New in-machine measurement technologies recently released by Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division significantly increase the variety of probing and tool-setting options for manufacturers looking for efficiency gains in a variety of production environments. Hexagon’s multi-sensor machine tool measurement capabilities now include compact tactile radio probes and a flexible tool-setter that can be used interchangeably to identify and correct production problems early in the production process.
While in-machine measurement makes is easy to collect and quickly apply manufacturing data to work in progress, integrating probes and tool setters that match the requirements of a specific machining environment can be a challenge. Without access to metrology equipment that can accommodate tight machining envelopes, manufacturers strive for efficiency with limited inspection options, often with mixed results. With the launch of a new metrology system that offers both compact tactile measurement and tool-setting capabilities, manufacturers gain the ability to design in-machine inspection processes that fit their needs. Hexagon’s versatile new m&h R-400 multi-sensor radio probe system can be used to fulfil both in-machine workpiece measurement and tool-setting requirements. The system can be used for a variety of purposes in a range of environments, including machining setups with any machine tool, the highly accurate measurement of complex free-form geometries with tight tolerances, and the checking of machine kinematics.
“Manufacturers struggle to gain efficiency with in-machine inspection when they don’t have the ability to customise their measurement processes. The goal of any shop is to squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of the production workflow — and that’s hard to do with one-size-fits-all technology,” said Manuel Müller, product marketing manager, sensors and components. “A customisable and flexible system for in-machine inspection gives companies of any size the power to improve the quality of their products and processes without making disruptive changes.”
The dual-purpose m&h R-400 probe system is the first tactile probe on the market that includes a built-in display. It provides status data at a glance, enables users to save or load settings, and makes it easy to switch between tactile-sensor and tool-setting functions. Designed for shop-floor flexibility, the system can be used as a radio probe by equipping it with a probe shank or as a radio tool setter by mounting it on a tool-setter base. In addition to offering flexible in-machine measurement functions, the probe can help cut costs by eliminating storage of replacement sensors, as only one device needs to be stored.
The system also features an illuminated ring that completely surrounds the probe body and lights up to indicate current performance conditions and activities, so that operators can easily see the status of the system. Including notifications such as “system ready,” “battery low,” and “probing,” the indicator ring makes shop-floor activity more efficient by providing immediate access to information that benefits workflow.
Designed to perform with precision in tight spaces, the m&h TP-R-400 tactile radio probe is available with three different measuring units. Configured for varied levels of accuracy and different styli configurations to suit specific measurement needs, the system is available with standard or highly accurate measuring units. Additionally, an extension of up to 200 mm in length can be used to bring the measuring unit closer to the measurement area. Despite the modularity and unique handling functions, the probe is extremely compact. With a diameter of only 40 mm, it fits into almost every tool magazine and is perfectly suited for use on small machines or applications with limited space.
The tool-setter m&h TS-R-400 can be mounted flexibly in the machine space to suit different inspection needs. For instance, it can be secured to a rotary table with a slot nut so that it remains stationary even when the table is moving. It can also be mounted on a magnetic base so that it can be removed when not in use, such as after initial tool checks prior to the machining process.
Related Glossary Terms
Science of measurement; the principles on which precision machining, quality control and inspection are based. See precision machining, measurement.
Main body of a tool; the portion of a drill or similar end-held tool that fits into a collet, chuck or similar mounting device.