A new range of portable 6-axis and 7-axis measuring arms has been launched by LK Metrology to replace the 34 original versions it introduced in 2021. Unlike their predecessors, 6-axis FREEDOM Arm v2 products offer full IP54 protection from water splashes and the ingress of dust and particles, delivering reliable, repeatable, 3D tactile inspection and measurement in harsh industrial environments.
Available also is a new range of 21 stainless steel-tipped probes with a stainless steel or carbon fibre body, as well as updated RDS software v6.2 running on Windows for communicating with the arm via WiFi or USB. For full IP54 protection of an arm, the probes have a rubber seal around the mounting interface and protective caps cover the arm ODU connectors. Additionally, a CP-W control pack with a Wi-Fi connection and battery power rather than mains power is used. An operator alert has been added to the RDS software to warn the user if an arm is not fully IP54 protected.
The new 7-axis FREEDOM Arm v2 is not IP54 rated but is able to deploy a laser scanner and a tactile probe and is therefore capable of multi-sensor data capture. A new OLED touch-screen display provides the operator with convenient fingertip control, enabling settings to be changed, messages viewed and results checked. It raises inspection productivity by avoiding having to go back and forth between the arm and computer. New also is a CP-B battery pack with Ethernet connection for probe and laser scanner for use in environments where Wi-Fi is not permitted. Two rechargeable batteries are provided with hot-swap capability for unlimited continuous use on battery power.
As with the earlier 6-axis and 7-axis arms, the new range falls into three categories, FREEDOM Classic, FREEDOM Select and FREEDOM Ultimate, depending on the level of measuring precision required. Probing accuracy is certified to ISO 10360-12 and functionality is guaranteed up to 40 degrees Celsius. All models are easy-to-use, especially as probes and laser scanners can be hot-swapped without recalibration. Reliability of operation is ensured by the strong, thermally stable, carbon-fibre tube construction, which also lends itself to use in demanding environments. Even the largest 7-Axis FREEDOM Arm v2 weighs only 10.5 kg, so setup and repositioning is quick and easy, while the shock-resistant carry case keeps everything secure during transport.
A notable feature of the arms is the inclusion of absolute rather than incremental rotary encoders to feed back the angular position of every joint to the control software. The equipment may therefore be used immediately on start-up, avoiding the need for encoder referencing and frustrating system warm-up before every use, boosting productivity while delivering high-end accuracy. Rotating, low-friction grips together with a counterbalance system maximise accuracy by minimising user effort.
A strong line-up of third-party inspection software can be supplied by LK with its FREEDOM arms, including InnovMetric's PolyWorks Inspector that has the ability to exchange programs seamlessly between portable and static CMM platforms. ArcoCAD metrology software from Metrostaff is also available, as is Nikon Metrology's Focus Inspection for data analysis, while CMM Manager inspection package from QxSoft may be used for touch probing only.