Traffic is never perfect. But at least the bus you’re on will be.
With bus schedule and route tracking apps for your smartphone, public transportation is getting smarter all the time. The manufacturing of buses is looking quite intelligent too, thanks to the influence Exact Metrology is having on how one company measures hundreds of locator points on a critical fixture.
A bus may not seem like a sophisticated vehicle, but in reality, there is a science to bringing together a wide range of parts with the utmost accuracy.
For our latest project, a major bus manufacturer needed to ensure the major pieces – the sides and roof of their buses – would be welded through what had to be a seamless operation.
Every part is an 800-piece puzzle.
Each time it builds a new bus model, this bus manufacturer faces the daunting task of ensuring that over 800 locators on a single plate are in their proper place so that steel tubing can be put through these fixtures. Once the steel is in place, a welder can join all the points where the steel meets.
Of course, it’s confirming that all points are held to within a 0.030” tolerance that provides the biggest challenge by far.
That’s when Black Hawk Tooling, the pattern shop responsible for the machining of the moldings, prototypes and fixtures involved with this project, reached out to our engineers at Exact Metrology.
To help simplify what was an otherwise very complex process, we approached the hundreds of different locators with a hand-held T-Probe connected to a Leica AT901 Laser Tracker.
This walkaround CMM is ideal for measuring a large area of up to 160 meters with a cloud of data points. Obviously, 800 locators in close proximity to one another can result in some areas of measurement that are harder to reach. But when a T-Probe is added to the Leica, these areas become much easier to access. The system adjusts for varying conditions in the measurement environment and can record as many as 3,000 readings per second.
The Leica is often utilized for its high level of accuracy during these types of projects:
- Equipment or Machine Layout
- Part Validation
- Part Mating
- Reverse Engineering
Exact measurement? There’s an app for that.
Rather than running back and forth between the locators and Leica Laser Tracker, we had the portability of bringing a 3D metrology session right to the palm of our hands while measuring on the production floor.
How? It’s an iPhone/iPad app called the Talisman from Polyworks. This app works as a remote control to let us configure our probing devices so that the dimensions taken on the shop floor link back to the original blueprints, ensuring the intended drawing matches with reality. This allows Exact Metrology’s engineers to get smart visual guidance right next to the parts we’re measuring.
Naturally, every manufacturer is concerned with maintaining total confidentiality of proprietary CAD data. Fortunately, the PolyWorks/Talisman keeps valuable communication encrypted and allows network administrators to restrict usage of the app just to a predefined list of device IDs. The app does not connect to the Internet or any computer.
If you have a large assembly project that entails hundreds or thousands of points that need to be in perfect sync, talk to Exact Metrology to see how our work with technology like a Leica AT901 can transport you to your highest point of efficiency yet.