Forced into success

The repair of a defective probe was rejected, resulting in the selection of m&h, part of the Hexagon Group, as a new supplier. This was a stroke of luck, as it considerably reduced costs and the famous Swiss precision and reliability now rules.

Ray-Naenikon-2Nänikon-based Swiss company Ray AG is primarily known in Germany for its retrofit, high-frequency grinding spindles. Ray grinding spindles can be used on milling machines and even coordinate grinding operations and internal grinding tasks, which is why many companies use them as additional equipment, often on old machines.

Perhaps less well known is the second pillar of Ray AG as a contractor for turning, milling, drilling and grinding individual parts and small series for prototypes, components and fully assembled systems. Its contracting clients mostly come from the automotive industry and its suppliers, energy production, pump construction and general engineering.

Ray-Naenikon-3Where precision manufacturing is carried out, measuring is part of the everyday, self-evident operations carried out before, during and after production. This is why Ray AG’s machining centres were already equipped with probes, but they were not only expensive to use due to the special batteries required, but also extremely likely to require repairs. Furthermore, liquid was penetrating the probe again and again. Although custom replacement parts helped to reduce occasional long waiting times for repairs, they did not remedy the problems for the long term. To top it all, at some point, the probe manufacturer refused repairs and recommended the purchase of a new machine with reference to the machine manufacturer. “We looked at the situation and quickly decided that there was clearly a better solution on the market”, Andi Baumann, Production Manager at Ray AG, explains its previous situation. “In a sense, we were forced into success.” m&h was selected for both technical and commercial reasons. “Finally, we can use standard batteries, and we haven’t had any leaks since the changeover”, exclaim the Ray AG representatives of the m&h probes. “The m&h probes have not yet needed any repairs, whereas the previous models were becoming ever more unreliable. And it was getting expensive”, explains Andi Baumann. This is a considerable difference when you consider that the first m&h probe has been used at Ray on a daily basis since 2007.

In the meantime, the m&h probe even replaced others. The latest probe at Ray AG was a new generation IRP25.50. As with previous models, the data transfer of this probe works via infrared signals, which now has improved HDR+ (high data range plus) transfer technology thanks to new electronics. This ensures process reliability and makes sure that no interference signals or external influences stop the machine unintentionally or lead to false results. Despite increased transmission power, the new electronics use considerably less energy, which hugely boosts the battery life. This is something that Ray AG was extremely pleased to witness.
The m&h probes have not yet needed any repairs, whereas the previous models were becoming ever more unreliable. And it was getting expensive.The probes are modular in structure and can be adapted to any machining task by extending them or using another measuring unit. The measuring unit is simply unscrewed and standard 25 mm-diameter extensions are screwed on. The measuring unit screwed back on to the extensions is close to the measurement site when measuring components or cavities and ensures our usual measuring accuracy. A probe must not be acquired for each different measuring tasks, just extensions or other measuring units if required. This makes the investment absolutely future-proof.

Ray-Naenikon-4The device boasts excellent signal emission as the transmitter diode are arranged in such a way that their signals are reflected on polished surfaces and emitted consistently. Yet toughened glass protects these diodes from the effects of all coolant and chips. Everything is sealed to IP68 standard, so pressure of up to one metre of water depth. “After our negative experiences with other products, this was a decisive factor for us”, explains Andi Baumann.

With its chameleon-like effect, this probe can also be used on other standard communications systems of third-party receivers with the simple press of a button, which makes it much easier to replace other products and mostly prevents a cost-intensive conversion.

“We’re truly thrilled”. m&h probes do not only help to reduce costs, they also ensure the precision synonymous with Ray AG products, even under heavy loads, from Ray high-frequency grinding spindles to individual parts from drawings and small series on a contracting basis. Finally, the company enables parts to be manufactured both faster and more easily than other brands.