Faro TracerSI boosts laser-guided assembly

Faro has released the next generation of its Tracer platform for laser-guided assembly and verification: the TracerSI laser projection system. TracerSI is a fully integrated solution that includes improved hardware built upon the previous TracerM product and BuildIT projector software.

Like TracerM, TracerSI uses 3D CAD information to project 3D laser images on to a physical surface and provide a live, visually rich virtual template that assemblers can use to quickly position components with confidence. This solution can deliver significant ROI as organisations no longer have to invest capital in physical templates, such as wood or metal moulds or tools, which also have to be built, maintained, stored and sometimes repaired. Additionally, real-time manufacturing errors are minimised and, as a result, costly scrap and rework costs are reduced. There are actual, documented cases where rework and scrap savings alone lead to payback periods as short as 90 days, says Faro.
TracerSI is said to represent the first of its kind laser scanning camera, with projection and high-resolution image scanning capabilities throughout its entire projection volume. Since the laser scanning camera does not rely on lenses or conventional image capture, the depth of field is equal to the full projection range. In addition, there are no lighting limitations since it is laser illuminated, and there are no restrictions on frame size or resolution.
Faro’s TracerSI moves guidance assembly forward through its native support of feature-based alignment. As a result, retroreflectors (special targets that reflect light back to the original source) do not have to be placed on or around the object or assembly. This convenience substantially reduces the time required for set up.
For further information www.faro.com

Instant measurement system available from Vision

Vision Engineering has announced the general availability of its TVM field of view (FOV) video measurement system.

The non-contact TVM combines a small footprint with larger system performance and ease of use. Time-saving, instant FOV measurements and a moving stage allow larger components to be measured quickly and easily.
The TVM series includes the TVM20 and TVM35, with FOV sizes of 20 and 35 mm respectively. Both systems are designed to meet rigorous quality assurance applications in automotive, aerospace, medical and plastics manufacturing. Cylindrical, flat or square components can be measured instantly within the FOV at the click of a mouse.
As with other measurement and inspection systems from Vision Engineering, TVM systems can be configured to suit specific applications, including small pressed components, turned parts, injection moulded plastics, tubes and cables, while the addition of a manually controlled stage extends measurement for larger components up to 200 x 100 mm.
The combination of the TVM’s flat-field telecentric lens and collimated sub-stage lighting, featuring a newly developed quadrant LED ring light, creates a sharp image of components on the HD monitor, and significantly improves the video edge detection of complex parts such as threads and valves.
The TVM’s user-friendly software comprises a suite of features that includes simple data import/export, image stitching and reporting facilities.
TVM20 and TVM35 systems are manufactured in the UK at Vision Engineering’s global headquarters.
For further information www.visioneng.com

Boosting manual 2D inspection

If the manual inspection of 2D components on a measuring machine, optical profile projector or measuring microscope is too time consuming or not sufficiently precise, the newly developed Quadra-Chek 2000 from Heidenhain can solve the problem.

Equipped with embedded evaluation software and a high-resolution, 7”, hardened colour touch screen, the unit has a built-in power supply, rugged aluminium housing and fan-less cooling. Heidenhain says these factors make it suitable for applications on the shop floor as well as in the inspection room.
Point acquisition using X and Y hand wheels, and perhaps also stage rotation, is simple using crosshairs or via a connected optical edge detector. The latter enables a high level of repeatability and reduces measurement uncertainty by eliminating subjective error. Predefined geometry tools record the co-ordinates of 2D features such as points, lines, circles, slots and squares, and measure the distances and angles between them. A ‘Measure Magic’ function simplifies inspection further by using the acquired points to recognise, select and fit the geometry automatically.
When dealing with complex contours and repetitive inspection, a user can automatically record the measuring routine and run it at any time. Quadra-Chek 2000 keeps track of the presets, sequence of measurements, tolerances and data output commands. When the recorded program is executed again, the unit displays on-screen user guidance detailing all of the features to be measured.
The menu-driven software is context-sensitive, showing only those functions that are available in the current measuring situation. Results are captured and displayed graphically.
For further information www.heidenhain.com

Lighting factory uses CT for quality control

Heavy-duty industrial lighting manufacturer Nordic Lights is using computed tomography (CT) to avoid the expense of destructive testing and eliminate critical measurement errors caused by powder spraying for part preparation.

To supersede the company’s previous white light system, a new measurement solution was required capable of dealing efficiently with a variety of materials as well as both internal and external feature inspection. The Nordic Lights team consulted various suppliers to determine the best solution. A Nikon CT machine, XT H 225 ST, with dual reflection and transmission targets, has since been installed to inspect and approve components before assembly.
The primary purpose of the CT system is to validate samples from suppliers, as well as new parts and modified components from new moulds. A secondary purpose is troubleshooting. During the test phase, if there are any failures, complete assemblies can be scanned to identify the cause without having to open or destroy the product. The system has, for example, been used to search for air pockets or voids in the silicone glue between the aluminium housing and the lens of a light that has suffered water leakage. This would not have been possible with the white light system.
Test engineer Carl-Anton Manns, who took part in the search for a new inspection system, says: “The instrument needed to be able to analyse smooth reflective surfaces with high precision, which the XT H 225 ST does with repeatable accuracy. Being a non-destructive process was also a big plus point.”
For further information www.nikonmetrology.com

Aberlink – a Helix Precision decision

Hull-based subcontractor Helix Precision Machining has recently invested in a Zenith 3 CMM from Aberlink, as company director Lee Sansam explains: “To help prevent non-conformance situations and rework, we apply a company-wide, ‘right-first-time’, total quality approach to all of our processes, and make regular strategic investments in the best-available inspection aids.”

Taking the opportunity to compare the merits of various machines, Helix Precision agreed that, due to its large capacity, speed of operation and accuracy requirements, the Zenith 3 from Aberlink was the CMM of choice for the company’s future needs.
“It particularly helped that Aberlink’s intuitive software made the Zenith 3 the easiest to use of the CMMs we considered,” says Lee Sansam. “Furthermore, unlike other brands, Aberlink provide unlimited free software updates, while it was also the least expensive of the machines we looked at.”
Following the CMM’s installation and an Aberlink training course, quality staff at Helix Precision quickly mastered the new CMM’s operating system. To further exploit the Zenith 3’s automatic CNC inspection routines, quality personnel will soon begin writing part programs for repeat work.
“We will then be able to instantly recall the relevant program, load a single large component or multiple smaller parts on to the Zenith 3, then start a fully automatic CNC measuring routine,” says Sansam. “On completion, when required, our new CMM will also generate detailed inspection reports.
“Our Aberlink’s Zenith 3 has already proven to be a great success. Not only has it enabled the rapid, precise measurement of complex components, but has improved our accuracy capability and significantly speeded-up the throughput of work in our busy quality department.”
For further information www.aberlink.com

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