Alstom - Birr
Alstom - Birr

Alstom: Energy made to measure

Turbine blade machining represents one of the key value-added production operations in Alstom’s Power Turbo-Systems plant in Birr, Switzerland and a Hexagon Metrology coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is an integral part of a flexible machining system (FMS) cell, which finish grinds and inspects turbine blades and vanes.

In this FMS cell, a Mägerle Grinding Centre (MGC 130) and a DEA CMM (Scirocco Activ 14-09-07) operate under a master program to automatically finish grind and inspect no less than five blade types and three vane types. Working three shifts per day, this cell produces the blades and vanes needed for rotors for various power systems.

With 4,000 employees in two sites (Baden and Birr), Alstom is one of the largest industrial companies in Switzerland and the Birr plant is one of the leading suppliers for Alstom’s rotary turbine systems. These high-speed rotating systems need turbine blades machined to close tolerances and Alstom has pioneered in many processes to make blades and vanes. One of Alstom’s key requirements for its turbine blade FMS cell was to have an in-built process control procedure to guarantee that blades and vanes are finish ground to within specification with no downtime during the inspection process. After the development of the cell, Alstom has chosen Hexagon Metrology as technological partner for metrology aspects.

One of the key factors for choosing this measurement system is the ability of the PC-DMIS software to easily interface with the other cell components, besides being entirely developed in MS-Windows environment. “Our biggest challenge was to integrate the CMM so that the manufacturing process . . . . .

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