Focus on measuring during the 2016 Precision Fair

The 2016 Precision Fair was held in Veldhoven in the Netherlands on 16 and 17 November. The Sirris precision department participated in the event and drew up a report that focuses on measuring throughout the production process.

Many things are measured in production processes nowadays including the product, the machinery, the tools and the environment. The prevailing trends are making an impact on metrology. Trends in production include the efficient use of materials, flexibility, transparency and the emergence of new processes. These all have repercussions affecting the challenges and trends we see in metrology and can be summarised with requirements for speed, precision, safety, flexibility, etc. In practice these can be found in software integration, improved user interfaces, innovative high precision measuring solutions, contactless metrology, increased measuring options on the shop-floor, and also portable and flexible measuring options.

Various new products on display at the fair illustrate this point:

One example of the evolution of measuring software is the MiCAT Planner software by Mitutoyo that responds to the increasing importance of quality control in production. The software saves the user the time needed for programming and constantly monitors the measurement quality. Where traditionally the control measurements were done individually in the metrology department, coordinate-measuring machines (CMM) now do the measuring process in-line or by way of a bypass on the production line. This move goes together with the use of user-friendly CMM inspection software that helps the machine operator carry out quality control. The planner takes care of the measuring programme for CMM on the basis of the CAD model, which to a great extent is done automatically. The software does not need much input for this: the CAD data, plus structural information about the CMM machine being used and a few parameters to be entered by the user, such as the measuring strategy and the number of points that have to be measured. Based on this information the software calculates the fastest and most collision-free measuring route, while using a minimum number of sensor repositioning points. This results in the operator saving up to 95 percent of the programming time.  

A good example of more flexible and faster 5-axis technology is the 5-axis measuring system REVO from Renishaw, which warrants high performance scanning, contactless inspection and surface finish analysis all on a single CMM. The system applies synchronised movements and 5-axis measuring technology for keeping the dynamic effects of the CMM movements as low as possible at extremely high measuring speeds. This is made possible by allowing the head to move quickly, while the CMM makes a slow linear movement. The flexible needle probe system contributes to both the precision and flexibility of the system. The removable probe system provides greater flexibility. 

Rotary Inspector from IBS Precision Engineering illustrates how nowadays the accuracy of processing machinery can be controlled during production. With the 5-axis machine tool and the rotating shaft, it is possible to do a quick health check with this instrument whereby it plays an important part in the maintenance routine. Whenever a difference is displayed in the tool performance of the linear and the rotating shafts, this can be seen on the cutting path of the finished product. The inspection equipment immediately confirms the actual positional accuracy of the tool in relation to the workpiece on the 5-axis machines, under both static and dynamic conditions. 

Finally, a very recent new technology can measure the invisible: using an industrial computer tomography system from Zeiss Metrotom it is possible to carry out performance measurements and inspections with just an X-ray scan. Traceability of the system is guaranteed by the standard acceptance test, the precision technology used and the sophisticated calibration process. Linear paths and a rotating bench meet the high requirements for the precision demanded by users.