Boosting shop-floor efficiency

New in-machine measurement technologies released by Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division significantly increase the variety of probing and tool-setting options for manufacturers seeking efficiency gains in a variety of production environments. Hexagon’s multi-sensor machine tool measurement capabilities now include compact tactile radio probes and a flexible tool-setter that can be used interchangeably to identify and correct manufacturing problems early in the production process.

While in-machine measurement makes it easy to collect and quickly apply manufacturing data to work-in-progress, integrating probes and tool setters that match the requirements of a specific machining environment can be a challenge. Without access to metrology equipment that can accommodate tight machining envelopes, manufacturers strive for efficiency with limited inspection options, often with mixed results.

With the launch of a new metrology system that offers both compact tactile measurement and tool-setting capabilities, manufacturers gain the ability to design in-machine inspection processes that fit their needs. Hexagon’s versatile new m&h R-400 multi-sensor radio probe system can fulfil both in-machine workpiece measurement and tool-setting requirements. The system is suitable for a variety of purposes in a range of environments, including machining set-ups with any machine tool, the highly accurate measurement of complex freeform geometries with tight tolerances, and the checking of machine kinematics.

Hexagon’s dual-purpose m&h R-400 probe system is the first tactile probe on the market that includes a built-in display. It provides status data at a glance, enables users to save or load settings, and makes it easy to switch between tactile sensor and tool-setting functions. Designed for shop-floor flexibility, the system can be used as a radio probe by equipping it with a probe shank or as a radio tool setter by mounting it on a tool-setter base.

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Automated dimensional QC solutions

Creaform has unveiled its new MetraScan-R Black Elite HD, as well as a new edition of VXelements for long-term support (LTS). This latest set of solutions also includes a new version of VXscan-R module specially made to accommodate custom automated 3D scanning cell layouts, while keeping the ease-of-use of its digital-twin programming software.

Notably, MetraScan-R Black Elite HD offers an optimised field of view for increased performance levels during challenging applications, such as 3D measurements on sheet metal parts. Creaform says that the system is ideal for the automotive market. With its 69 laser lines and 3 million measurements per second, this specialised 3D scanner is suitable for parts with many edges, trims and boundaries.

The intuitive VXscan-R software module makes it possible to include the custom features of any 3D scanning CMM (enclosure, robot base, turntable) for fast and easy programming.

Exclusive to the R-series products, the new VXelements LTS version extends the period of software maintenance, while increasing software robustness and dependability by limiting the number of new feature releases.

Thanks to its compatibility with major 3D metrology software, offline programming and seamless integration within any production workflow, the R-Series is accessible to all, regardless of expertise or experience level.

Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie, product manager at Creaform, says: “In the quest to gain efficiency, manufacturers require QC solutions that can adapt to their workflow and environment, while being easy to use. For better decision-making to get better quality parts, they also need fast and precise data. With these latest innovations there has never been a better time to easily move to automation.”

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High-speed measurement made simple

Industrial measurement systems specialist, the Sempre Group, is now offering demonstrations on the UK’s first InspecVision 2D and 3D measurement machine. Potential and existing customers can visit the Sempre Group’s facility in Gloucester to see the new features of Planar and Optiscan systems, such as the automated turntable feature for 3D measurement, the SurfScan and 2D repositioning upgrades. Customers can use these additions to improve measurement accuracy and integrate 2D and 3D measurement.

Manufacturers, particularly in the automotive and sheet-metal industries, can exploit these systems to measure and obtain traceable results, without the need for hand tools or manual input. They can also link the system to CAD models, easily showing users if a part is in or out of tolerance with overlaid colour mapping.

The Sempre Group can provide expert demonstrations of the technology, including the range of add-ons, such as SurfScan, a high-resolution projector that can be simply retrofitted to an existing Planar vertical column. This allows manufacturers to improve the accuracy of their 2D and 2.5D inspection without investing in an entirely new and possibly costly system. The addition enables businesses to accurately inspect forms, louvres and small bends with a single click, streamlining complex part measurement.

Sempre can also demonstrate the 2D repositioning Planar add-on to customers looking for an unbiased opinion about the technology. OEMs cam use the system’s integrated optical markers to measure parts larger than the base table in one cohesive process. The system stitches 2D scans together, removing the manual and time-consuming process of accurately repositioning parts. Ultimately, this allows manufacturers to invest in one system, rather than multiple systems for different sized parts, potentially saving thousands.

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Software inspects gears automatically

CMM manufacturer LK Metrology has introduced a third release of its CAMIO 2021 programming and measurement software featuring numerous improvements. The most significant is the inclusion of a module that automates the inspection of spur and helical involute gears.
CAMIO Gears makes it possible to begin measuring the specific geometry of gears quickly by utilising the core capabilities of CAMIO software to generate straightforward inspection programs, advanced gear reports and automated probe calibration routines.

For each gear type, the software has a unique set of definitions, evaluation algorithms and reporting graphics packaged into one add-on module, making it easy for users to bring a new capability to their existing CMM. The module supports alignment of the gear axis during measurement using any of the three CMM axes and traditional touch-trigger probes or advanced scanning probes.

LK has incorporated several other improvements into CAMIO 2021 R3, the availability of which was announced at the end of November. For instance, Smart 3-2-1 datum alignment is new functionality that intelligently selects the datum axis and origin constraints, as well as the most suitable datum features using best-practice techniques. Should the user change the alignment properties manually, the selections automatically update.

A further improvement is the Explorer Tree Datum Definition, which allows the more efficient definition of datum features directly from the feature explorer, with the option of specifying the datum label. In addition, the Report Table Feature Order provides new options for controlling the order in which features are reported in graphical tables, either alphabetically, by program output or in a user-defined order.
As another example, users may now define teach-path coordinates and directions using the CAD model.

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4K resolution digital microscope

The new Makrolite 4K digital microscope from Vision Engineering provides high image quality and wide dynamic range, making it is suitable for a broad spectrum of complex and high-contrast applications. According to Vision Engineering, the Makrolite 4K provides more fine detail with greater detail shadow and highlight areas. As a result, the microscope can handle challenging inspection routines, including reflective subjects such as solder joints, subjects in shadow, or subjects with low contrast, like rubber and plastic.

Makrolite 4K is said to be flexible and easy to use, providing high-definition video images with up to 330x magnification. The microscope delivers both versatility and high performance in applications such as production, lab research, R&D, micro assembly, quality control, inbound/outbound product checking, dissection and rework.

Available in two versions, the console configuration provides direct HDMI connection to the monitor for live display with full control of zoom and all camera settings. Connecting Makrolite 4K to a PC with Vision Engineering’s dimensioning software, ViPlus, extends its capabilities to include image capture, annotation, on-screen measurement, live overlays, data/image report generation and a range of image processing tools.
Additionally, the Makrolite 4K solution includes a wide range of stands and objectives, making it a flexible solution equipped to deal with a broad range of demanding inspection tasks.

Paul Newbatt, Vision Engineering’s group sales and marketing director, says: “Makrolite 4K represents a step forward for Vision Engineering in terms of inspection microscope image resolution. It retains the core Vision Engineering values of superb image quality combined with ease of use, but adds 4K resolution, a choice of console or PC versions, and range of five stands, to deliver a really flexible inspection solution”.

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