Wheels to a car are as water to a ship – the latter in each set cannot do without the former. The importance of car tires cannot be undermined, as its quality directly affects the driving performance and the driver’s safety. Moreover, as car owners seek out cool wheel rims as a form of aesthetic enhancement for their cars, manufacturers of car accessories have found it important to explore novel ways to develop visually stunning wheel designs of higher caliber.
Since its establishment, Tianjin Nano Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd (Nano) has provided its expertise and services in wheel accessories production to prominent car manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Ford, and Volvo. The company’s in-house innovation of ‘liquid-forged wheels’ fulfilled the Chinese market’s need for aluminum alloy truck wheels. Internally, in order to uphold quality processes, Nano decided to invest in a 3D measurement device – the FARO Edge ScanArm.
It was through other industrial manufacturers that Nano learnt about FARO. Mr. Xiao Hai Long, Quality Technical Engineer at Nano, explained, “Once we had a better understanding of FARO’s metrology solutions, we realized that the Edge can fully support Nano’s current and future business needs. Capable of performing both point-to-point coordinate and scan measurements, the user-friendly device fits our requirements perfectly. The FARO Edge’s portability also means that accurate measurements can be obtained quickly, simply by deploying the device directly next to our product, which has led to significant time-savings.”
Previously, Nano relied on fixed coordinate measurement machines (CMM) for its inspection needs. Initial investments for fixed CMMs are relatively higher, as these devices require a large floor space in a dedicated room for controlled humidity levels. Additionally, as fixed CMMs have to be pre-programmed to take measurements, the machines are therefore not as flexible as compared to portable measuring equipment. Since adopting FARO’s measurement device, Nano has decommissioned one of its existing fixed CMMs.
Non-contact Measurement on wheel spokes with ScanArm.
It all begins with the hub mold. A hub mold of superior quality can positively impact the quality of a wheel hub bearing unit. A wheel hub bearing is an important part of a car’s wheel assembly, and is critical for high wheel performance. To ensure high hub mold quality, the Edge is used to inspect the hub molds and to support the reverse engineering process in the development of new products.
Hub molds are typically large in size and heavy in weight, so moving these molds can be a laborious, time-consuming, and risky activity. With the FARO Edge, Nano can now simply install the portable CMM next to the components for measurements. This makes the task of acquiring measurement much easier, and significantly improves work productivity.
Two of the most important quality standards that hub molds are measured against are its concentricity and the flatness of the rim, as both factors impact the dynamic balance of a wheel. To ensure concentricity, the operator can use the FARO Edge’s hardware probe to check specific measurement points directly. On the other hand, rim flatness can be verified by using the device’s scanning feature to capture the entire wheel surface. The data collected with the FARO Edge can then be compared with existing computer-aided design (CAD) models of the mold. This allows Nano to check if the mold is accurate and within tolerance, and to then determine if corrections are required.
Scanning the wheel surface with the FARO Edge ScanArm’s non-contact measurement capabilities.
In addition to using the FARO Edge for routine parts inspection of its hub molds, Nano also utilizes the device to support quality testing on its latest innovation – the liquid-forged wheel. Mr. Xiao shared, “As Nano was the first domestic manufacturer to push for liquid-forged wheels in consumer vehicles, the market at large had its reservations about the quality of our innovation. With the FARO Edge, we are able to provide our customers with complete scans of the wheels and exhibit full disclosure on our tolerance control.”
Nano plans to make full use of these comprehensive, graphic reports in its dealings with customers, and it is confident of providing customers with greater levels of assurance and satisfaction.
Tianjin Nano Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd specializes in manufacturing aluminum alloy wheels for commercial vehicles. The company’s products are certified by both STL and DKI from the United States, as well as by the China Quality Certification Centre. For a long time now, the company has supplied wheel accessories to renowned car manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Ford, and Volvo. With Nano, liquid-forged aluminum alloy truck wheels are now available to the Chinese market.
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