While machining of titanium alloys no longer poses any major challenges for experienced machinists—when machining operations are straightforward—intricate sensor component designs made from titanium call for an appropriate tool design and an intelligent machining strategy. Article by Paul Horn GmbH.
“We have been relying on tools from Paul Horn GmbH for more than 30 years. The solution to our latest problem has once again reminded us of why,” explains Roland Burghart, who is in charge of turning at the Donaueschingen plant of Sick Stegmann GmbH. The problem related to the creation of axial recesses in intricate sensor components made from titanium.
Horn solved the task through a combination of measures, which included various special versions of its Mini system. Working in conjunction with Horn technical consultant Karl Schonhardt, the Horn designers devised a cut distribution for the difficult machining task.
The workpieces are installed inside highly sensitive gas flow measurement sensors. At the heart of these measuring units lie the oscillating transducers. The sensors are used, for example, in gas pipelines, for measuring flare gas, for vapour flow measurement, as well as in biogas plants. Sensor technology from Sick is intended to protect people from accidents, avoid damage to the environment, and supply accurate data. For this reason, the company demands a high standard of quality from its products. This starts with the individual parts and components. Tight tolerances, high surface quality, and difficult to machine materials are all part of everyday life for the Sick employees working in the area of CNC manufacturing.
To ensure high corrosion resistance, the engineers from Sick selected the titanium alloy Ti 6Al-4V (Grade 5) for the transducers. This alloy accounts for approximately 50 percent of worldwide demand for titanium. And that is because it offers a good balance between high strength and low density. The mechanical properties of this alloy are superior to those of pure titanium. One of the problems it poses during machining is that it has a tendency to work harden. When the friction becomes excessive due to the feed rate of the cutting edge being too low, work hardening of the material is induced. This shortens the life of the tools dramatically. When turning and milling titanium, it is vital to have sharp cutting edges, the right cutting parameters, and the appropriate tool coating in order for the machining of this material to be productive.
The demand for measurement tasks in which tactile and optical sensors are jointly used is set to rise more and more in the future. Here’s a technology that saves time and operating costs without compromising on reliable, precise measurement results. Article by ZEISS.
When it comes to maximum precision, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are an indispensable tool in industrial applications. To date, they have mainly been used for tactile measurement. In recent years, the need for and use of optical sensors is becoming increasingly significant. There are many reasons for this: the technical advancements being experienced in many sectors require increasingly complex parts; digitalisation and Industry 4.0 are changing manufacturing processes and thus also quality assurance; and customers have higher quality and efficiency demands, in general, nowadays. Many companies are therefore expressing the need for an all-round solution, that is, tactile and optical measurement on a CMM.
One example is the ZEISS CONTURA. Already in its fifth generation, ZEISS CONTURA is equipped with mass technology (multi-application sensor system) as standard, enabling tactile and optical measurement on a single machine. The multisensor platform means it is compatible with a variety of sensors from the ZEISS portfolio: sensors on the continuous articulating unit, star styluses or long styluses, optical or tactile, and scanning or with single point measurement. Thanks to the mass technology from ZEISS, the user acquires maximum flexibility.
Simple Sensor Switch
With ZEISS mass technology, when the sensors are operated on the continuous articulating unit, they are switched automatically. This applies to all optical sensors as well as the ZEISS VAST XXT and XDT tactile sensors.
During the sensor switch, the continuous articulating unit aligns itself in a 90 deg position, with the sensor pointing downwards. It then moves to a free place in the sensor magazine, which is usually attached to the reverse end of the measuring stage, pushes the safety flap back, moves downwards into a groove, and releases the magnetic locking mechanism in order to unlock the sensor. The new sensor is picked up in a similar way: the continuous articulating unit moves backwards and opens the safety flap, moves downwards and picks up the sensor magnetically. On the plate holding the sensor, there are three cylinder-shaped rollers which ensure that the counterpart is precisely positioned on the sensor.
Therefore, even after frequent switches, the sensor is reproducibly situated at the correct point. The measurement uncertainty is not increased by any significant extent due to the sensor bracket. Users do not need to worry that the accuracy may get out of hand if the sensor is switched repeatedly. Due to the high repetition accuracy during the sensor switch, it is not necessary to recalibrate the sensor after the switch has been carried out. Since the automatic exchange itself takes only a few seconds, ZEISS mass technology means an enormous boost in productivity – and thus time and cost savings.
The continuous articulating unit itself, as well as tactile probes from the ZEISS VAST XT gold series, are attached to the ZEISS CONTURA by means of a dovetail mechanism. This is a groove which the counterpart on the sensor or on the continuous articulating unit is pushed into and which, due to its shape and precise processing, does not allow any leeway whatsoever. Handling is easy too: the measuring technician loosens a screw mechanism and pulls the sensor or the continuous articulating unit out of the groove and inserts the new sensor. The sensor switch is completed within seconds. However, a repeated calibration is crucial during a sensor switch and is especially useful when using an active tactile sensor such as ZEISS VAST XT gold, which offers high measuring accuracy, short measurement times and long stylus lengths. All other sensors—passive, tactile as well as optical—are ideally operated on the continuous articulating unit—with all the advantages of the automatic sensor switch of ZEISS mass technology.
Optical Measuring Procedures
Optical measuring procedures are particularly interesting in parts with complex shapes if the user is required to record the surface quickly. This is useful in production in order to safeguard the quality of process steps, such as casting metal blanks or after grinding, in order to obtain a quick comparison between the current and target values of the CAD file. Optical sensors are also ideal for reverse engineering, that is, in order to generate CAD data from a prototype. Optical measurement procedures are often faster than tactile procedures and nonetheless sufficiently accurate. For sensitive parts which may not be touched, there is no alternative to optical sensors.
Various optical sensors can be more suitable depending on the application:
Chromatic-confocal white light sensor: This type of sensor is used in the area of application of workpieces with sensitive, soft, reflective or low-contrast surfaces. It records the surface of sensitive parts which may not be touched—where tactile styluses are obviously excluded. This sensor even detects transparent painted surfaces above underlying metallic layers and is suitable for transparent layers with various refractive indices. For this purpose, the sensor uses white light, which includes all wavelengths of the visible spectrum. Even strongly reflective surfaces such as glossy metal parts either in automotive and engineering or knee implants do not need to be sprayed with a contrast medium, which other optical measurement methods usually require.
ZEISS offers such a pioneering chromatic confocal white light sensor: DotScan. The sensor can be rotated and swiveled in 2.5 deg steps so that it is always optimally aligned towards the surface. In conjunction with the optional rotary stage, it is suited, for example, to the quality control of parts with complex shapes as well as glass surfaces.
Triangulation laser: suitable for the fast recording and inspection of freeform surfaces such as those required by casting tools or castings, bent sheets or plastic covers also require non-tactile measurement. The sensor moves above the part at a distance of a few centimetres and projects a line with laser light, which is thrown back from the surface into a sensor chip. Based on the angle, the sensor determines the distance from the part and therefore its surface shape. Each time the light is projected, the sensor determines hundreds of points in a line.
The maximum possible number of points with ZEISS LineScan is 700,000 measurement points per second—the number of rough points which are then calculated to provide actual measurement points in the software. Thus, point clouds which fully record the complex surfaces of even larger parts can be created in just a few minutes. Based on the point cloud, the ZEISS CALYPSO software calculates a chromatic representation using the CAD target data record as a comparison.
2D camera sensor: for very small or two-dimensional parts such as circuit boards or flat parts made of sheet metal that cannot be measured using contact means because it may result in deformation of their surfaces, the ZEISS ViScan 2D rotatable camera sensor is the ideal solution. It is capable of recording height-related information, thanks to the Autofocus function, as well as features various objective lenses, enabling increased flexibility in the working distance, area being recorded and accuracy.
The global smart manufacturing market is expected to reach $573 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 13 percent during the 2020–2027 forecast period, according to Acumen Research and Consulting.
Smart manufacturing is a method to automate manufacture of products and transaction processes. Intelligent manufacturing requires the use of automation devices and the purpose of this phase is to use information technology (IT) to support the global economy. This output reduces the workload and makes the process more efficient.
The smart manufacturing network enables the usage of integrated equipment for automated processing of the manufacturing company. These development markets are growing due to various sectors, like automobile or process manufacturers, such as chemicals and oil and gas. Smart manufacturing reduces depletion and increases manufacturing performance significantly—thus increasing productivity and resulting in long-term cost advantages.
The key driving factor in the growth of the smart manufacturing market is the advances in technology and the development of more innovative technologies and products, including cloud computing, sensors, robots, 3D printing, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), among others.
Another major factor that is having a significant effect on market growth is the significant developments undertaken by technology suppliers as well as businesses to introduce innovative technologies to maximize productivity minimize manufacturing errors and automate processes.
Some of the most important factors for smart manufacturing development are the positive influence of policy programs and investments in supporting smart manufacturing. It is anticipated it will continue to boost growth in both developed and developing economies. For instance, the China 2025 Made in China Plan will spend more than $3 trillion in advanced manufacturing.
Another significant factor that is projected to fuel the demand growth of smart manufacturing is the increasing emphasis among manufacturers on real-time data analysis. This is to increase visibility in terms of predictive system maintenance, in order to prevent repairs during operations.
ZEISS’ investment in Senorics marks the start of a technology collaboration with the sensorics startup based in Dresden, Germany. The partnership aims to further the joint development of small and cost-effective sensors for industrial use in quality assurance and in process monitoring, e.g. on production lines for foodstuffs, agricultural products, plastics and medicine.
ZEISS can draw on its longstanding, extensive knowledge in the development, manufacturing and marketing of optical and photonics systems, as well as the digital solutions that go with them – particularly in quality measuring technology. At the same time, the company is actively shaping global markets in the field. Senorics now stands to benefit from this expertise.
And ZEISS will get the chance to use the Senorics technology to tap into new applications that it was previously harder to do with the technologies in its portfolio.
“We will begin by examining common application cases. Senorics’ innovative technology has the potential to create compact, cost-effective sensors for applications such as compositional analysis. The investment is a way of consistently implementing our strategy in the field of Advanced Sensor and Data Solutions,” says Dr. Philipp Strack, Head of ZEISS Ventures.
“The fact that ZEISS has approved the quality of our technology and would like to use it in the future considerably increases our customers’ trust,” says Dr. Ronny Timmreck, CEO of Senorics GmbH. “Moreover, the collaboration with ZEISS supports us with both the development and marketing for our technology. What’s more, the collaboration with ZEISS following the closing of our seed funding round in late 2018 was a further milestone in the long-term advancement of Senorics.”
To even better meet the needs of its Asian customers, Leuze electronic opens a new central logistics center in Singapore for the Asian market.
Following the groundbreaking ceremony in June for its central, global logistics center in Unterlenningen, near the company’s headquarters in Owen in southern Germany, Leuze electronic now opened its new distribution center in Singapore.
“The high number of orders over the last years has been a positive challenge for us and requires a new form of global warehouse logistics,” explains Ulrich Balbach, CEO at Leuze electronic.
In 2018, the positive growth trend of the recent years continued at Leuze electronic internationally. Leuze electronic therefore continues to invest in new global structures – including in Singapore.
“By focusing on our target industries of intralogistics and lab automation as well as our regional expansion in Southeast Asia, we were able to achieve enormous growth on the Asian market,” says a pleased Matthias Höhl, Vice President Asia, at Leuze electronic.
The optical sensor manufacturer sees Asia as an important growth market for the future as well. The new central Leuze distribution center in Singapore will operate in the local time zone and thereby even better meet the needs and requirements of its Asian Leuze customers.
“For Leuze electronic, the opening of its new central logistics center in Singapore is an important step for continuing to participate in the high growth rates of the Asian market in the future and further expanding our market share in Asia,” says Balbach.
OMRON Corporation has launched the E2EW Series Full Metal Proximity Sensors, which boast the world’s longest sensing distances. The sensors enabled both detection stability for different material components and durability with the full metal body. They help enhance productivity in the automotive industry, where downtime leads large production opportunity losses, by reducing risks of sudden stoppages due to sensors occurred in the welding processes for automobiles.
Automotive industry needs lighter weight of automobiles in accordance with the trend of electric vehicles and low fuel consumption, encouraging the material change in automotive components from iron to aluminum. This will increase mixed production lines containing iron and aluminum. Full metal proximity sensors are mainly used in harsh welding processes. However, previous full metal proximity sensors have short sensing distances. In particular, the sensing distance for aluminum is shorter than the one for iron. Therefore, higher accuracy is required for installing proximity sensors for aluminum than iron, making the design, start-up, and maintenance of production lines complicated. With skilled labor shortages becoming severer, however, demand is growing for ways to maintain and enhance facility operation rates without relying on human experience or skills.
The sensing distance are approximately twice as long as previous models for iron, and six times as long as previous models for aluminum, meaning equivalent sensing distances to detect iron and aluminum components. In addition, OMRON’s technologies prevents coating abrasion which allows 60 times longer-lasting spatter resistance than previous models. The E2EW Sensors with its durable body and long sensing distance increase sensor installation flexibility, and they help enhance productivity by streamlining production lines which require skills from the start-up, operation, to maintenance.
The application of the acoustic emission (AE) sensor for monitoring can supply valuable information regarding the discontinuity in material. By Tim Wood, international sales manager, SBS
Changes in micro-stresses within CNC machine tool structure, caused by contact between tooling and work-piece, generate high frequency signals known as acoustic emission, or AE.
It’s best described as the phenomenon of radiation of acoustic waves in solids that occurs when a material undergoes irreversible changes in its internal structure.
It also generally refers to the generation of transient elastic waves produced by a sudden redistribution of stress in a material. When a structure is subjected to an external stimulus (change in pressure, load, or temperature), localised sources trigger the release of energy, in the form of stress waves, which propagate to the surface and are recorded by sensors.
Detection & Analysis
AE signals can be detected using an Acoustic Emission Monitoring System (AEMS), and used for advanced machine process control. With the right equipment and setup, motions on the order of picometers (10 – 12 m) can be identified. vDetection and analysis of AE signals can supply valuable information regarding the origin and importance of a discontinuity in a material. Because of the versatility of Acoustic Emission Testing (AET), it has many industrial applications (eg: assessing structural integrity, detecting flaws, testing for leaks, or monitoring weld quality) and is used extensively as a research tool.
In the case of grinding machines, this high frequency structure borne noise is created when the grinding wheel touches the part, or the diamond dresser. AE signals travel through solid materials, for example, tooling, with high velocity, meaning they are an ideal parameter for the detection of grinding wheel contact within milliseconds of time, or microns of axis travel.
Double disk grinding (DDG), a form of face grinding, is no exception. The recent application of the AE system to a DDG grinding process for rolling element IR (Inner Race) bearing faces resulted in 0.5 seconds saving on a 3.6 second grind cycle – a 14 percent reduction. In this case, the saving was made by using the system to detect contact between grinding wheels and work.
Eliminating The Gap
The process, also known as GapElimination or GE offer the ability to detect part contact in less than 1 millisecond. It also allows higher machine feed-rates, and less air grinding time, typically saving anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of cycle time.
Correct AE sensor location and mounting on the machine is critical. To achieve maximum sensitivity, best AE signal path and biggest cycle time reduction, a non-contact acoustic sensor was mounted on the rotary loader spindle. The corresponding stator was mounted on the guard door of the loader.
For Monitoring Purposes
Acoustic emission sensors can also be used for dressing monitoring on double disk grinding machines — either point or rotary diamond units — giving dresser touch detection, accurate machine indexing and monitoring of dressing profile.
For maximum efficiency gains the system can be interfaced with the machine CNC or PLC via hardwire, profibus or Ethernet protocols.
The SBS AEMS system is a permanent installation on a machine tool, and is available to machine manufacturers or as a retrofit package to end users. SBS can combine acoustic emission signals with other measurable machine parameters such as spindle power and work-piece RPM using a system called ExactControl.
The CyberCon4 sensor system by Heimatec can be used to measure various tool parameters such as operating time, rpm, temperature or humidity. Collected data is forwarded to a monitoring station after a defined time cycle via Bluetooth technology and can then be used for evaluation and maintenance activities.
A moisture sensor detects entry of liquids, such as cooling lubricants, into the tool and the machine, so that major damage or machine failures can be prevented. Monitoring software allows for tools equipped with the sensor system to be monitored, hence maintenance cycles can be managed.
While using acoustic data in machine maintenance is not new, the use of airborne acoustics is. We speak to Amnon Shenfeld, co-founder and chief executive officer, 3DSignals, on the role this plays in predictive maintenance.