New Measurement Tools Improve Process Control, Says Renishaw

Metrology specialist Renishaw has unveiled several tools that are designed to improve the accuracy and speed of part measurement and machine system calibration.

These include:

- SPRINT, a CNC machine tool scanning system for rapid form and profile measurement of prismatic and complex 3D parts.

- The Equator 300 Extended Height (EH) gauging system, an enhanced version of the original 300 model, doubling the amount of space below the measuring volume to accept parts up to 300 mm (11.8 in) high, parts attached to machining fixtures, and those handled by automated systems such as robots and conveyors.

- The XR20-W, a Bluetooth-enabled wireless calibration system that works with two of the company's laser interferometers to measure the angular position of rotary axes on machining systems to within +/-1 arc second.

RENISHAWPIC The Equator Extended Height gauging system rapidly scans part sizes up to 33 in high. Credit: Renishaw

"We are trying to instill the idea of process control with the new systems," said Jeff Seliga, marketing services manager for Renishaw, the UK-based company whose U.S. office is in Hoffman Estates, Ill., in an interview with ThomasNet News at last month's International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS).

SPRINT is a 5-axis on-machine measurement system with analog contact-scanning technology, a scanning speed of 15 m/min (49 ft/min), and the ability to measure 1,000 3D data points per second and analyze them in real time. The system's analytical capabilities provide high levels of workpiece measurement, inspection, adaptive machining, and automated process control, all of which can optimize machine utilization and cycle time, Renishaw stated.

The system is equipped with the OSP60 scanning probe, whose analog sensor maintains resolution accuracy of 0.1 micron in 3D measurement. The sensor generates continuous deflection output. When combined with machine position, this allows it to derive the true location of the part surface it is measuring.

SPRINT also measures blade sections. It can be integrated with automated procedures for setup, blade alignment, scanning, and data collection. The system is extremely accurate and faster than touch-trigger systems, Renishaw claimed.

The company said the system can be used in different measurement applications. These include toolkit, in which SPRINT measures diameters on multi-tasking machines, as well as measurements of part run-out, machine centerlines, and circularity. In machine health check, SPRINT inspects for kinematic center and linear errors and verifies machine capability in under a minute. The prismatic checks application includes high-speed scanning of circles, arcs and planes, discrete point measurement for part setup, and an NC update for on-machine process control.

The Equator EH gauging system is a low-cost option to dedicated units. The model conducts high-speed inspections of mass-produced parts. Renishaw said it is repeatable, easy to use, and capable of switching between parts in seconds, to facilitate use on multiple machining systems or to accept parts from different machines.

The gauging technology compares parts to a master, usually in the form of a CAD file loaded into the system's software. Features include automatic compensation for changes in thermal conditions, which means the device is as accurate on a shop floor as in a temperature-controlled lab.

The Equator system uses Renishaw's3-axis SP25 analog probe, which attaches to SH25 stylus holders. A rack contains up to six stylus configurations that can be used on the gauge without requalification each time.

The device scans at a rate of 1,000 points per second and achieves resolution of 0.0002 mm. It can be supplied with fixture plates to accommodate part heights, and comes with various operating elements including a machine controller with a joystick. The EH gauging system measures 570 by 500 by 850 mm (22.4 by 19.6 by 33.4 in). It features MODUS programming software and the EZ-IO kit for automation integration.

The XR20-W rotary axis calibration system measures the angular position of rotary axes on lathes, 4- and 5-axis machine tools, milling machines, trunion tables, and spindles. Designed for use with Renishaw's XL-80 or ML10 laser interferometers, the system combines readings of the rotary calibrator and laser to detect positioning errors.

The XR20-W weighs a little more than 2 lb and is designed for fast setup. It attaches to a rotary axis with a flexible mounting ring and can be centered within +/- 1 mm (0.04 in) with a visual aid. Additional mounting options are available for rotary tables with unsuitable center recesses, and there is a chuck adapter for lathes. Special software permits the XR20-W to be used in off-center applications such as on trunnions and head-type 5-axis machines. The software does this by calculating true position and recording axis performance and errors and comparing these data to reference points.

Metrology isn't the only new-product area at Renishaw. The company also discussed at IMTS an additive manufacturing system it developed, which ThomasNet News will cover in an upcoming article.

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