Adaptive manufacturing with metrology feedback

To perform the complex mathematical calculations required for metrology-based, real-time adaptive control of CNC machining processes, powerful CMM software needs to be directly integrated within the manufacturing system.

CappsNC, from Applied Automation Software, an adaptation of CappsDMIS CMM software, has been developed to program any machining centre so that it can perform advanced measurement, metrology and GD&T calculations using the standard DMIS language. Offline programming, with automatic collision avoidance and five-axis toolpath generation, allows the programming of all machine configurations, including multi-axis mill-turn machines.
A CAM style programming environment with realistic machine tool virtual model, simulation capabilities, automatic path generation with collision avoidance, and complete geometrical fitting and tolerancing functionality, are embedded within the CappsNC programming environment. Multi-view graphics with an intuitive UI programming environment make it simple to create measuring programs for any machine tool configurations.
CappsNC also connects with a comprehensive library of machine tool controllers, providing a real-time direct interface: a G-code program is generated from the DMIS measuring program. CappsNC graphics displays live 3D simulation of the measurement process with calculations performed as soon as measured data is collected. The calculated metrology characteristics, such as best-fitting the data set to a CAD model, are integral to ‘on-the-fly’ decision making. These are written back to the machine tool CNC as a part of the adaptive control cycle.
AAS says that CappsNC is an independent measuring probe brand that uses its own generated macros and can work with existing installed machine tool probes.
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PC-DMIS 2018 R2 available from Hexagon

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division recently launched PC-DMIS 2018 R2, the latest edition of its measurement software.

PC-DMIS 2018 R2 introduces a new reporting workflow, making it easier than ever to create customised reports with simple drag and drop functionality and an intuitive slideshow-style interface. A new QuickPath tool expands on existing QuickFeature functionality to simplify feature creation with a safe path. PC-DMIS 2018 R2 also introduces the ability to add run charts from qs-STAT into the PC-DMIS report.
Improved probe utility allows users to mark favourite tip configurations, create required tip angles by simply clicking on CAD, and buy replacements with shopping cart tools; a new e-Store is coming soon to Improvements in the use of lasers, specifically for path creation and offline programming, also feature in the latest release.
“PC-DMIS 2018 R2 continues the recent trend towards maximising productivity in the three major metrology tasks: creation, execution and collaboration,” states Ken Woodbine, product line manager for Metrology Software at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. “Creating measurement routines is even simpler and more intuitive with the addition of both QuickPath for adding motion in ‘walk up and measure’ applications, and the offline path visualisation and simulation for laser probes. Execution is also streamlined with improvements to our ‘Inspect’ module, making it easier to control access to routines, and for operators to search and find routines and reports.
“Collaboration is the ‘why’ of metrology, and PC-DMIS continues to work seamlessly with even more measurement devices and sensors,” he continues. “In addition, the introduction of Q-DAS run chart integration and ‘Shopshot’ offers a fuller picture of production processes.”
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Optical µCMM takes centre stage

Alicona’s recently introduced Optical µCMM was displayed at the recent Advanced Engineering exhibition in Birmingham, UK.

The µCMM is said to be the only purely optical micro-coordinate 3D measuring system available, providing high levels of accuracy not available on multi-sensor machines. Users benefit from all the advantages of tactile co-ordinate measuring technology, but with optical surface measurement to measure dimensions, position, shape and surface finish of components using just one optical sensor.
When supplied with GD&T software, µCMM offers the high geometric measurement of a number of 3D features in relation to each other, which provides the ability to measure small surface features with sub-micron accuracy in a short time. In addition to geometric position, users are able to measure surface finish in the same cycle, thus providing improved productivity.
The range of measurable surfaces includes all common industrial materials and composites, such as plastic, PCD, CFRP, ceramics, chrome, silicon and so on, including matt and polished components. Simple automated operation is implemented by single-button solutions built into a specially designed handheld remote controller. Air-bearing axles with linear drives enable wear-free use and high-precision, rapid measurement, says Alicona.
Options include the motorised Real3D Rotation Unit, which turns the three-axis system into a five-axis system and enables users to measure components from several directions, including round parts.
The automation of measurement operations is facilitated by the Automation Manager interface. Thus, µCMM offers the fully automatic measurement and evaluation of surface roughness parameters and GD&T features. The measurement result is therefore completely operator-independent.
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Updated Radian laser tracker from API

API has announced the launch of its updated series of Radian laser trackers. The extended Radian laser tracker range comprises three models: Radian Pro, Radian Plus and Radian Core.

Radian Pro offers both absolute distance measurement (ADM) and inferometer (IFM) capability, and is available with 20, 50 and 80 m range options, as well as six degrees of freedom (6DoF). The trackers can be provided with calibration tools to perform dynamic calibration and tracking of industrial robots and machine tools, delivering enhanced performance of manufacturing processes by reducing process variation.
With regard to Radian Plus, this laser tracker is supplied as standard with the API vProbe or iScan. The vProbe is a handheld, lightweight tactile probe that extends the laser tracker co-ordinate measuring capabilities by permitting intricate features and part characteristics outside the line-of-sight tracker set-up. API’s vProbe is said to offer more versatility than a portable arm CMM and is suitable for large parts and styli lengths up to 500 mm. Alternatively, API iScan is a handheld, lightweight non-contact scanner with higher data rate and point cloud capture speed, as well as a newly developed global position sensor system.
Finally, Radian Core is a spherically-mounted retroflector (SMR) tracker only, with measuring ranges of 50
and 80 m.
All of API’s laser trackers feature the Unibody design that uses shaft-mounted motors, encoders and laser; the latter helps minimise ABBE offset errors. Unibody houses the laser source, optics, camera and major head electronics in the centre of the tracker body, centring all heat sources and allowing rapid distribution of heat throughout the body during warm-up or any drastic ambient temperature variations.
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Quickstep halves part set-up time

The combination of MSP’s NC-Checker and NC-PerfectPart software is delivering significant savings for five-axis machining processes at Bankstown-based Quickstep Technologies, the largest independent aerospace-grade composites manufacturer in Australia.

Implementation of NC-PerfectPart and NC-Checker software, supported by Renishaw probing technology, provides the detailed information required to ensure machines stay within specified parameters, improving set-up times for Quickstep’s freeform parts.
NC-Checker first carries out a calibration check on the probe. Once this is complete, the software performs five-axis checks of the machine tool to verify its accuracy, providing a subsequent report. This check takes just minutes to complete, meaning it can be run on a regular basis to provide routine monitoring of the machine’s geometry.
The parts being produced by Quickstep Technologies are complex in shape, so work holding is a major issue when using traditional manufacturing methods. Each part has a dedicated composite vacuum fixture with three or four fixed location tooling spheres. The centre points of the spheres are known relative to the part geometry, and this information is used to locate the fixture or part in a suitable work offset co-ordinate system for machining.
Prior to using NC-PerfectPart, these datums were generated using standard cycles within the Siemens control. While this achieved results, it was limited in that it was time consuming and open to human error. NC-PerfectPart fully automates this process and eliminates any human error. Furthermore, the software removes the need to precisely position the part, producing time savings of 50% per component.
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