Cutting Tool Engineering
January 2012 / Volume 64 / Issue 1

Speedy Comparison

By Alan Richter, Editor

Automated measurement verification is faster and more reliable than a manual process. However, even a digital optical comparator that works directly with CAD data to compare a part to a CAD file might require an operator to manually align that data to the part. To automate measurement and verification of a part against its CAD data, Methods Machine Tools Inc. has introduced Auto-Align and Auto Pass/Fail software tools for the VisionGauge digital optical comparator from VISIONx Inc., Pointe-Claire, Quebec, which also developed the software.

AutoAlign-01 300 dpi.tif
Courtesy of Methods Machine Tools

Auto-Align and Auto Pass/Fail software tools for the VisionGauge digital optical comparator allow end users to automatically compare a part to its CAD data in real time.

The Auto-Align tool automatically aligns the CAD data to the part and supports X-Y and X-Y-rotation alignment of the CAD drawing to the part. The Auto Pass/Fail tool automatically determines, in real time, if a part is within tolerance, supports bidirectional tolerances and does not impose restrictions on the tolerance values. This means tolerances can be standard plus/minus tolerances, as well as minus/minus or plus/plus tolerances.

Previously, it took an operator about 30 seconds to perform the alignment followed by a couple minutes for inspection, which can consume considerable time when producing many small batches of different parts, according to Patrick Beauchemin, VISIONx president. “Now, lining it up is as simple as scanning the bar code on the work order and pressing the auto-align button,” he said. “It takes 2 to 3 seconds maximum, depending on the part.” Pass/fail calculations are virtually instantaneous, Beauchemin noted.

He added that the results are operator-independent, which increases measurement and comparison accuracy. “There is no operator subjectivity anymore,” Beauchemin said. “In most shops, that is the single largest source of measurement error.”

In addition to being included with new models, existing customers can update their software at www.visionxinc.com.

For more information, contact Methods Machine Tools Inc., Sudbury, Mass., at (978) 443-5388 or visit www.methods machine.com. CTE

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