Machine leveling is a broad term used in the machine tool industry during machine installation of machine tables, rails, and the base. While it is critical in some applications that the machine base, rails, and tables are level, it is more important that machine axes, spindle, and the working surfaces have excellent geometric relationships per the machine’s intended design.
Machine alignment is the term KRC uses when installing and adjusting machinery so that the moving axes produce accurate motion profiles at the tool tip. Achieving excellent machine geometry between machine axes requires measurements of straightness and angular errors of each axis, and then measurements are made to understand the orientation of the axes to each other. This process is considered as a baseline geometry characterization of the machine tool. The data from this characterization event is very detailed and allows KRC to develop the best approach to establish excellent machine geometry, because KRC is able to consider the overall picture as well as isolated areas that require improvement. This approach allows KRC to focus efforts aligning the critical areas that have the greatest effect on machine geometric performance versus time and effort on areas that will have achieved little to no gain in machine performance.
Machine Alignment Services
Machine accuracy and repeatability are necessary for a machine to perform to its full capabilities and proper machine alignments are fundamental for this to happen. Machine leveling should be performed periodically to ensure the machine is in good tolerance, after a relocation or incorrect installation, after a machine repair or “crash”, or to recertify the machine. KRC recommends that machine adjustments be a part of regular occurring preventive maintenance program to help extend the life of your machine tool.
KRC has aligned machines of all types and sizes from machining centers to long bed gantries.
How long does this process generally take?
KRC is able to achieve a baseline characterization of all axes of a machine tool in less than a couple of hours. Our technicians and engineers are able to communicate and interpret the results immediately so that everyone involved understands the approach that is being taken. The amount of time it takes KRC to fully measure a machine tool and to interpret the results is attributed to our rigorous training program and our choice in equipment to provide this service.
KRC uses NIST traceable interferometer based API Radian laser tracking systems along with the award winning Spatial Analyzer software to provide comprehensive laser measurement. This laser system is paired with the Aries electronic level system to provide angular error of all machine axes. These 2 pieces of equipment are the fundamental and oftentimes the only tools used to characterize and align a machine tool.
Quality and Standards
KRC follows ASME B5.54 and ISO 230 standards and analyses for communicating and interpreting machine geometry and accuracy results. Our engineers and technicians are properly trained to understand and educate customers on machine tool geometry language and machine nomenclature. KRC has adapted the definitions of these standards so that all measurements and components of measurement on a machine tool are represented and communicated in the same manner all of the time. For example, measurement consists of 2 things, which are magnitude and direction. Oftentimes, only the magnitude is communicated. Using a standard and industry accepted method to report measurement results, KRC is able to distinguish and interpret both magnitude and direction of error in a standardized manner.
KRC understands that each machine is unique in its own way and therefore each situation will be different. KRC is committed to providing the best services needed to keep machines running at peak accuracy through our investment in the best available tools on the market and ongoing training required to perform this type of work. Through our years of experience we have been able to help identify and solve several complex issues and overcome many challenges related to the alignments of your machine tool.