The International Manufacturing Technology Show, or IMTS, is only about two months away. During the biennial exposition in Chicago's McCormick Place, Sept. 8-13, multinational exhibitors will display their latest equipment and technologies for metal fabrication.
While large and fast horizontal and vertical machining systems, lathes, gear grinders, laser cutters, and waterjet cutting machines will dominate many halls of IMTS -- and custom motorcycles whose components these machines fabricate will also make appearances -- manufacturers in attendance will also be drawn toward measurement and control devices that guarantee the accuracy of their work.
Among the dozens of new product announcements that are hitting the airwaves ahead of the show, some are pushing the performance envelope in measurement and control, with an eye toward giving machinists and fabricators the capabilities they need to support the performance of their sophisticated machining systems and thereby create or expand business opportunities.
One such development is from Marposs Corp., of Auburn Hills, Mich., which will show two new measurement devices at IMTS: one for contact scanning on machining centers and gear grinders and the other for measuring and verifying small-diameter cutting tools at the micron and sub-micron levels.
The first device, the G25 gauging probe, does surface scanning and touch functions for part positioning and measurement. Marposs reports that the compact device (56.6 mm/2.2 in long) can gauge parts that are fixtured in a machine, thereby speeding any rework that might be necessary.
For gear grinding, the G25 identifies part location and tooth spacing to align the part with the grinding wheel prior to machine operations. The probe then scans the profile of the finished part in a continuous cycle. The gauge works for round parts, of course, but also can check non-round parts for characteristics after grinding or verification of part-face orientation.
The G25 operates in the X, Y, and Z axes. The unidirectional repeatability is reported to be 0.4 micron. The triggering force in the X and Y planes is 0.9 N and 5.5 N in the Z direction. The device achieves an overstroke of 12 deg in the X and Y planes, and 3.9 mm (0.15 in) in the Z direction. It can be fitted with different styli to meet application needs, or Marposs can design and supply custom styli.
Marposs says the probe is engineered for measurement stability at high speeds, which contributes to faster cycle times compared with point-by-point scanning methods.
The G25 assembly consists of the probe, stylus, and probe support. The device can be set up for surface scanning with an analog voltage output that connects to the machine control, or it can be configured in a digital version. In the analog unit, the G25 probe connects directly to a P32 interface. In the digital version, the G25 probe connects to a PC through a USB connector, and to the machine CNC through an M12 connector to transmit the touch signal.
The sensitivity of the analog output on the P32 interface can be adjusted with a trimmer on the control's front panel. The digital version eliminates the need for an analog-to-digital conversion capability in the machine control.
Gauging probe from Marposs does contact scanning and measurement on gear grinders and machining systems.
The other product Marposs announced for IMTS is the Mida Visual Tool Setter (VTS). The device incorporates a new tool geometry measurement system from the company that achieves micron and sub-micron precision on small parts and detects incorrect mounting of micro tools in toolholders and spindles.
The VTS does all of this with a visual system that includes a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera for imaging. By analyzing images, the VTS calculates tool tip position, diameter, run-out, and cutter radius while the tool turns at full rotational speed in the spindle. When the spindle stops or runs at slow speed, the VTS can examine the profile integrity and surface of a tool.
Marposs states that the VTS has a resolution of 0.1 micron and measures cutting tools ranging from 10 microns to 40 mm dia, with a repeatability of 0.2 micron.
Measurement data are then automatically inputted into a machine's CNC tool table via a PC-based Ethernet connection.
Marposs' visual tool-setting system calculates tool placement and surface quality.