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With the FaroArm Fusion, the team at Swan Turbine is now able to inspect the manufactured turbines accurately

Image: FARO Technologies

Test & Measurement Incorporating greater precision for higher productivity

Sep 1, 2016

With the need for greater precision and accuracy growing in measurements, suppliers are looking for solutions, in terms of versatile machines. An application story on the usage of a portable coordinate measuring machine by a turbine manufacturer for better reliability in measurements.

Electric power is an integral part of people’s lives today, and the power generation industry is all about harnessing & providing energy in a reliable and safe manner. Likewise, suppliers to power plants have the same expectation placed upon them, which makes precision and quality control doubly important.

Specialising in steam, gas, hydro turbines and rotators, Swan Turbine provides refurbishment, spares and services, repairs and retrofits, EPC contracts, O&M contracts as well as the re-engineering & relocation of power plants. Across Swan Turbine’s projects, measurement needs typically revolve around inspection, dimensional calculations, alignment and reverse engineering. The company’s technical excellence and certification were identified early as two critical pillars of its business. According to P Satyanarayana, Managing Director, Swan Turbine, “We endeavor to deliver components of impeccable quality to our customers and are constantly exploring ways to increase our productivity.”

Exploring ways to increase productivity

The company first invested in a German-made laser alignment system to cope with these measurement needs. While the system did serve its purpose, the team recognised that these measurements were prone to human error and were not as accurate as they would have like them to be. In addition, as newer and better technologies became available, the laser alignment system was gradually becoming insufficient for the team’s work demands. The existing equipment could not measure some of the larger objects nor provide digital data for measurement reports, which were increasingly important factors for the team.

Moreover, Swan Turbine had to outsource some of the other measurement tasks, as the process was tedious and time-consuming. This was not an ideal arrangement as the measuring services would take almost three full days, including transportation, when Swan Turbine only had two weeks to turn the project over.

As a result, when FARO first reached out to suggest an on-site product demonstration, the company was interested to find out more. “Once we saw the device in action, we realised that it would improve our production processes,” said Srinivas Gummadi, General Manager, Swan Turbine. He further added, “Outsourcing our measurement needs was tedious and time-consuming. However, our greatest area of concern was having to depend on a third party for something as basic as accuracy and precision of our products.”

A better way to acquire measurements

After observing Swan Turbine’s business and assessing its measurement requirements, FARO recommended an 8-ft FaroArm Fusion to Swan Turbine. The FaroArm is a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) that resembles a human arm in appearance. Equipped with several articulating joints, the machine is able to determine and record the location of a probe in 3D space and report the results through software.

FaroArm Fusion has a spherical working volume of approximately 2.4 m, which satisfies Swan Turbine’s object size range of 100 mm to 3 m (for each turbine blade). With the machine, the team at Swan Turbine is now able to inspect the manufactured turbines accurately, easily and quickly. With these new in-house measurement capabilities, Swan Turbine immediately managed to save precious time on transporting its products. “We now have better control of our project timelines. In fact, we are enjoying nearly 1003 time-savings since investing in the 8-ft FaroArm Fusion. With the increased productivity, we can deliver faster or make use of the time we saved elsewhere,” shared Gummadi.

A change for the better

Since investing in the machine, Swan Turbine has also enjoyed better accuracy and reliability in its measurements, eliminating human error from the equation. The device’s versatility and portability are also qualities that Swan Turbine appreciates. While the team still uses vernier calipers occasionally for simple manual measurements, FaroArm Fusion is heavily utilised for at least 8-9 hours each day across applications of alignment, inspection and testing.

Implementing the machine into its production line was a decisive change that required Swan Turbine team members to adapt. Commenting on the effectiveness of this change, Gummadi revealed, “The Fusion has impacted our production schedules. We used to take 3-4 days to inspect one to two turbines, but we are now checking 5-6 turbines within a day. The after-sales support we receive from FARO team has also made this transition easier."

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