[VIDEO] Laser Tracker enables precision engineering in the middle of the ocean

What do you do when you need precision parts machined for an oil processing project in the middle of the ocean? Send in the experts, of course. Check out this video of the FARO Laser Tracker (below), an ingenious system used by one manufacturing company to cut-out the tedious surveying legwork required to start the job.

For precision engineering company, Self Levelling Metal Machines (SLMM), providing boring, milling and drilling services to the offshore oil processing industry is all in a day’s work.

Typical projects for the manufacturing company include parts machining for floating production storage offloading (FPSO) turret mooring systems, offshore cranes and catenary anchor leg mooring (CALM) buoys.

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The sizes of these components are so large that they cannot fit into a conventional machining centre, so SLMM has to bring its entire manufacturing process to the client, and machine parts for them on-site – out in the middle of the ocean.

For projects like this, SLMM used to conduct in-depth surveys before and after the machining work was done. This included mock-up installations, machine alignments and geometrical dimension surveys.

The crew would use a range of measurement instruments and devices – from calibrated measuring tapes and lasers survey equipment, to optical scopes, inner diameter tubular micrometers, outer diameter micrometers, and bore gauges – to survey the job before beginning the actual machining.

“These surveys require detailed measurements that are sometimes of very different natures,” said SLMM Project Engineer Lok Qiuquan.

“Measurements can range from 30mm holes to 30m diameter structures, and typically involve using a variety of conventional instruments and hand tools.”

But, since investing in the FARO Laser Tracker, the manufacturing company says it has simplified this process considerably, and even enhanced the accuracy of on-site measurements taken (and therefore parts machined).

The company says it now achieves repeatable measurements with tighter tolerances, and completes measurements in half the time.

The need to fabricate customised check fixtures has also been cut down, the company says.

A full case study on SLMM’s experience using the Laser Tracker can be viewed here.