Quality Innovations: Edgy Design
September 1, 2009
The appeal of doing two things at once is obvious, which is probably why drivers need to be told not to send text messages while behind the wheel. But sometimes doing two things at once makes sense, as when performing both roughness and contour measurements.
A new instrument from Hommel-Etamic (Rochester Hills, MI) can measure roughness and contour of almost any shape in one pass with a single probe.
Brad Ludwick, product manager at Hommel-Etamic, and Andy Blind, vice president of sales, say that it is the overall packaging that makes the nanoscan unique, with its sensor and range-over-resolution ratio. The nanoscan can measure surfaces with a stroke of 24 millimeters with a resolution of 0.68 nanometer over the entire measuring range.
The instrument allows operators to measure small tolerances and complex measuring tasks in short cycle times. It is appropriate for applications among producers of high-precision parts and assemblies in which contour and roughness features are critical. The instrument can capture micro and macro structures of parts with small tolerances.
In the company’s years of producing part measurement equipment, Hommel-Etamic realized that while traditional technologies worked for some applications, they also could be improved.
“We designed this system to meet the demands of the future,” Blind says.
In some cases, this means using just one machine where two were needed before. In addition, a new Hommel-Etamic drive system reduces the basic mechanical disturbances, allowing for measurement of the finest roughness. The precision of the interferometric measuring principle also contributes to the measuring system’s high linearity. Because of its accuracy in the combined roughness and contour probe, it requires no compensation.
The system recognizes the used probe arm automatically and protects the probe tips from being accidentally damaged with an electronic monitor. It also comes with RFID tracking and can store information directly.
“It can be used by a machine operator, but they are getting results that are laboratory grade, on the shop floor,” Ludwick says.
Blind says software is the driving mechanism behind the nanoscan and compares the hardware to a beautiful car: You won’t go far if you don’t know how to drive it.
Though the software is such a driving force, operators should be able to program the system without prolonged training, Blind adds.
The product was first released in Germany, and introduced to the U.S. market at IMTS 2008.
Reaction has been positive. “When we put a system together for a specific application, the customer really appreciates the technology of the machine,” Ludwick says.
Though the system has been well-received, the initial investment cost is one downside, as the company says it is at least twice the cost of some measurement systems. Similar machines do exist, but with lower accuracy and higher noise levels, Blind says. Either that or the customer would need two machines: one for surface finish and one for contour. The nanoscan can quickly measure outside diameter or inside diameter with full precision.
“The speed of the unit also sets it apart,” Blind says. With faster set-up times, productivity improvements are possible.
Measurement capabilities include bearing measurement, optical applications, medical, gas and diesel injectors.
Technology ContactFor more information, contact:
1505 Hamlin Rd.
Rochester Hills, MI 48309