Quality Innovations: Caliper Software
Verisurf’s Caliper software aims to help gages catch up with coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). It allows customers to streamline their inspection process and automate their hand tool measurements.
Released in late 2007, Verisurf Caliper is a software product from Verisurf Software Inc. (Anaheim, CA) that allows customers to automate the process of inspection and reporting. Manufacturers can take their native computer-aided design (CAD) models from Autocad/Autodesk, Solidworks, Pro-E, Catia, UG, or other formats and create and implement operator-prompted, automated inspection routines. Dimensions from the CAD model can be used automatically, eliminating the need for manual input. Customizable reports are generated automatically, and mapped output for database statistical process control (SPC) is included. The software works with a variety of input devices including digital calipers.
Verisurf developed the software specifically for a customer in the woodworking industry, says Scott Knoche, director of sales and marketing at Verisurf Software Inc. The furniture-maker used Verisurf’s software throughout the factory for verifying machine setup and product quality.
“It was their desire to add this functionality,” Knoche says. “It was a customer-driven requirement. We quickly created the application and had it working in very short order, and they found it solved a number of issues and a number of needs.”
The original customer had rudimentary measurements that were suited to gages rather than CMMs, but gages were not interfaced to automated programs. They wanted to do the same thing for hand tools that they were able to do with portable CMM arms. The customer did not take many measurements, and the rest of the process was already automated. With the machine setups, they had just a couple of measurements that really lent themselves to calipers. Now that it is also part of the automated process, the data actually gets added to their inspection results along with the CMM measurements.
Though it was developed for a specific customer, Knoche says it could be used by any number of customers and applications. It helps those using hand tools for digital measurements who are measuring and recording by hand.
This technology uses a dimension CAD model. If the dimensions are there, the software automatically uses them. It shows operators what the measurement is and records it automatically.
“It’s a model-based inspection process, but uses dimensions from the model, rather than surface or wireframe geometry for the nominal information,” Knoche says.
Basically, this method automates the process, and puts the software in charge.
“The software is controlling the inspection,” Knoche says. “Anything that is out of tolerance will automatically be flagged.”
Anybody taking manual measurements with gages and writing down the measurements could benefit from this software. It saves them from having to hand write measurements and query the model to get the necessary measurement.
“You’re looking at an efficiency gain,” Knoche says, “and an improvement in quality because of the process control that you are adding.”
Just as CMMs automate the process, this software allows operators to automate a process with digital hand tools.
The idea is that it would lend itself to any type of device or interface, wired or wireless, Knoche says. Operators are now able to run around with calipers as needed and the results will feed into the program wirelessly.
The gage simply needs to have a digital output, and requires a dimension CAD model. If operators have a CAD model that is not dimensioned, Verisurf software has the ability to create dimensions.
“We have full CAD capability. We can actually create dimensions in the model,” Knoche says. Previously operators would have been getting the nominal information, reading it from a drawing and manually going into the model to query the dimensions. Then the operator would take measurements and hand record them onto an inspection form. The manual method does not provide built-in process control allowing for a set routine and an inspection plan. But by using the software, the manual process-with its potential for error-is eliminated.
“It controls how the guy inspects the part,” Knoche says. “The way they were doing it before might be open to omissions or mistakes, such as not recording a key feature that needs to be checked.”
Technology ContactFor more information on the Caliper software, contact:
- Verisurf Software Inc.
1553 N. Harmony Circle
Anaheim, CA 92807