my colleagues in its operation.

“The success of our first Faro Titanium soon resulted in the purchase of several further Faro arms — and two Faro non-contact laser scanning devices.

“We now have six Faro devices; their speed, accuracy and portability mean that they are the mainstay of our inspection department.”

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