Page 20 - MetalForming December 2019
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 Rugged Portable-Arm CMMs
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Inspect Dies, Too
While many stampers expect to use a portable CMM arm for scanning parts to compare to CAD models, the equip- ment also enables die inspection with- out impacting run time.
“Users can transport the arm to the press area and the die, without using power cables (many arms feature bat- teries) or data cables, as scan infor- mation transmits wirelessly from the arm to the computer,” Green explains. “No wires to get in the way, with no lag in the scanning. The scan com- pletes, and the die resumes its run.”
The CMM arm scans the die face, picking up data points no matter the material or any shiny, reflective coat- ings,Greenreports.Thescanconverts from a point cloud to an STL surface file. The file then can be compared to a part file to assess the die.
“And, the saved scan can be com- pared to scans taken on a regular basis, perhaps every couple of months, by overlaying the scans to find differ- ences,” explains Green. “This allows maintenance personnel to see wear patterns and hot spots. From there, personnel can identify areas perhaps 0.030 in. high or low and perform the necessary work to bring the die back to needed tolerances. Portable CMM arms make great tools for die preven- tive maintenance.”
Reverse Engineering Aids in Repair
Beyond inspecting parts and tool- ing, the reverse-engineering capabili- ties of portable CMM arms offer the means to adjust and repair fixtures, and produce replacement parts for machinery throughout the plant.
“Users can scan, digitize in 3D and create an STL model with one button click,” Green offers. “The model can be sent to a 3D printer to produce whatever piece is needed. This enables redesign or testing of current parts, fix- tures or whatever. And, suppose that a gear on a lathe breaks. The gear can be reproduced via scanning, with the file sent to a CNC machine and pro- duced in a quick time frame. This capa-
bility improves machine uptime throughout the plant.
“Also, fixtures must be calibrated once a year or at some set interval,” Green continues. “They can be scanned with the hard probe as an indicator to see problem areas. Suppose a tower on a fixture has been bumped and must be brought back to its needed position. Use the tip of the probe on that post, and learn that it must be adjusted a quarter of a degree. The applications are endless.
Are the Arms Rugged Enough?
Stamping operations can constitute rough environments. Can portable CMM arms handle such conditions?
“Anyshop-flooruseexposesthearms to environmental variables not experi- enced in a controlled quality-lab envi- ronment,” Green says. “Dust, humidity, temperature fluctuations and more are common on the shop floor, but the arms are built to handle that. For example, they contain temperature sensors in all axes that compensate for thermal expansion and contraction of internal components. For extreme changes, say where a bay door opens and brings in 30 F air, the Faro system in particular will alert the user that the portable CMM arm cannot compensate quickly enough for the temperature change and provide two options: continue measurements― okay for loose-tolerance parts or weld- ments―or wait for temperature nor- malization―for aerospace flight-safety components featuring tight tolerances, for example.”
And, Green says, “Faro’s newest Quantum arms are ISO-certified for contact and noncontact inspection, a rigorous analysis of how accurate a machine is in the real world. In addi- tion, all of our arms are vibration- and drop-tested to military specifications.”
Built to function in adverse shop- floor environments, portable CMM arms provide rapid, accurate measure- ment and ideally complement fixed CMMs. Consider them not only for part inspection, but for tool preventive maintenance, reverse engineering and more. MF
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