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Dunfermline-based FMC Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of oil and gas production control systems (PCSs), has found that Renishaw machine tool probes and calibration products are highly effective at checking and verifying the dimensional accuracy of its CNC machine tools, leading to far fewer defects.

The PCSs consist of topside (surface) controls, power equipment, a subsea control module (SCM), various sensors and subsea electrical and hydraulic distribution equipment. The whole system is configurable according to conditions and requirements and provides engineers on board an oil or gas production platform with precise control of the well.

Wells can be as far as 120km from the production platform, in water up to 10,000ft (3,000m) deep. When an SCM is installed on the seabed, it has to be reliable and safe for the production life of the well, which can be decades. Hydraulically controlled valves must be free from defects and contamination. If a critical part malfunctions, the potential cost can easily run to tens, or even hundreds, of millions of dollars.

To ensure that its machines are accurate, the FMC maintenance department services them all up to three times annually. All machines are checked with a Renishaw QC20-W wireless ballbar. The Okuma machines are serviced twice a year, at which point machine geometries are checked and rectified.

Once a year, the company also checks them with a Renishaw XL-80 laser measurement system and linearity is corrected. Every second year, at their annual service, all machines are levelled, aligned and checked with the XL-80 system.

Key benefits of product application

  • After the Renishaw machine tool probes and calibration products check and verify the dimensional accuracy of the CNC machine tools, the resulting data can be stored for quick and easy retrieval using Renishaw’s CNC Reporter software.
  • The Renishaw XL-80 system helps to check, level and align all of the company’s machines.
  • During the routine service, each machine in the factory is checked using the Renishaw ballbar. These records can be kept, so should a finished or shipped part show a fault or a problem the company can prove whether the machine was accurate and aligned at the time the part was manufactured.
  • Having CNC Reporter means that, in the event of an accuracy issue, the company doesn’t have to use a granite square and parallel bars, nor does it have to remove the job from table, saving a lot of time.
  • Craig Simpson and Mike West of FMC Technologues claim that the Renishaw XL-80 laser measurement system, the QC20-W wireless ballbar and the CNC Reporter software are very easy and intuitive to use.
  • According to the company, its production control systems, including its SCMs, are now used on more than 1,000 subsea wells around the world, with an uptime rate of 99–100 per cent.

Renishaw

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

Sensors for co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are an industry standard, from basic touch-trigger probes through to automated stylus and probe changers, motorised indexing probe heads, and revolutionary five-axis measurement systems.

Machine probes for CNC machine tools allow automated tool setting, workpiece set-up, in-cycle gauging and part inspection. Products include laser tool setters, contact tool setters, tool breakage detectors, touch probes and high accuracy inspection probes.

For motion control, Renishaw supplies laser encoders, optical linear encoders, optical angle encoders, optical rotary encoders, magnetic rotary encoders, magnetic chip encoders and magnetic linear encoders.

To analyse the static and dynamic performance of position-critical motion systems, Renishaw’s laser interferometer and environmental compensation system offers a linear measurement accuracy of 0.5 ppm, readings of up to 50 kHz and a linear measurement speed of up to 4 m/s, with a linear resolution of 1nm.

Renishaw’s Raman spectroscopy products exploit the Raman effect to identify and characterise the chemistry and structure of materials. A diverse range of analytical applications include pharmaceutical, forensic science, nanotechnology, biomedical and semiconductors.

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