QMT Features: August 2014
Keeping rails flat
Optical measurement technology will safeguard the quality of rails for high-speed trains

A new production line of one of China’s largest steel manufacturers will be equipped with an innovative optical flatness measurement system from the Austrian company Nextsense. The system uses one of the company’s SURFILES stationary flatness measurement systems to provide maximum precision while meeting the high safety requirements placed on high-speed rails
One of the factors that led the Sichuan-based company to choose the Nextsense system was its ability to measure the flatness of the ends of the rails as well as the surface. This order comes just a few months after one from a Turkish steel producer for surface inspection from the same product range. The latest deal strengthens its position in quality assurance equipment for steel production and its presence in the Chinese market – which is already the company’s biggest.

Christoph Böhm, Marketing Manager of NextSense, explains why the customer opted for one of its flatness measurement systems (FMG): “Our stationary flatness measurement system offered a persuasive choice thanks to its innovative measurement & calibration method. Cutting-edge light section technology and sophisticated algorithms enable measurements even right up to the ends of the object being measured. A separate system for analysis of the ends can thus be dispensed with. Combined with slim and rugged mechanics, this results in enhanced product quality and falling product costs.”  
Specifically, with the FMG systems from NextSense laser lines are projected onto the object to be measured, recorded by cameras and converted into a two-dimensional profile graph. The horizontal and vertical flatness of the long product is determined in the process. Subsequent to the measurement, an automatic classification of the results according to defined testing standards is carried out.Mr Böhm says that it was the unique possibility of also measuring the ends of long (steel) products in one measurement process that won over the customer. In the next few years, it wants to become the world’s largest producer of train rails – a target that it will only be possible to meet using production methods which combine maximum efficiency with the greatest precision. With this in mind, says Mr Böhm, “the decision of the customer to equip its latest and state-of-the-art production line in the Chinese province of Sichuan with an FMG from the SURFILES range is thus also understandable.”
He says that, in recent years, NextSense has successfully managed to gain itself a good reputation in China for the quality of its optical measurement systems. This market is now already one of the company’s two biggest areas for sales – and the market is set to soar. Mr Böhm concluded: “China is the world’s largest steel manufacturer and automaker and the regional high-speed railway network is also expanding rapidly. In all three markets, we persuade customers with innovative measurement systems for profiles and surfaces from our SURFILES and CALIPRI product lines.”www.nextsense.at
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