Faster Measurements in Aluminium Casting Machining

Ernst & Landerer uses on Haas machining centres over 25 Blum measuring systems

Ernst & Landerer GmbH is a family owned company with a proud tradition of serving as partner to leading gearbox manufacturers. The company actively looks towards innovative technologies to improve their products rather than rely on structures and processes that have developed over time. Achieving increasingly faster speeds and keeping processes economical, while delivering the same accuracy and quality, calls for constant advancements. For Ernst & Landerer, continuous progress is a way of life, and Blum-Novotest’s measuring technology makes a major contribution.

The foundry, now run by the second generation of the family, has 80 employees. The company aims for this figure to rise slowly, with a focus on optimum product quality while maintaining the company at a manageable size. The company was established as a pure aluminium chill casting foundry more than 40 years ago; however, customers from the automotive, medical, mechanical engineering and construction industries, no longer wanted simple, unfinished, raw steel parts. They wanted ready to install cast products. As a result, mechanical production was added to the casting process at the turn of the millennium. Since then, it has become the company’s largest area of business, running a 2-shift system with 22 machining centers from Haas.  Between 30 and 40 percent of the parts produced are supplied to gearbox manufacturers – high precision components with j6 tolerances, h6 for diameter boring and 1/100 mm variances in rectangularity and parallelism.

“Because it was what our customers needed, we have increasingly specialised and improved," explains Thomas Ernst, one of two directors. The unfinished parts are cast with minimal machining tolerances. For each workpiece, there is a dedicated piece of equipment for clamping it on the processing machine. The tolerances for the components are so stringent that almost all parts must be clamped only once for the entire machining process. Depending on size, up to four components can be produced simultaneously in one pass. For years, the parts were transferred to a 3D measuring machine for measurement after machining. This measuring was essential but very time consuming. If finished components were found to have a tolerance deviation, rework was only possible at very high cost. It then became a logical solution to measure the components in the machining center itself. For example, the last component produced was measured with a tripod type measuring instrument which was used to manually measure a particular diameter. If it still complied with the relevant tolerance, all previously bored diameters also had to be within the tolerances.

For some time, components at Ernst & Landerer were measured in this way. On the one hand it was time consuming, as the machine had to be stopped during the measuring process, while on the other hand, it was susceptible to errors as measurement was carried out manually and the measuring method required the surfaces to be absolutely clean.


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