Article by: Masashi Sato and Hironori Kojima
Published by: Quality Digest Magazine
The main plant of Hitachi Engineering and Services (HES) has produced pipe spools for large-scale plants. The spools have complicated shapes and are made of various types of materials. High accuracy and throughput are required during the spools’ fabrication process. Because they are difficult to automate, the bending, assembling, and welding processes in particular require skilled, experienced workers. In its final form, the assembled pipe spool is shipped as one unit.
In recent years, power-generating and chemical plants have grown larger. The pipe spools for these plants have also increased in size, and their shapes have become complicated. It is increasingly difficult for even skilled workers at pipe production facilities to perform accurate dimensional inspection and data gathering. Nevertheless, quality control and productivity requirements mean that these measurements must be done in a short time period.
To address this problem, HES has introduced a noncontact, precision 3D laser radar (LR) measurement system from Nikon Metrology. This has enabled both an efficient, shorter production process and improved accuracy of the pipe spools’ shape through dimensional inspection and scribing.