Case Study: Going Wireless
CNH Global (Racine, WI), component manufacturers for Case Construction Equipment, had a problem. The manufacturer of parts for tractors, transmissions, axles and valves for the farm and construction industries, was using a wired gaging station on its production line that was difficult to use in multimeasurement calculations.
"The gaging system would have required 34 wires running back to the computer," says Warren Rosik, manufacturing engineer and head of the company's quality initiative.
Rosik knew that a wireless solution was the company's best bet, so he began to look for a supplier that could help them develop an appropriate wireless solution. They found one nearby at Euro-Tech Corp. (Menomonee Falls, WI), an experienced distributor of wireless systems. After looking at the operation and the available offerings, Rosik settled on the Mesas Infrared Wireless Measurement System that is produced by the German-based company Mesa GmBH. One example of its use is in transmission construction. The infrared system takes a signal from multiple LVDTs and calculates averages and gives a reading for shimming bearings in a transmission.
"The transmission has multiple gaging requirements and it eliminates the need to hard wire LVDTs to the control," Rosik says. "This allowed us more process flexibility and less problems associated with wired connections."
To implement the product, gage heads and masters had to be adapted to a wireless system with battery charger hookups. The biggest challenge was determining bearing stiffness constants and incorporating those in the calculations for determining shim thickness.
"The rest was simple," says Rosik. "The I-R (infrared) transmission units simply mounted to each gage and the computer was outfitted with a receiving unit. Each transducer has its own electronic address that transmits the gage reading. The system functions just like a wired system would."
The company saw several benefits within the first six months of operation. Maintenance requirements and cycle times were reduced and the gages were easier to use because of their "portability," Rosik says.
"Without being encumbered by wires, the whole system is much cleaner and easier to use," he adds. "This system is good when multiple measurements and calculations are required. It also is a great assistance to no longer worry about wire breakage on the large number of transducers used in the electronic gaging systems."
• Wired gaging limited gage location and was difficult to use in multimeasurement calculations. The gaging system would have required 34 wires running back to the computer.
• By using infrared communications, the system is now completely wireless. The units are mounted to each gage and the computer is outfitted with a receiving unit.
• Maintenance requirements and cycle times were reduced. And, the portability of the gaging made it easier to use.