Automating Metrology Data on Machining Centers Paper at Manufacturing News.
Ray Karadayi, President and CEO of Applied Automation Technologies
The primary goal of any shop is manufacturing dimensionally accurate parts at minimum cost. Digitizing measurement data where parts are manufactured and sharing that data with all manufacturing devices enables a modern competitive factory for many industries.
Implementing Industry 4.0 or Smart Factory manufacturing can sound daunting, but the successful Smart Factory works because, in fact, it is primarily a reduction of complexity, in which the data needed to optimize quality and throughput is largely generated automatically and instantly sharable throughout the enterprise with little need for human intervention.
Metrology data is the life blood of the Smart Factory. The challenge in smart manufacturing is to ensure not only that the measurement data itself is accurate, but also shareable through digitization, and that a network is in place so that all manufacturing devices can immediately use the information. For that to happen, the generation of the data must be automated.
The history of modern metrology can, in a sense, be tracking the movement of part measurement from distant metrology equipment to as close as possible to the production equipment itself-culminating with the ability to measure the part with the production equipment itself. External coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) have become faster and more accurate over time, but require the removal of a part from, say, a machining center, placement in the CMM, and, when necessary, a return to a machining center for further work. These steps take time and introduce new opportunities for human or automation equipment error.
Another method of measurement is the use of dedicated gauges that can be used to very quickly collect measurement data directly on the shop floor. These gauges provide measurement data at high rates and are very effective for high-volume production. The disadvantage is their lack of flexibility: designed for a single part, they are expensive to maintain or modify.
More recently, advanced measurement software-such as CappsNC from Applied Automation Technologies (AAT3D)-enables machine tools themselves to perform measurements like a CMM. Offline programming with virtual machine models and using CAD data allow the machine tool to be programmed to perform complex measurement and reporting tasks, including multi-datum profile and true position analysis. This information can immediately be used to improve the machining process by adapting various machining parameters such as work offsets and tool offsets. Realistic program simulations, collision avoidance and optimum measurement path generations for multiple geometric features makes it easy to program and flexible to make changes for any type of machine tool configurations. This ultimately enables an easy method of quickly generating metrology data directly at the production source.
AAT3D defines the process of generating metrology information directly on the machine tool and immediately using it to make adjustments as “Smart Machining.” Using closed-loop feedback to provide correction for the machining process allows the system to be self-adapting to factors that affect the machining process and the quality of products being machined. AAT3D software connects to the machine tool with an ethernet cable, can read and write to any controller parameter and has a live connection with the machine tool controller. This ability allows a powerful metrology software to run outside of the machine tool controller yet work as a part of the machining process…..
The full article can be read at Manufacturing News