Measuring things you can't

Laser Tracker Measurement for Canada & U.S.A

PFTS uses Laser Trackers most frequently.  To list a few jobs, PFTS uses laser trackers for bottom ring align boring (aka wicket gate align boring or wicket gate line boring), stay ring flange (aka head cover seat flange) machining, stator and rotor diameter measurement, servo motor dutchmen plate calculations, distributor heights, discharge ring diameter, etc.  

The list is very long and is not tied to only the hydro industry.  PFTS has done paper machine alignment, OSB plants (blenders and presses), steel mills (line measurements and cooling beds), automotive testing equipment, jet engine test stands, steam and gas turbines, and some wind turbine components.  

Click a question below to learn more.

What is a laser tracker?

A laser tracker is a portable device that can measure in 3D to better than 0.001”. It uses a laser interferometer to measure distance, which is repeatable to 10 microns, and two precision angular encoders to measure the zenith and azimuth angles. The software converts these polar coordinates to rectangular coordinates. The software allows the precise measurement of many different geometric shapes. These shapes can then be checked against user definable datums for parallelism, concentricity etc. Laser trackers have been used by the aerospace and automotive industries for over ten years.

Why use PFTS's laser tracker services over another contractor?

PFTS has been providing laser tracker measurement services since 2004.  PFTS's operators are professional engineers that think outside the box.  PFTS operators work well with customers and typically help them develop new procedures to complete projects in time and cost efficient ways.

Example - in the case of a stay ring flange (aka head cover seat flange):  A stay ring flange is typically a 3 to 4" wide steel surface roughly 250" in diameter that is embedded in concrete.  The surface goes out of level over time with the shifting of the building.  When a hydro unit is overhauled, the customer wants this surface to be flat and level to within +/-0.003".  Without going into too much detail (we don't want our competitors to copy us), PFTS developed a procedure using a laser tracker so this surface can be ground on site by millwrights using grinders with an accuracy of +/-0.003" and no on-site machining necessary (big cost savings).

Example - Rotor and Stator Diameter measurement:  In designing either a new stator or new rotor for an existing unit, it's important to know the diameter which can change overtime.  Traditionally the unit would have to be dissabled (6 week outage), but PFTS developed a procedure using the laser tracker to measure the rotor or stator diameter with an accuracy +/-0.005") while the rotor is in place.  The unit would only need to be shutdown for one day to complete these measurements.

Example - Wicket Gate Align Boring:  Traditionally this process involved piano wire and many days of machining (2 weeks minimum).  PFTS has a developed a procedure with a local machining contractor in which we've decreased the time of this process to 5-12hr shifts.

Why use a laser tracker?

Quickness, repeatability and flexibility. A laser tracker can measure a series of points in less than half the time of the conventional optical measurement systems or piano wire methods. The software for the tracker relates all measured objects in a job to each other to provide an abundance of orientation information.

A laser tracker can measure a moving target in real time. It is an invaluable aid in the movement of any part. The software allows the mechanic or millwright to see on screen in real-time exactly how much they're moving an object, and if they're moving that object in the correct direction. The laser tracker target can be affixed to most objects and the movement monitored without putting a person in harms way.

How does a tracker work?

A laser tracker is a portable device that can measure in 3D to better than 0.001". It uses a laser interferometer to measure distance, which is repeatable to 10 microns, and two precision angular encoders to measure the zenith and azimuth angles. The software converts these polar coordinates to rectangular coordinates. The software allows the precise measurement of many different geometric shapes. These shapes can then be checked against user definable datums for parallelism, concentricity, etc. Laser trackers have been used by the aerospace and automotive industries for over fifteen years.

How can a laser tracker be used in Power Generation?

Laser trackers are used to measure wicket gates and bushings, turbine shafts, discharge ring, bottom ring, stator diameter, rotor diameter, servo motor pockets, stay ring flanges, headcover, and rotor rotation planes. Basically laser trackers are used primarily when rebuilding an entire power generation unit.

PFTS has provided laser tracker services for Manitoba Hydro in Jenpeg, Poite du Bois, Nipawin, Kelsey, Grand Rapids, Slave Falls, Waskwatim, Kettle, Limestone and Seven Sisters. PFTS has also provided laser tracker services to BC Hydro, Ontario Power Generation, VA Tech Hydro, SaskPower, and GE Energy Services.

How can a laser tracker be used in the Manufacturing Industry?

Laser trackers are used to align welding jigs, measure vehicle frames and openings, confirm opening tolerances, CAD to Part analysis, surface modeling on fiberglass molds as well as on the part itself. Laser trackers are also used to align lathes, steel rolling mill lines and cooling beds.

We have provided laser tracker services for Motor Coach Industries, Frank Fair Industries, Dynamic Machine, and several Gerdau and Nucor facilities.

How can a laser tracker be used in the Pulp & Paper Industry?

Laser trackers are used to align rolls, set-up forming tables, align roll grinders and check splice lips for straightness and level. Recently, PFTS used a laser tracker to measure reel stands for level and squareness.

We have provided laser tracker services for Abitibi-Bowater, Domtar, Tembec, Sonoco, Norampac, Atlantic Packaging, and Stowe-Woodward.

How can a laser tracker be used in the Aerospace Industry?

Laser trackers are used to measure turbo engine frame jigs, main wing spars, equipment used to machine aircraft parts, CAD to part alignments.

We have provided laser tracker services for Standard Aero, K&S Tool & Die, Remmele Engineering, and the Canadian Air Force.

How can a laser tracker be used in the Sawmill Industry?

Laser trackers are used to align the curve saws, bandsaws, anvils, elements on both large log lines and small log lines. Ideal for sawmills with hydraulic movement capabilities.

A laser tracker can measure on any object in real time. It is an invaluable aid in the movement of any part. The software allows the mechanic or millwright to see on screen in real-time exactly how much they're moving an object, and if they're moving that object in the correct direction. The laser tracker target can be affixed to most objects and the movement monitored without putting a person in harms way.

Can a laser tracker perform shaft alignment?

Yes, although for inline shafts on small and medium size motors the conventional laser shaft alignment systems are quicker. The laser tracker is able to determine the misalignment in an offset shaft system and calculate the solution with relative ease. This is extremely difficult to do with a conventional laser shaft alignment system.