Weir Minerals Europe, part of the Weir Group PLC, is a leader in the provision of mill circuit technology and services, as well as the market leader in slurry handling equipment for abrasive, high wear applications. The company’s products are used in the mining, oil and gas and general industrial applications.
Weir have an established reputation around the globe for its superior quality products. To ensure the company maintains its reputation, Weir Minerals administer a stringent quality regime and make regular investments in the best available quality control equipment. At Weir Minerals’ production facility in Todmorden, Lancashire, products are manufactured that can be over 4 metres in diameter. Given the demanding accuracy requirements of the company’s Warman® slurry pumps product range, consistently maintaining levels of precision over such large dimensions proved to be time consuming.
The ideal answer to Weir Minerals Europe’s large capacity / high accuracy metrology needs was found in a FARO Titanium Measuring Arm with an 8ft capacity. The use of the precise, yet portable, Measuring Arm meant that rather than carry out the slow, laborious removal of a large, heavy component from a machine tool with the company’s overhead crane, then transporting it to a fixed Coordinate Measuring Machine for an in-process measurement routine, the use of the Titanium Measuring Arm meant that accurate measurements could be made whilst the company’s products were still located on the machine tool. Not only did this new method slash inspection times whilst delivering the required levels of precision, the difficulties associated with disturbing large components’ set-ups, then returning them to the machine tool for further operations, were brought to an end.
The success of Weir Minerals’ original FARO Arm meant that, as the company introduced even larger products, a second 12ft capacity FARO Quantum Measuring Arm was soon purchased. To complement the company’s FARO tactile probing products, and to provide additional inspection capabilities, Weir Minerals has also invested in non-contact FARO scanning devices. As recent increased levels of production had the potential to place a strain on the company’s existing inspection provision, two FARO Arms were purchased.
Andrew Horsfall, Quality Supervisor at Weir Minerals Europe, explained: “Weir Minerals products are used in demanding, abrasive areas such as slurry transportation and mineral processing plants, and includes market leading products such as Warman® and GEHO® pumps, Cavex® hydrocyclones and Linatex® rubber products. Our expertise lies is in the delivery of excellent wear resistant engineered products and our products have a reputation for delivering outstanding reliability and longevity. To uphold our hard-won reputation for the quality and long-lasting nature of our products, we oversee a strict quality system, in addition to in-process quality checks being made at each stage of manufacture, on completion each product undergoes a comprehensive final inspection routine.
“Before our use of FARO products, although our large, fixed CMM had the capacity and the accuracy specification to enable it to undertake the inspection of all of our products, we were aware of the time being spent in removing large, heavy products from machine tools mid-cycle to allow the necessary in-process dimensional checks to be made. Having searched for a suitably precise, portable means of inspecting large products whilst still on our machine tools, we witnessed several system demonstrations. As we were extremely impressed with the precision, speed and portability provided by the FARO Titanium Measuring Arm, we were happy to place an order.
“Following a brief training course, the simplicity of our new Measuring Arm’s controls and the logical nature of FARO’s software meant that I soon became proficient in the system’s use. I was then able to train my colleagues in the Measuring Arms operation.
“The use of our first FARO Measuring Arm was a real game changer, it meant that the need to remove large components from machine tools for in-process inspection, then to replace them for further machining, was completely eliminated. Our new inspection method also removed the problem of interrupting a component’s set-up in the machine tool, then attempting to return it to the same position. In addition to enabling us to consistently achieve our demanding dimensional tolerances, the use of our original FARO Arm allowed us to significantly reduce our production cycle times across our range of larger products.
“The success of our first FARO Titanium soon resulted in the purchase of several further FARO Arms and also two FARO non-contact laser scanning devices. We now have a FARO inventory of six devices. The speed, accuracy and portability of FARO products mean that they are now the mainstay of our inspection department.”
FARO’s comprehensive range of 3D measurement hardware and software products provides users with turnkey solutions for manual and automated inspection and actionable analysis of any part, component or final assembly. Throughout the world FARO’s flexible products help to streamline tasks and maximize efficiencies across manufacturing processes.
FARO’s range of portable CMM solutions include Measuring Arms, Trackers and Imagers, each representing robust, accurate solutions for precise measurement or inspection in industrial or manufacturing environments.
Andrew Horsfall concluded: “Although at Weir Minerals we enjoy a reputation throughout the world for the premium quality and durability of our products, as we operate across several fiercely competitive global sectors, our aim is to always deliver superior products at a cost-effective price. As the efficiency of our production and inspection operations has a major bearing on our competitiveness, our use of FARO products has made a significant contribution in this critical area.”