When a global hydraulics expert needed to bring tube production to a new site, Hexagon’s Tube Inspection System was a key part of the perfect solution.
Hansa-Flex is global expert in hydraulics with subsidiaries all over the world. The business’ Dutch operation at Hansa-Flex Hydraulic Solutions in Deventer provides its customers with full fluid technology solutions covering everything from initial consultancy to the production and installation of complete hydraulic power units.
Next to a wide internal expertise in several technical areas such as hydraulics, electrics and mechanics, Hansa-Flex has an expansive network of partner companies capable of meeting a wide range of customer requirements. According to Erik-Jan Klomps, Technical Manager of Hansa-Flex Nederland BV, this approach, which allows for a single point of contact for each project, is very important for end customers.
As part of its core business, Hansa-Flex Nederland BV has to supply its customers with a huge variety of tubes, running to thousands of different models.
A fast reaction and delivery time is among the main needs of Hansa-Flex’s customers.
Adaptability of the measurement solution is vital to be able to solve our customer's individual requests.
In the past these tubes were manufactured and checked at a Hansa-Flex site in Germany, but as the number of customers requiring finished tubes within one-to-two days grew, Hansa-Flex Nederland BV in 2015 made the decision to invest in their own CNC tube bending machine in order to manufacture tubes themselves.
But this new tube production operation would require a way to check the finished tubes prior to delivery. With Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s Tube Inspection System – a ROMER Absolute Arm paired with specialised tube probes and TubeShaper software – Hansa-Flex was able to not only check their tube production runs, but also widen their service, offering tube reverse engineering and on-site measurements to their clients as well.
“Several features of the ROMER Absolute Arm and TubeShaper software made it the easy choice in the end: its portability, the plug-and-play hardware, the automatic and repeatable probe recognition, the easy-to-use tube probes and the direct-CNC bender interface met all our needs”, points out Klomps.
Feedback from other Hexagon customers also influenced the evaluation process at Hansa-Flex as they sought out a best-fit tube inspection solution.
“We contacted other ROMER Absolute Arm and TubeShaper customers as a reference,” said Klomps. “The Hexagon customers’ feedback was entirely positive, which was the crucial point for us.”
“Individual customer requirements make an adaptable measurement solution very important” said Klomps. One customer recently needed a tube to fit exactly between two flanges, with critical tolerances at each end. Using the Tube Inspection System, Hansa-Flex was easily able to digitise the details of the flanges and create a new tube geometry to fit their dimensional constraints.
In the past this kind of task created a significant amount of scrap, as the tube needed to be produced and adjusted up to 20 times before an acceptable fit was achieved. Reducing needless production waste in this way has resulted in huge cost savings, both in terms of material and manpower.
The possibilities of the ROMER Absolute Arm and TubeShaper have not been lost on Klomp and his team in Deventer, and they have plans to go even further to make the most of the technology. “We’re about to integrate the interface between TubeShaper and the bending machine. This will save even more time and reduce human errors due to incorrect bending data input into the bender computer”.