Quality Innovations: Multisensor Measuring
February 22, 2008
Hexagon Metrology (North Kingstown, RI) addresses the need for eliminating operator subjective issues in their new release of the Brown & Sharpe Optiv line of multisensor measurement systems.
Through a simple intuitive setup, the system can inspect the part without operator interaction. In turn, this provides simplification of inspection processes and reduces time to market. Automation of the various measurement disciplines provides faster data acquisition, while eradicating any type of operator judgment calls, says Zvonimir Kotnik, product manager for Vision and Multisensor products.
“By rapidly capturing potential problem areas the user can make on-the-fly decisions to resolve errors without scrapping hundreds of parts, and in turn save the company costs associated with scrap losses,” Kotnik says. Implementing this type of technology also may prevent costly bottlenecks.
“Our goal, in line with most manufacturers in the industry, is to reduce the time it takes to get product to market,” Kotnik says.
One of the key benefits is that the multisensor system can be used with contact and noncontact sensors, doing so without compromising the accuracy of the measurement. The machine is capable of such measurements either in a lab and or in harsh environments near production on the shop floor.
Optiv systems provide optical, camera, laser and tactile probing in a variety of configurations. The product line has more than 25 possible size/accuracy combinations, plus a variety of accessories, which provide the Optiv systems 2-D and 3-D applications within a single system. For example, the unique dual-Z axis option provides added value by minimizing part setups, thereby eliminating potential positioning errors.
The Optiv system’s dual-Z axis also differentiates itself from other multisensor systems in that it maximizes the measurement envelope while delivering faster measurement cycles than most multisensor systems with a single Z axis.
With other equipment, “You can’t see around the corners,” Kotnik says, and operators may only be able to see in X and Y.
The Optiv operates under PC-DMIS software, developed for many years for tactile coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), and now provided for noncontact machines under the PC-DMIS Vision version. PC-DMIS Vision merges the computer-aided design (CAD) programming functionality with vision-based software. The offline programming capabilities coupled with the CAD provides, among other things, simulated lighting and intensity, along with magnification and camera image simulation. These features allow maximum system uptime, because with PC-DMIS Vision, operators are not restricted to programming the part on the measurement system itself.
CAD translators and direct CAD interfaces to all major CAD formats ensure complete compatibility regardless of the native CAD system.
“In the old days,” Kotnik says, “Operators programmed features manually on the machine. By having an ability to use CAD model and CAD data, programming time is greatly reduced.”
In specific safety-critical industries, such as medical or aerospace, it is invaluable to work with the native model without having to translate it into an intermediate step. By using the customer’s original model, design and intent, nothing is lost in translation.
Kotnik says, “In some cases customers can actually run their existing CMM programs on the Optiv as written. The power of a multisensor platform like Optiv is that you can combine the best aspects of 2-D and 3-D measurement in a single powerful system. Plus, PC-DMIS is so widely adopted that a programmer familiar with PC-DMIS should have a very short learning curve when using it on a multisensor system.”
By combining the power of CAD with the versatility of simplified editing, the operator has all the benefits of a toolmakers’ microscope, optical comparator and CMM combined in a single measurement solution.
However, the Optiv is not the only solution to test, inspection or analysis problems, Kotnik says.
“You can go back to the techniques that have started this entire industry: the optical comparator or toolmakers’ microscope,” Kotnik says. “These are the manual systems you can use for this type of measurement. The disadvantage is that it may compromise accuracy because measurements have to be done in multiple setups and are interpreted by an operator.”
The Optiv system’s modular, building block design allows companies to purchase the basic Optiv system and later add more sensors. “With the basic building block system, you can add additional sensors as the need arises,” Kotnik says.
Technology ContactFor more information on the Optiv, contact
- Hexagon Metrology Inc.
250 Circuit Dr.
North Kingstown, RI 02852