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Full Measurement Automation and Integration

Alicona is expanding its range of production-integrated measurement solutions.

"Full measurement automation and integration are the requirements of modern production concepts that have made measurement systems an integral part of the production processes," said Stefan Scherer, CEO of Alicona. "In my view, there are two main trends in the development and implementation of modern production strategies. First of all, measurement systems must become an integral part of production processes. This requires full automation and operation without metrology know-how. Second, the industry demands measurement systems that are highly customized to individual applications. Alicona, supplier of high-resolution optical 3-D measurement systems for quality assurance in laboratory and production environments, knows how to meet these requirements. Its automated tool measurement systems of the globally used EdgeMaster systems are tailored exactly to the needs of production managers in the tooling industry."

Alicona has expanded its range of automated solutions. A new automation interface allows users to employ further optical 3-D form and roughness measurement systems, enabling fully automated measurements as part of the production process. One example is the use of InfiniteFocus to measure micro structured components.

Automated Dimensional Measurements During Production

InfiniteFocus is a high-resolution optical 3-D surface measurement system for quality assurance of microstructure surfaces. The system offers various functions for dimensional inspection and surface finish measurement. "The range of measurable components is almost unlimited, which is due to the system's combination of coaxial illumination and a ring light," said a spokesperson. With the new automation interface Automation Manager, measurements can now be carried out automatically, enabling the use of InfiniteFocus in production.

The focus of these measurements is GD&T measurements. Parameters and positions to be measured are individually defined by an administrator beforehand and include, among others, angle, distances, roundness or flatness. In production, workers then choose the component that needs to be measured from a drop-down menu or by using a bar-code scanner and initiate the measurement by simply pressing a button. Everything else is carried out automatically. The system then provides a report including OK or Not OK status.

"The entire measurement process is automated. Users cannot influence the results in any way," Scherer said. "This type of automation makes it possible to control the entire production process without interruption. Components can be measured during any stage of manufacturing."

The automated measurement routines are suitable for all industries the measurement system InfiniteFocus is commonly used in. This includes, among others, the tooling, molding, automotive, electronics and aerospace industries, as well as micro and precision manufacturing and medical engineering.

CAD/CAM Integration

"To us, automation means to establish metrology in the entire production process and, consequently, make production more efficient. It goes beyond data exchange at a single isolated point," Scherer explains. An additional CAD/CAM interface works in combination with the software Automation Manager. This enables quality assurance to start in the design phase, as InfiniteFocus can already be implemented at this point by using it virtually. This allows the designer to define the correct and necessary measurement positions in a component's CAD file. The virtual operation of the system includes all handling, from probe positioning to defining measurement ranges in 3-D.

Production Integrated Metrology

"Alicona is experienced on implementing its core technology Focus-Variation into new production concepts with a high level of automation," said a spokesperson. With the technical principle of Focus-Variation and its smart sensors, Alicona provides the "eye" to the manufacturing process. The integration of automation, 3-D metrology and machine tooling enables smart manufacturing. Users receive real time data about both the surface quality of the manufactured component and process quality. Deficient workpieces are recognized early and machining parameters are optimized instantly.

Other production integrated measurement solutions include robot based metrology, or closed-loop manufacturing. In closed-loop manufacturing, the measurement sensor is directly integrated into the machine tool. This allows production to optimize itself and users profit from up to four times improved machining accuracy. In process measurements can also be realized with robotic integrations. Quality assurance can be applied to a larger range of samples using the near limitless positioning flexibility of a robot.

For more information contact:

Alicona Corporation

1261 Humbracht Circle, Suite G

Bartlett, IL 60103


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