Laser Alignment Eliminates Broken Transfer Chains

The Client’s Critical Issue

Broken Chains

An automotive manufacturer was experiencing a problem with some of their transfer systems repeatedly fracturing, resulting in high replacement costs. They needed to determine the root cause of a problem.

The Dimensional Engineering Solution

Dimensional Engineering was contracted to analyze the repeated fracturing in the transfer chains, which ride on the rails of the transfer system. We conducted the analysis during a planned shutdown of the automotive manufacturing plant.

The rails beneath the chains are laid out to transfer the hemmer dies to their necessary position for operation. The slightest misalignment in the rails causes the load-bearing chains to wear and fracture, since each of the four hemmer dies weighs in excess of 50,000 pounds.

Transfer Chains

The rails not only need to be aligned for straightness, they also must be parallel to the ground. Since the rail length exceeds 60 feet, having a laser tracker in our technology toolbox was critical to achieve the necessary accuracy. The laser tracker was set up to digitally capture the alignment of the rails in a coordinate system, creating data for precise calculations.

During the investigation, we found that the original rails were out of alignment, validating the reason for the constantly breaking chains. We measured the rail segments, aligning each section individually. After collecting data, analyzing it, and performing calculations, we determined the extent to which rail segment should be repositioned.

Now, using these calculations, each rail segment is moved into the corrected position and welded into place. The new position is once again verified with the correctly positioned tracker, and the process is continued on the next rail segment.

The Value We Provided

In the client’s words, “Year after year, companies were contracted to investigate this problem, but until Dimensional Engineering came in, we never addressed it successfully. We can easily measure the results by how many chains we need to replace during the year. We have not broken a chain since Dimensional Engineering left our plant.”