topometric GmbH has developed a multi-door fixture for an optical inspection system, which helps accommodate different doors for different vehicle models—both inner and outer panels and complete door assemblies. Model-specific individual door fixtures are no longer needed; just the support and contact points have to be adapted.
The multi-door fixture from topometric saves costs and storage space. Since there is no time for loading and unloading of the fixtures, the measuring machine’s capacities can be used up to 50 percent better. Measuring technicians are less tied to manual workpiece exchanges and can increase significantly the throughput of the expensive measuring device.
In each case, a door set can be measured on the multi-door fixture. The polyamide plastic contact points avoid damage to sensitive parts. (Photograph: topometric)
The relevant tilt angle for correct positioning of the parts is set on the fixture via the profile system. This enables reproducible measurements. (Photograph: topometric)
Prosthetic Device Manufacturer Relies on ShapeGrabber for Measurement and Inspection
DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, designs, manufactures and distributes orthopaedic devices and supplies including hip, knee, extremity, trauma, orthobiologics and operating room products.
Components like knee implants are checked with laser scanning, because of the complex sculptured contours required for proper functioning.
As DePuy developed more complex, sculpted medical device components, implants, and prosthetics, it found its measurement capabilities were limited by the low point density and relatively slow speed of traditional touch probe technologies.
Because its devices were being used by human patients, DePuy needed dramatically higher density of point coverage to accurately capture the form and dimensions of these complex shapes, and the ability to compare them directly to CAD designs.
To obtain the high point density necessary for accurate measurements, DePuy selected a ShapeGrabber 3D laser scanning system. The ShapeGrabber solution proved to be faster and more versatile than other laser probe systems that DePuy evaluated, and the ShapeGrabber scanner was able to measure the complex, compound curves of DePuy parts quickly and accurately.
Since choosing the ShapeGrabber system, DePuy has found that it can reconfigure the scanner quickly to accommodate parts of different sizes and can perform the quality assurance inspections it requires to ensure its low volume parts are properly formed and sized.
“For complete inspection of our anatomical implants, we opted for the touchless approach of laser scanning. Our first laser probe system was very slow and had limited function, because it could only acquire one point at a time and could only measure diameters. We moved to a ShapeGrabber 3D laser scanner, a much faster and more versatile alternative,” said Roger Erickson, DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson and Johnson subsidiary.
Dr. Heike Wenzel, managing director and CEO of Wenzel Group, talks about the challenges and trends in the metrology industry, industries driving their growth, and her outlook for the market. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Dr. Heike Wenzel
Founded by Werner Wenzel in 1968, Wenzel Group has grown from being just a small workshop with just three people in Germany to a global company with subsidiaries in the United States, China, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Switzerland, and a workforce of more than 630 employees.
Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) sat down with Dr. Heike Wenzel, managing director and CEO of Wenzel Group, to talk about the challenges and trends in the metrology industry, industries driving their growth, and her outlook.
GIVE US A BRIEF BACKGROUND ON WENZEL AND YOUR ROLE IN THE COMPANY.
Dr. Heike Wenzel (HW): We are the biggest family owned company in this industry. My father founded the company over 50 years ago, and we started with very precise parts. Now, we offer all of the tools in the metrology business—mainly CMMs—but also computer tomography solutions and all other things. Everything that is produced need to be measured, and we are the provider of the measurement equipment needed.
I grew up in the production area in the company. I really breathe the air there since the beginning. I went to university to study economics and informatics, without any thought about running the company. I started a consulting business, and I’ve seen many companies there that are interesting—but this company is our baby, it is a legacy, and I am happy to be running it now.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES IN THE METROLOGY INDUSTRY?
HW: Right now, the measuring machines are moving more in more into the production floor, because you need to have a close loop. You need to measure faster, and you need to produce faster. The trend is to produce individual, customized products; therefore, you need to produce fast and hence, you need to find out problems very early. Which is why measurement needs to be right there early in the process.
What everybody’s facing now is the need to have the right machines close to the production. And we have listened to our customers and developed solutions for it. Among our offerings now are special shop floor machines that are dedicated for this environment and have no problem with temperature differences or dirt. This will help customers get the information very early in the process so that they can change it and send the information back to the production machine; this is very important. As you need to be agile, the different machines need to communicate together—so you need this communication between the machines, and therefore software needs to be integrated in the whole process. This is also something that our customers need.
HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS TOWARD THEIR SMART FACTORY JOURNEY?
HW: The most important thing is, as we talk about smart factory, Industry 4.0, or Internet of Things (IoT), we help our customers get the right things, the right machines, and then to integrate them into the process so that these machines can communicate with each other.
YOU SAID MEASURING MACHINES ARE BEING PLACED IN THE FACTORY FLOOR. ARE THEY BEING INTEGRATED INLINE, OR ARE THEY STILL SEPARATE SYSTEMS?
HW: Yes, you need to be close to production so that you don’t have to go to the measuring room, and to lose time there. Whether it is integrated inline automation process or traditional stand-alone, it much depends on the application.
WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE DRIVING GROWTH?
HW: The aviation industry is still growing a lot. Measurement is getting more and more important because you need 100% accuracy there, because we need to be secure there. Of course, 3D printing is also a very important thing in production in general, and it is likewise driving the metrology business. We have our computer tomography solutions to measure those parts, because you can’t measure 3D printed parts without destroying them—so this is a growing business for us. Finally, the medical industry is also a growing business.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES AT WENZEL.
HW: What we are highlighting right now is the shop floor machine (SF87), which is dedicated to the shop floor environment. It does not have any air bearings, and modern machine design with small footprint, flexible and universal use can be easily integration into inline and automation processes. What is new—which we have launched early this year—is a measuring arm for mobile measurement; this helps customers to be more flexible for use in both production and quality measurement process.
HOW ARE MANUFACTURERS JUSTIFYING THE NEED TO ADAPT AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS IN THEIR LINE?
HW: All new things take time. People are very careful; they start with one machine close to the line, and they see how it works, before fully adopting the systems. As they think measurement is something complicated, it is our task to make these systems easy to use in the production area. Overall, it will take some time, but the manufacturing side is open for it because they see it is necessary, there is no way to go around it.
WHAT MAKES WENZEL’S METROLOGY SOLUTIONS UNIQUE?
HW: What makes our products unique is our manufacturing—we produce everything ourselves. We produce every part; we get the granite from South Africa and we cut it ourselves to make sure of the quality of the whole process of the machine production.
And as we are a family owned company, we are really behind the company. My name is on the machine, so I am really invested personally, and I am very much aware of what is going on in our production.
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR NEXT YEAR?
HW: To be honest, it is not a very exciting time right now because there are so many things happening worldwide, and the world is changing so much and so fast. The industry is sometimes waiting for the next steps, and decisions are not being made so fast at the moment, and that is a problem—which is why the market is going down.
But I hope this will change soon because the market needs to develop. We need a breakthrough very soon so that the market will go up again. At present, it is very difficult to look at the future. The forecast is good if you ask our sales force, they are all very positive about the many interesting projects—but the decisions are just not made as quickly as we would have hoped.
Renishaw’s SFP2, a surface finish measurement probe designed for use with the REVO 5-axis measurement system on coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), increases the REVO system’s surface finish measurement ability.
The REVO system offers a multi-sensor capability with touch trigger, high speed tactile scanning and non-contact vision measurement on a single CMM.
The surface finish system is fully integrated with the standard CMM inspection program, thanks to the automatic changing of the SFP2 probe and stylus holders using the MRS-2 rack and RCP TC-3 ports. It is managed by the same I++ DME compliant interface as the REVO system, and the MODUS metrology software provides full user functionality.
Variations in lighting conditions and ongoing post-deployment support are just some factors to consider before buying a vision system. By Didier Lacroix, senior vice president, international sales and services, Cognex.
The first release of Hexagon’s PC-DMIS 2017 measurement software has several new features. Basic scanning operations are extended to QuickMeasure tools, while a new measurement strategy for AutoFeature Plane enables discrete point selection. QuickFeature selection is also now available in the Live View on optical CMMs.
Model and mould-maker Sammer, Machining Centres located in Eugendorf near Salzburg, Austria, is mostly engaged in the production of moulds for the automotive industry, including cylinder heads, crankcases and transmission housings. By Winfried Weiland, head of marketing, Blum-Novotest GmbH.
Complex components can be analysed in a fully function-orientated manner with a combination of gear and 3D coordinate metrology. By Heinrich Brüderle, sales manager Europe and America, Wenzel
The requirements for metrology regarding throughput and flexibility are steadily increasing. Not only are individual measuring methods becoming faster—measuring systems should also become universally deployable. Ideally, different kinds of measurement tasks should therefore be able to be performed by one single system and in one process.
Entire Metrological Analysis
In conjunction with a change rack, it is possible to automatically switch between different probe configurations during the course of a measurement program. An intervention by the operator is not required and thus reproducible, user-independent measurement results can be achieved.The combination of gear and 3D coordinate metrology not only allows the complete measurement of various gear, prismatic and free-form components but also the entire metrological analysis with regard to form and location. This means that complex components can be analysed in a fully function-orientated manner. This is particularly evident in the case of components where gearing and geometrical elements are combined, such as planetary gear carrier sets.
Gear and 3D measuring systems normally differ in their construction. Gear measuring systems are conceived for measuring rotationally symmetrical workpieces with three linear and one rotary axis. Gear measurements can be performed according to gearing principles with the aid of the integrated rotary table, thus enabling optimum tactile contact conditions.
On the other hand, 3D coordinate measuring systems are more universally applicable due to their rectangular measuring volume, with prismatic and free-form components being typical.
The accuracy and acceptance procedures are also based on the respective application fields. Gear measuring machines are accepted according to the VDI/VDE-Directives 2612/13 and 3D measuring machines according to the ISO 10360 series of standards. The data from the 3D coordinate systems describe the precision of single-point probing and linear measurements. These are performed on reference standards such as spherical reference standards, step gauges or ball bars.
In order to combine both metrology principles, both acceptance procedures are used on a combination machine. In favour of achieving an optimal precision, the smallest residual, structural errors are captured and compensated by CAA laser compensation. These errors are reduced to a minimum in various ways, such as structures made with mechanical precision and the application of hand-lapped granite guideways.
Measuring Against CAD Data
If a 3D coordinate measuring machine is equipped with an integrated rotary table, the basics of gear metrology can be combined with the flexibility of 3D coordinate measuring machines. This procedure provides the possibility to use gear measuring software as well as 3D measuring software on one measuring machine.
In this way, prismatic components, for example cases can be programmed and measured against the CAD data, with extensive shape and position analysis also being feasible. In particular, position tolerances can be evaluated this way both in terms of production as well as function. On request, certain machine sizes can be equipped with tailstocks for the measurement of shafts.
The optimal utilisation of the coordinate measuring machine is due to the application of the 3D and gear measuring software. A broad range of gear measuring machines offers solutions analysis of minute gears up to large ring gears and bearings with a diameter of up to 6,000 mm.