Coordinate measuring system


Built in Castle Donnington, Derbyshire, by LK Metrology, the high-precision Altera range of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) has been coupled with Renishaw’s REVO-2 scanning system and multi-sensor technology to offer manufacturers a powerful five-axis solution for inspecting the dimensional accuracy and surface finish of components. A notable design feature is the ceramic construction of the CMM beam and spindle, which combines optimal stiffness-to-weight ratio for exceptional responsiveness with mechanical and thermal stability for consistent performance across all manufacturing environments.

Offering unprecedented measuring speed, the SCANtek 5 multi-sensor package includes Renishaw’s proven intuitive MODUS™ software for importing data, controlling the CMM, acquiring results and reporting, including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) labelling. The high scanning speed of the machine boosts measurement throughput, shortens production lead times, provides a comprehensive awareness of product conformance and prevents the metrology department from becoming the bottleneck in a factory.

SCANtek 5 is available with a variety of standard measuring volumes from 800 mm × 700 mm × 600 mm (8.7.6) to 6000 mm × 2000 mm × 1000 mm (60.20.10), with larger options also available. The AlteraM models with repeatability from 1.5 µm are being marketed alongside an AlteraSL range offering repeatability from 0.7 µm. LK Metrology is confident of the long-term performance of all of these premium machines that it is offering a ten-year accuracy guarantee.

Scanning at up to 500 mm/s, without the stylus leaving the surface of the component, allows the coordinates of up to 4000 points to be captured ‘on the fly’ every second, a rate of data acquisition far higher than is possible using conventional probing techniques. It is also possible to include rapid single-touch routines in the measuring cycle. Moreover, the flexibility offered by infinite head positioning increases the effective measuring volume by minimising the need for head reorientations while allowing highly complex measuring to be carried out. Exchanging the REVO-2 scanning probe for one of the vision modules increases data collection rates further and the results can be correlated accurately with those acquired using tactile methods.

By employing different tip arrangements and knuckle joints, detailed surface finish analyses can be combined with other CMM measurements in a single operation, the basic output being roughness average (Ra), root mean square (RMS) and raw data, with an extensive range of additions provided by standard and advanced surface texture options. Even fine bores as low as 5 mm in diameter can be inspected. A variety of change racks up to 1 m in length are available for housing sensors, probes and styli, to enable automatic exchange during a measuring sequence.

With its user-configurable interface, MODUS software provides a powerful platform for the creation of programs, either through teach mode or from a computer-aided design (CAD) model imported via the usual graphical exchange formats or directly from CATIA, Siemens NX, Parasolid, PTC Creo or Solidworks. Wizards in the Windows programming environment employing conversational, graphical and drag-and-drop methodologies give access to a range of macros and standard scanning routines, such as helical, circular and sweep, to ensure best practice metrology without the need for specialist programming skills. The native Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard (DMIS) program, with drawing geometry, dimensions and tolerance data embedded, can be simulated offline to check for potential collisions before the inspection cycle is run on the SCANtek 5.

A wealth of textual and graphical reporting functionality is offered, including multi-part inspection for series production and real-time reporting during program execution. Data exchange to third-party applications such as Excel, extensible markup language (XML) or structured query language (SQL) is provided, as well as to qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) for statistical process control.