The fact that human activities impact the environment has long been recognized. With world human population pushing 7 billion, sustainability as a concept is gaining much momentum. Governments, businesses and individuals are now increasingly concerned about what will be left of the world for future generations, should consumption levels continue to grow indiscriminately. The Andritz Group, headquartered in Graz, Austria, is one such corporation that has had sustainability deeply ingrained in all its business areas since its inception.
Inspecting a hydro turbine blade with a FARO Laser ScanArm on the shop floor.
A global market leader for customized plant, systems and services for hydropower, the pulp and paper, steel and other specialized industries, the Andritz Group has over 16,000 employees worldwide and is a firm believer in sustainable usage of resources. Andritz strives to be environmentally friendly, and for mankind and technology to be in perfect harmony.
In 2002, Andritz Technologies, Ltd. was established in China, with production, service and sales sites in major cities such as Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. Based in Foshan, Guangdong, Andritz Technologies China has over 1,600 employees in Mainland China.
In Foshan plant, Andritz Technologies develops and manufactures sustainable technologies that are sold to Chinese businesses throughout the country. Aside from sustainability, Andritz Technologies values and upholds principles of integrity, respect, and reliability. “Our customers’ trust in our specialized machinery and equipment is something we value deeply,” said one of Andritz Technologies’ on-site QM engineers in Foshan, China. “That is precisely why we place great importance on quality control of our systems by employing the most advanced, objective and accurate methods of measurement.”
Of the many components manufactured by Andritz Technologies in Foshan, large hydro turbines posed the most difficulty during inspection checks. “The unique and irregular shape of the turbine blade meant that customized templates had to be made so as to verify the part,” said the operator. “While it got the job done, that method proved to be rather time-consuming and costly. The alternative was to move the entire blade to separate machine dedicated for inspection, which was very labor-intensive and disruptive to the production process.”
A couple of years ago, as a result of new projects, Andritz Technologies saw the need for faster, better, and easier ways to inspect and verify its products. “The turbine blades in production were 6m wide, and it proved inefficient to continue relying on our old methods,” expressed the operator. “We needed to perform measurements at a tighter tolerance, and at a faster pace.”
FARO Laser Tracker performing iterative alignment and surface checks on the interior of a part.
After thorough research and multiple tests, the company decisively purchased two portable coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) from FARO Technologies to cater specifically to its metrology needs — the FARO Laser ScanArm for CAD-comparisons, and the FARO Laser Tracker for iterative alignments and surface checking. “The choice was obvious because FARO solutions provided true portability, allowing us the ability to perform measurements on the shop floor, in the warehouse, or even onsite,” commented the operator. “Not only does it save time and labor, this is a much more effective method that reaps authentic measurements as we don’t need to move the part off the production line.”
The introduction of FARO measurement devices to Andritz Technologies’ production lines has greatly increased the accuracy of measurements. “With FARO solutions, we can ensure sufficient allowances are present in raw materials before they undergo any form of processing,” revealed the operator. “Precision levels are high, at 0.12mm for measurements of an object 30m in size, which is a significant increase in accuracy for our products.”
In addition, the software accompanying the Laser ScanArm and Laser Tracker ranks high on user-friendliness, simplifying many difficult measurement tasks for the operator. “The computation of complex geometric tolerances and measurement of large components is now very easy!” said the operator. “The software also allows us to generate reports of each measurement session, which can be used as an accurate, objective record of our inspection checks.”
Two years on, Andritz Technologies now utilizes FARO solutions in all its business areas, and during each production stage. When asked about what the staff has to say of the measurement devices, the operator shared, “FARO solutions have become an indispensable part of our daily operations. Regardless of our job functions within the company, our staffs unanimously agree that FARO’s devices are both powerful and user-friendly. Inspection jobs that took four hours in the past now takes us only one — there’s nothing not to love about that!”
Accurate, objective reports can be generated easily with FARO software.
Evidently, FARO’s partnership has enabled Andritz Technologies to expand its capabilities. The improvement in efficiency can also be considered a better and more sustainable usage of resources, which for the Andritz Group is a top priority. “FARO solutions suited our needs so well that it’s a perfect match,” said the operator. “Enabling us to utilize resources more efficiently really helps us represent what we stand for. We are confident that this will be a long-term relationship that continues to grow.”
The ANDRITZ GROUP is a global market leader for customized plant, systems and services for hydropower, the pulp and paper, steel and other specialized industries (solid/liquid separation, feed and biofuel).
The Group is headquartered in Graz, Austria and has a staff of approx. 16,000 employees worldwide. It develops and makes its high-tech systems at production, service and sales sites all around the world.
For more information, please visit www.andritz.com.