AML’s Inspectors Ready to Put Nikon Assets Through Their Paces
Tustin, CA, February 6, 2017
QC INSPECTORS for Advanced Measurement Labs arrived at work with new tools in their repertoire: Two Nikon iNEXIV VMA CMMs. By mid-day, the inspectors have enjoyed the machines’ laser autofocus (using actual lasers) as well as the auto-align mode.
One inspector runs an egg-shaped cam on the stage of one of the machines. “Okay, now look at this.” He rotates the part and runs the program again, “it picked up the measurement and I didn’t have to change the alignment. This makes things easier.”
“It also makes us faster than ever,” says Romeo Arcinas, President of AML. “The new machines can also use touch probes, so we can do 3D measurements as well.”
Along with the touch-probe capability, the Nikon CMMs can also measure parts using a CAD model:
The inspector measuring the cam shows the benefits of using a 3D CAD model for inspection. After a selecting a few points on the digital model the machine goes to work – capturing the points in a deliberate path. And each measuring routine navigates around the contours of the part to each target point, automatically.
“I can take points just with a click of a mouse” he says, “and the software figures out how to move the probe so it can take measurements safely!
The machines are controlled through its native software Automeasure . It also includes a field-of-view stitcher, combining several images into a single, larger image that exceeds the camera’s view angle. With this capability, a part can be measured regardless of size – as long as the part is short enough to clear the space between the camera and the stage.
Another inspector measures some sheet metal and is just as impressed. “Staging a part is easier,” she says. “You save time because you don’t have to worry about alignments until it’s all put together.”
The use case became clear – fast and accurate measurements on low-clearance parts that can be as wide, or wider, than the stage of the machine. Take a few overlapping snapshots of the part, run it through the software, and then start measuring the larger image with little worry for distortion.
“Large aerospace parts are even easier to check now,” the inspector says. “I’m also impressed with the laser autofocus. Did I mention that already? Surface focusing is super accurate now.”
This means that AML can measure the heights of softer parts, such as silicone-based medical tubes, far more accurately than other machines – and without the worry of stressing the part using a drop indicator.
On how his inspectors are adapting to the CMMs, Romeo replies, “They’re using the CMMs as if the machines have been with us for years. We have all been trained in using a variety of measuring tools. It’s easy for us to transfer that knowledge to a new machine – which means we only need to spend our training time on the newest features.
“So, I see a return on investment right away,” Romeo says, “and this ROI will benefit our customers as well.”