Modern Machine Shop

JAN 2018

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MMS JANUARY 2018 66 CUTTING TOOLS | Renishaw Inc. | 847-286-9953 | Given that this device is capturing data in production—that is, capturing more information than just the yes/no of hard gaging—couldn't that data also be used to do more? The new IPC software is a response to this question, offering a means to use the part measurements to control the process in real time. Renishaw's Ben Spokes, marketing manager for Equator, demonstrated a machining process using the IPC system during a recent open house event at the company's U.S. headquarters in West Dundee, Illinois. As any given measured feature for a production part shifts beyond the nominal value for that feature because of minute and gradual tool wear, the extent of the measured departure can be used to automatically calculate and apply a compensating tool offset at the machine tool's CNC. The software interfaces with the CNC and enables the user to program this kind of closed-loop control. The software could initiate a tool-offset change in response to a single depar- ture in the measured dimension, or for greater process stability, the user could set the software to respond in this way to a departure within a running average for this measurement. Meanwhile, the software also tracks the accu- mulated total of all the offsets it has made for a given tool, Mr. Spokes says. Ultimately, this is where the tool cost savings is realized. Users can define a total offset limit for a given tool, defining the extent of that tool's maximum acceptable wear. The system can then be set to trigger an automatic change-out of the tool at that point. Thus, in place of an unvarying standard such as "change tools after every 20 pieces," the system can be programmed to change tools when the tool has truly worn out. This might occur after 20 or 21 pieces for one tool, but the next tool might run for 25. The additional life is the resource that most shops in most production processes would otherwise lose. Gaging on the shop f loor usually aims to avoid the danger of running parts after the process has drifted out of spec, but now here is a different, additional way to think about gaging saving cost in the process. That is, the gaging can also be applied to avoid the subtler cost of failing to use the consumables to the fullest extent of their value. Particularly with the capacity to adapt to tool wear by updating offsets, the Equator coupled with IPC software facilitates unattended production. This application illustrating robot-loaded use of the Equator was photographed at the most recent EMO show last year in Germany. NOT A CMM How the system performs gaging via comparing to a reference:

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