Case Studies

FARO Laser Measurement aids Alexander Dennis Quality

FARO Laser Measurement aids Alexander Dennis Quality

FARO Laser Measurement aids Alexander Dennis Quality

Every minute of every day, in countless towns and cities around the world – including London, Hong Kong, Wellington, New York City, Vancouver and Las Vegas – Alexander Dennis buses carry more than 25,000 passengers. Travellers depend on high quality, reliable and comfortable Alexander Dennis buses as they go about their daily journeys. Routes are covered in conditions ranging from the extremes of tropical heat and humidity of the Far East to the dry heat of the Arizona desert and the intense cold of the Northern winters.

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) is the UK’s Quality leading bus and coach manufacturer. As the fastest growing bus and coach builder in Western Europe, ADL encompasses three famous and successful marques – Alexander, Dennis and Plaxton. Reflecting the company’s global reach ADL employs 2,200 people at facilities in the UK, Asia and North America.

ADL produces a wide range of innovative and fuel efficient, low floor single and double deck buses, plus a full portfolio of coaches, welfare and mini vehicles. The company has earned a global reputation as an industry innovator, particularly in low floor double deck and midi bus technology.Having pioneered these market defining concepts, ADL continues to innovate. Recent developments include being the first to market with a revolutionary hybrid drive system for both single and double deck buses, plus launching the world’s first high capacity hybrid double deck.

ADL is currently the only bus manufacturer in the world with a range of single deck, two-axle and three-axle double deck hybrid buses. ADL apply genuine breakthrough technology that is able to achieve significant fuel and CO2 savings without compromising durability and operator availability.

As a supplier of innovative, cost effective products ADL has earned a world-wide reputation for the quality of the company’s vehicles. To help preserve and further develop its stringent quality standards, ADL pursues a policy of continuous improvement. The scrupulous quality standards applied throughout the entire ADL operation are reflected in the company’s principle UK chassis manufacturing centre. Each chassis manufactured in the impressive Guilford plant undergoes meticulous dimensional inspection. As the chassis is a vehicle’s largest structural component, any small inaccuracy or miss-alignment at a given position can be significantly exaggerated in other locations.

Having identified chassis fabrication and inspection as an area where potential efficiencies and quality improvements could be made, Steve Nunn of ADL Guilford searched for a technology that would deliver the required, ease and speed of use and further improve the accuracy capability of the company’s chassis fabrication department. Having considered the alternatives, a Laser Tracker Vantage was purchased from FARO UK.

FARO Laser Tracker (ADL)

Steve explained. “Whether it is a coach or a single or double deck bus, as the chassis is the vehicles main structural component, it the basis for the vehicle’s strength and it has a fundamental, effect on the eventual build quality of the vehicle.

“To guarantee that every chassis we manufacture meets our demanding specifications, each component is held in very accurate jigs or fixtures whilst being welded. In line with our continuous improvement programme, we believed that with the use of the right equipment, we could improve this important function and speed-up the task of chassis manufacturing.

“After considering the alternative devices, we bought a FARO Laser Tracker and following an informative training session, our new FARO instrument has proven both quick and easy to use.

“In addition to setting-up and checking our welding jigs and fixtures, we also perform chassis inspection routines with the Laser Tracker and use it to inspect the components included in chassis kits that are shipped to Malaysia for assembly.

“The improvements we have achieved in the area of chassis measurement precision, brought about by our new Laser Tracker, have exceeded our expectations. Enhanced chassis accuracy means that all subsequent operations, such as the fitting of bodies and the mounting of major components such as engines, transmissions, suspension units and all other bolt-on parts is made much easier. In addition the cost of rework has being slashed.

“As a result of our expanding order book, our chassis fabrication workload continues to grow, although, as the speed or our Laser Tracker has considerably reduced the time taken to measure and assemble each chassis, we are able to handle this I increased throughput.

“As we are now able to very accurately identify specific problem areas on components, such as rails, cross-members and brackets, we can now provide meaningful feed-back. This information help ensure that all future chassis parts are supplied to us as specified.”

Alexander Dennis Ltd

FARO develops and markets portable CMMs (coordinate measuring machines) and 3D imaging devices that help solve a wide range of dimensional metrology problems.

Technology from FARO permits high-precision 3D measurement, imaging and comparison of parts and compound structures within production and quality assurance processes. The devices are used for inspecting components and assemblies, production planning, documenting large volume spaces or structures in 3D, and more.

FARO’s 3D measurement technology allows companies to maximise efficiencies and improve processes.

Previously, when choosing a laser tracker, users had to make compromises to get what they need. A solution that offers extreme portability, supreme accuracy, and shop-floor durability was simply not an option. Since its launch, FARO’s Laser Tracker Vantage has reinvented high accuracy, large volume measurement, the innovative instrument now provides all of the above features in a single cost effective package.

The FARO Laser Tracker is an extremely accurate, portable coordinate measuring machine that enables users to build products, optimise processes, and deliver solutions by measuring quickly, simply and precisely. Use of the FARO Laser Tracker allows the production of more competitive products, it accelerates improvement initiatives, and delivers high-performing products. With its high accuracy, large measurement range, and advanced features such as MultiView cameras, SmartFind target detection, TruADM, innovative packaging, and a water and dust resistant IP52 rating, the FARO Vantage provides a complete laser tracking solution.

Customers around the world now trust the FARO Laser Tracker to solve their everyday measurement challenges and to resolve their most complex inspection problems. Companies are making considerable saving by completing jobs faster, reducing downtime, eliminating costly scrap, and obtaining accurate, consistent and reportable measurement data.

Steve Nunn concluded: “Based on the time and quality advantages we expected the Laser Tracker to deliver, we anticipated a relatively quick return on investment period. As the FARO instrument has speeded-up jig and fixture measurement and chassis inspection more than we estimated, whilst enhancing our accuracy capability, we have since calculated a much shorter ROI time”.


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