The massive metal jaws close and lower themselves over a hissing blue flame. Shortly thereafter, smoke rises: brass heated to 1000 °C shoots into the cavity of the mold and solidifies. Seconds later, the tool opens and releases a rough piece of metal with a golden shimmer that falls smoldering into a basket. Extensive knowledge of all the processing steps is required to ensure that the metamorphosis from brass ingots to premium faucets proceeds smoothly and with precision. And one more thing is needed as well: ZEISS T-SCAN.
In the measuring lab, Agim Emini shows how the flexible, handheld laser scanner makes his work easier. The head of quality at KWC walks around the cast blank of a faucet and aims the laser beam of the ZEISS T-SCAN at it. "The measurement takes only a quarter of the time compared to inspection on a coordinate measuring machine," enthuses Emini.
The 32-year-old and his six-member team inspect the raw castings with particular care, "as defects in casting cause exponentially higher costs with every step in the value creation chain." After each series of 200 to 2000 cast parts, the inspection of a part with the ZEISS T-SCAN is obligatory for the top-selling cast parts.
Samples are taken as well. For a more detailed analysis, the operator imports the generated measurement data into the ZEISS CALYPSO software, which checks the dimensional, form and positional tolerances. Reporting and statistical data analysis are then completed in ZEISS PiWeb.
The objective was to reduce rework costs by 20 percent with ZEISS T-SCAN. This goal was achieved with reliable measurements and continuous, easily understandable reporting. But Emini wants to lower the scrap rate and rework costs still further.
The team reviews the scrap statistics every two weeks, discussing what can be done to optimize the defects in the corresponding areas. ZEISS T-SCAN provides the reliable base data and documents success based on the geometry and form of the parts.
Emini demonstrates just how intuitive the measurements are on an already ground and polished cast part. With just a few clicks, the ZEISS colin3D software is ready to work. When the start button is pushed, ZEISS T-SCAN reads in the three-dimensional position of millions of surface points despite reflections on the difficult surface texture.
A false-color comparison immediately shows whether the cast part is within tolerance and whether the part is over or undersized. With just a few mouse clicks, he generates a report for the coordination with the surface processing department. "It doesn't get any more intuitive than that," comments Emini.
It was precisely this intuitive reporting which proved extremely useful in the introduction of an automated grinding and polishing machine, which removes the need for manual grinding and polishing. Now, the parts are clamped to robots which automatically work them down to the correct dimensions on rapidly rotating grinding belts.
Thanks to continuous measurement with ZEISS T-SCAN and constant adjustment of the grinding parameters, the robots now work both precisely and very quickly. Because the company's own capacity still doesn't always suffice, part of the grinding work is outsourced to smaller firms. Then ZEISS T-SCAN is used for quality assurance during the incoming goods inspection.
The quality team recently purchased the ZEISS Smartzoom digital microscope. "We use the microscope to look for defects in the metal structure that are not visible or difficult to see with the naked eye," explains Michael Wage, Head of Surfaces at KWC, who is satisfied — if not downright impressed — by the microscope's performance.
Reto Wirth, Head of ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions in Switzerland, will presumably not have to wait long for the next order from Agim Emini, who is already planning to get rid of two older coordinate measuring machines and replace them with a ZEISS CONTURA. For Emini there is no alternative: "For me ZEISS is the absolute superlative in measuring technology."