Modern Machine Shop

OCT 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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58 MMS October 2017 QUALITY GAGING TIPS Columnist At the very basic level, a manual gage is cre- ated with the specific goal of making it easier to stage and gage a part, reduce operator error, and ensure the best performance for the measuring task at hand. Such designed-for-the-application fixturing can significantly reduce ef for t for the user and reduce the time required to complete the measuring process. Another way to save time is to make multiple checks in sequence. A common shopfloor practice is to provide a series of tools for the operator to use in a specialized gaging station. Often, these gages can be connected to a gaging computer through a wired or wireless network. The computer can then provide a guided gaging sequence for the operator, indicating which gage to use in the gaging process, helping him or her make the measurement with pictures/instructions, and col- lecting the data to provide feedback for part qual- ification. These workstations and guided sequences provide a sort of automation to give the user clear steps to follow, while all data collection and part qualification is done automatically, thus reducing operator involvement and measurement time. Measuring time can also be greatly reduced by building a gage that makes multiple measure- ments at the same time. A custom gage designed to me asure multiple dia mete r s, le ngths a nd runouts on a shaft, for example, provides easy loading, no operator influence on results and part qualification within seconds. Many gage builders have begun using what are k nown as "standard elements" to create multiple dime nsional me asure me nt systems configured for a particular part. The use of these standard elements allows a custom gage to be created in a relatively short amount time for fast implementation, and then potentially allows the gage to be reconfigured for families of similar parts. With this multiple dimensional measuring solution, the gaging sequence is compressed into a one-shot measuring cycle. The standard elements in these systems tend to be designed with the same robustness as the components used in a custom gage design; the only difference is that there is a common mount- ing scheme for the items, standard measuring heights, and the ability to use a wide range of transfers, contacts and sensing devices. There- fore, with knowledge of these elements in hand, the gage builder or user can shop from a list of stock items and create a custom gage designed for the specific task at hand, sometimes in days, and usually at a fraction of the cost of a custom- designed part gage. Gage builders also are employing this build-to- task concept for the measurement and data- collecting part of the solution. The common prac- tice is to use an off-the-shelf computer-based gaging system, often loaded with multiple input capabilities, some I/O, and ver y capable and powerful measuring software. Many of these soft- ware packages bundle together the measuring functions, basic programmable logic control and Being Flexible Has Its Advantages A gaging system that matches the way parts are made can save you both time and effort. GEORGE SCHUETZ DIRECTOR OF PRECISION GAGES MAHR INC.

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