Sansera Engineering in India manufactures components for the automotive and aerospace industries. The quality requirements for engine parts are extremely high and always pose new challenges for Sansera. For this company, highly precise coordinate measuring machines and holistic quality assurance solutions from ZEISS are the key to being a reliable partner and meeting customer specifications.
Thousands of different components must be perfectly matched to ensure that a vehicle’s engine works without a hitch. Design errors can sometimes have serious consequences. Connecting rods, for example, link the crankshaft with the pistons and transfer both the inertial and gas forces from the vehicle to the crank pins on the crankshaft, causing the connecting rod to move the pistons in the cylinder up and down. If the connecting rods are not manufactured to specification, then these can damage the crankshaft and, in the worst-case scenario, the entire engine.
In the wake of recent recalls in the automotive industry to the tune of billions of dollars and the resulting damage to the manufacturer’s image, quality assurance in the manufacturing process is becoming more and more relevant. Quality assurance plays a pivotal role at Sansera Engineering, a company that has been producing components such as connecting rods, rocker arms, gear shifter forks and crankshafts since 1987. “Engine components have particularly narrow tolerances. Our customers’ specifications are strict and, not surprisingly, they expect optimum quality. Meeting these standards requires the best metrology products and solutions,” says P.V. Sudheer, quality manager at Sansera Engineering.
Over the past 30 years, the company headquartered in Bangalore, India has become a trusted partner in the automotive industry. Today, approximately 4,500 employees work to complete orders from around the globe at the company’s sites in India. Sansera’s customers include numerous two wheeler manufacturers such as Harley Davidson, Yamaha, Ducati, Bajaj, HMSI, Mahindra, Piaggio, Hero Motor Corp., Royal Enfield, Suzuki, Triumph, MBK, Motori Minarelli, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia.
Automotive sector customers include Maruti Suzuki, Honda cars, Volkswagen, General Motors, Toyota and FCA. For the LCV and HCV segment, these include Tata Motors, Nissan Ashok Laylend, Bharat Benz, CNH and FUSO. Injection systems customers: Bosch. Recreation/off-road vehicles: Polaris.
For the past several years, Sansera has also been providing the aerospace industry with seating and cargo systems. “Ensuring component accuracy is the be all and end all in both the automotive and aerospace industries,” explains P.V. Sudheer. Sansera manufactures aerospace parts for the following companies: United Technologies, Tata Sikorsky, Wipro CCSA, Magellan, Meggitt, GKN and Boeing.
The power of a good reputation
While the company relies on 100% inspection for aerospace components, Sansera uses random sampling for the mass production automotive parts. The required tolerances are often around just three micrometers. “The requirements have continued to increase in the past years and change almost daily. That is why we needed to invest in our quality assurance department. We simply could not meet our customers’ requirements by performing manual measurements,” says P.V. Sudheer. While primarily stencils and gages were used in the past, these days highly precise measuring machines are at work. “A friend of mine from college works at ZEISS here in Bangalore. This was one reason we started looking into ZEISS measuring technology,” says S. Sekhar Vasan, founder and CMD of Sansera. “Of course we also considered ZEISS’s competitors, but we wanted cutting-edge technology and that is what we got with ZEISS. The company is a pioneer in the field of metrology and enjoys an excellent reputation both in India and the rest of the world.
Meeting customer requirements and increasing efficiency
Sansera acquired its first ZEISS measuring machine, a ZEISS PRISMO, about twelve years ago and, thanks to a few updates, the company is still using this machine. It works alongside twelve PRISMO and ACCURA coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) in the measuring lab on Sansera’s premises in Bangalore. All CMMs are supported with ZEISS CALYPSO software. “The software is a great help because it enables us to capture and document data quickly and easily as well as trace our results. The resulting quality reports are easy for our customers to understand,” says Quality Manager P.V. Sudheer. “Thanks to the metrology solutions from ZEISS, we can observe the stipulated tolerances, deliver the quality our customers expect and even increase production efficiency with faster throughput times.”
To meet the form and roughness requirements of the components, Sansera acquired their first roundness tester, the RONDCOM 55A from ZEISS. Thirteen years later, the machine is working perfectly alongside eighteen ZEISS SURFCOM, ZEISS Contourecord and ZEISS RONDCOM machines in various plants, including a ZEISS RONDCOM 60A. Sansera is extremely satisfied with the performance and reliability of the SF&G range of products.
The product itself is not enough
Yet these are not the only reasons Sansera puts its trust in ZEISS for quality assurance: “The machines are more than just a good, if also expensive, product,” says the managing director with a smile. The relative proximity of the ZEISS site in Bangalore also plays a key role, because it is only 30 minutes away from Sansera’s premises. “Of course an excellent product is important and for most people is probably the most important factor. But it is also important for us that we have a good partner on our team who is on-site quickly whenever we need them. Thus it is not just a question of the product, but also of the software, service and consultation,” says S. Sekhar Vasan. It all comes down to the entire package that Sansera requires for quality assurance. “And that is what we currently get with ZEISS,” he adds. Every time a new product or new software is ordered, a two-day training course with the particular users takes place on Sansera’s premises.
These days, Sansera manufactures around seven million connecting rods annually, and the number is expected to increase to approximately 18 million by 2018 because of a large order. “Our ongoing challenge is figuring out how to manufacture our products at a good price even as our customers’ requirements and tolerances are becoming ever stricter,” says S. Sekhar Vasan. Reliable measuring results lay the foundation for achieving this goal. To ensure that the available processes become even more efficient and the measurement data is even better organized, Sansera has expressed interest in ZEISS PiWeb quality data management software. This would allow the company to merge a multitude of measuring and inspection data from different sources and detect problems more quickly by using comprehensive evaluation possibilities. “The software solution is attractive for us. I would like to know more about it and consult with ZEISS about if and how this software could help us,” says S. Sekhar Vasan. “Who knows? Maybe we will want to strengthen our cooperation in the future. Our ultimate goal at Sansera is to offer customers optimum product quality and impress them with our quality assurance.”
Sansera Engineering Pvt. Ltd
Sansera Engineering Pvt. Ltd develops and produces precision-manufactured components for the automotive and aerospace industries. Founded in 1987, the company is headquartered in Bangalore and serves both Indian and international customers. The product portfolio comprises aerospace components such as seating and cargo systems as well as precise forged and machined automotive components such as connecting rods, rocker arms, gear shifter forks and crank shafts along with other components for heavy commercial vehicles as well as two- and three-wheelers. Today approximately 4,500 employees work at the ten Sansera Engineering sites. The established capacity of the company is 80 Million parts / annum.