Setting the PACE

Ametek Precitech, in conjunction with Micro-LAM, Taylor Hobson and Zygo, is creating the Precision Advancement Centre of Excellence (PACE), which will open at Taylor Hobson’s headquarters in Leicester. In essence, the PACE facility is an applications centre for advanced diamond turning manufacturing and metrology. To help improve the facility’s capabilities, Ametek Precitech has supplied a four-axis Nanoform X configured with an Optimus laser-assisted machining system from Micro-LAM. This machine will improve the throughput and quality of diamond-turning processes for hard-to-machine materials.

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Ultra-high accuracy measuring arms

LK Metrology has expanded its Freedom arm range of 3D articulating-arm metrology systems, or portable measuring arms, with the launch of five ultra-accuracy models in both six-axis and seven-axis variants. The 10 new arms bring the total number of different varieties available from LK to 34.

Called Freedom Ultimate and Freedom Ultimate Scan, the new arms are available with measurement volumes from 2.5 to 4.5 m. Each model complements the comparable size of existing Freedom Classic and higher accuracy Freedom Select products with six axes designed for touch probing, as well as the seven-axis Scan equivalents for multi-sensor metrology, including laser scanning.

The ultra-accuracy arms, which come with a calibration sphere and verification bar carrying ISO 17025 certification, offer increased precision in applications from quality control and on-machine verification, through to reverse engineering, virtual assembly design and 3D modelling. Up to 8% more measuring accuracy is available than the next most precise product range, Select, while compared with the entry-level Classic arms the improvement is up to 43%.

By introducing the extra degree of freedom in all Scan models, Nikon Metrology is providing infinite movement to enable scanning with the company’s ModelMaker H120 laser scanner. All arms are available with a variety of probe kits, styli, mounting rings (including some with a magnetic or vacuum base), tripods, rolling stands and carts with laptop arm.

Carbon-fibre tubular construction ensures stability under challenging operational conditions, while a proprietary counter balance makes manual movements light, promoting ease-of-use even when trying to access awkward areas. Optional Wi-Fi connectivity and battery power allow completely portable wireless measurement.

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Peter Smith joins Whitehouse

Whitehouse Machine Tools, the UK and Ireland sales agent for several machine tool manufacturers in the Far East and Europe, has appointed Peter Smith to the new position of sales and marketing director. He is a board member, working alongside joint managing directors Tim Whitehouse and Tom Hughes, and a stakeholder in the business. Smith brings with him a wealth of knowledge and directly relevant experience in rotational and prismatic metal-cutting machinery, having held senior positions in UK machine-tool sales for over two decades, including at subsidiaries of global OEMs.

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Investment at Pailton

Coventry-based Pailton Engineering has invested in two bespoke universal-joint staking rigs, transforming a manual process into an automated one. The two machines can run simultaneously, to stake 19 or 15 mm universal joints. Pailton says that a huge benefit of the machines is their quality assurance and consistency of component assembly. Similarly, data recorded by the machines offers full traceability to show the build record of universal joints, including assembly pressure parameters. Pailton has located the equipment in a purpose-built cleanroom work area dedicated to universal-joint assembly.

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Better quality control in large applications

Following rigorous tests spanning thousands of hours, a new laser radar system for shop-floor quality control has been introduced by the metrology arm of Japanese camera giant Nikon. The APDIS laser radar, an automated, non-contact metrology solution, inspects features at double the speed of the previous version and, according to Nikon, delivers high-accuracy measurements equivalent to those provided by a horizontal-arm CMM.

Nikon Metrology’s laser radar products employ a focused laser beam and heterodyne interferometry to measure range accurately. This configuration produces a sensitive radar that is capable of performing measurements on almost any surface, irrespective of reflection.

Suitable for the repetitive, labour-intensive, complex measuring of objects from a long stand-off distance, and able to access even hard-to-reach areas without the need for photogrammetry targets, retroreflectors, handheld probes or surface preparation, APDIS may be used in numerous manufacturing sectors, including aerospace, automotive, renewable energy, research and indeed any large-scale environment.

A new, high-definition camera coupled with new Nikon confocal optics allow for enhanced viewing of what is being inspected. Better usability results from reducing the unit’s weight by 40% and its size by a quarter, while internal changes and comprehensive testing have further raised the level of reliability.

The APDIS range comprises four models, two of which are the MV430E and MV450E, having a 30 or 50 m radius measuring range respectively. These versions promote the use of APDIS scanners as a non-contact accelerometers by pointing the laser beam at any surface to measure vibrations at up to 2000Hz, which can be useful when assessing installations or equipment.

There are also MV430 and MV450 standard versions without the improvements for applications where top speed and vibration analysis are not required.

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