New touch probe available from Blum

Blum-Novotest will present its new TC55 touch probe on Stand B28/C33 in Hall 5 at EMO 2021 (4-9 October, Milan). The company is thus expanding its CNC machine tool product range by adding a compact system featuring the shark360 measuring mechanism and fast infrared transmission.

Winfried Weiland, head of marketing at Blum-Novotest GmbH, explains: “The TC55 is Blum’s smallest wireless probe to date. With a length of 46 mm and a diameter of 32 mm, it is suitable for use in highly compact milling centres, turning centres and turn-mill machines in micro-machining and medical technology applications, and for measuring components on additive manufacturing machines. Thanks to its face-geared measuring mechanism, the TC55 is also suitable for the tactile measurement of turning tools.”

The TC55 is equipped with the proven shark360 measuring mechanism that is present on other measuring systems from the same manufacturer. This technology supplements the multi-directional measuring mechanism with a face gear that features 72 teeth, which facilitates both pulling and torsional measurements in the C axis. The torsion forces that occur are absorbed by the face gear and therefore have no influence on the measurement result. Moreover, the trigger signal for the measurement process is not issued by means of a mechanical contact. Instead, the trigger is opto-electronic, by shading a miniature light barrier inside the system. As a result, there is no wear and tear, guaranteeing maximum reliability for many years, even under the most adverse working conditions.

For very small and delicate workpieces, Blum also offers the measuring system in a TC55 LF (Low Force) variant.

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Cost-optimised horizontal-arm CMMS

To supplement its high-accuracy HC-90 ceramic horizontal-arm CMMs, LK Metrology has introduced three additional models based on an aluminium construction. The new CMMs provide users with multiple affordable alternatives for the dimensional inspection of large components found typically in the automotive, land transport and heavy industries.

LK’s horizontal-arm CMMs are available in three ranges: the LY-90T table version, LY-90R rail version with single or twin arms, and the shop floor ready HD-90 rail version with single or twin arms, which is specifically for the quality control of vehicle bodies and sub-assemblies in car plants.

Of rail design, LK says the HD-90R single-rail and HD-90TR twin-rail models offer superior dynamics and accuracy for use in production areas. The CMMs feature protective covers to ensure thermal insulation against environmental changes, and protect the system from airborne contaminants.

Typically used in line-side metrology applications, the LY-90T table CMM has the horizontal arm installed on guideways side-mounted to a cast-iron surface plate for the measurement of metal and plastic components. The table and special three-point support system eliminate the need for expensive dedicated foundations.

The LY-90R single-rail and LY-90TR twin-rail CMMs offer a similarly advanced, cost-effective, typically in-line metrology solution for the dimensional control of large, heavy components found in vehicle manufacture and heavy engineering. The rails can be installed flush at floor level, with heavy-duty walk-on covers protecting the X-axis slideways. Notably, the open design provides full access for part loading/unloading, including within in-line/line-side automated inspection cells with roll-on/roll-off transfer systems.

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New MTC chairman

The Manufacturing Technology Centre has appointed one of the Midlands’ best known businessmen as its new chairman. Mel Ewell, former chief executive of Amey, has been on the MTC board as a non-executive director since October 2016, and takes over from Sir David Brown. Says Ewell: “Having been closely involved with the MTC for several years I’m full of admiration for the talented engineers working there and the remarkable work they do. I’m proud to take over the chair of an organisation with such a huge reputation among manufacturing and engineering businesses.”

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Solving mould measurement accuracy issues

Looking for ways to improve the inspection of its critical components, Beatson Clark sought the help of Bowers Group, investing in a Baty Venture XT 3030 CNC to assist in its measurement of critical mould component dimensions.

One of the UK’s largest manufacturers of pharmaceutical glass containers, Beatson Clark has been designing and producing glass bottles and jars for 270 years.
As highly specified tooling is the start of the process at Beatson Clark, an improved inspection system – namely the Baty Venture XT – was the next logical step in the company’s evolution.

Used every day, primarily by quality department inspectors, the Baty Venture measures components that form the neck area of bottles and jars. These components have many critical dimensions and form the bulk of the system’s work, allowing the team to check batch parts thoroughly and ensure the use of only quality parts in production. With its user-friendly design making the machine quick and easy to learn, the XT is also utilised to qualify the work of machinists, allowing the inspection all components that make up a tooling set.

Daryl Fletcher, mould shop manager at Beatson Clark, says: “The vision system is very impressive. It’s fast, accurate and user friendly. Being able to import DXF files gives us the option of comparison, as well as direct measurement. The software is intuitive and easy to use, yet very powerful when it comes to recognising features and alignment.”

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Fractory raises €7.5m to fund expansion

Fractory, a UK-based online metal fabrication platform, has raised €7.5m to help expand the company’s operations internationally and accelerate the development of its technology offering. This Series A round is led by OTB Ventures, a leading European investor, with support from existing investors such as Trind Ventures, Superhero Capital, United Angels VC, Startup Wise Guys and Verve Ventures. The funding will be used to set up services in new markets such as the USA, France and Italy. Fractory will also use the funds for product and platform development, including the automation of CNC machining, additive manufacturing and casting.

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