Quality takes center stage at IMTS 2016
The Quality Assurance Pavilion will be located in the East Building at McCormick Place and will highlight the latest in metrology equipment.0
The need for quality control in the manufacturing environment is becoming more and more commonplace. The rise of quality standards and tighter tolerances is constantly increasing. Measuring systems and metrology companies are tasked with keeping up with these latest trends.
Improvements in measuring systems in optics and metrology grade cameras, will be featured in the Quality Assurance Pavilion at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2016.
The Quality Assurance Pavilion, located in the East Building at McCormick Place, will highlight the latest in metrology equipment and systems that keep manufacturing processes on track, as well as the equipment that will check the accuracy of manufacturing equipment.
“Advances in optics and metrology grade cameras have led to a new class of Large Field of View (LFOV) video measuring systems that can image as much as 3 or 4 square inches of a part and make dimensional measurements instantly,” says R. Stephen Flynn, President of Optical Gaging Products (OGP).
“IMTS 2016 showcases the latest advancements that take accuracy to a whole new level,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions & Business Development, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the parent organization of IMTS. “New systems at the Quality Assurance Pavilion show great strides in minimizing measurement uncertainty. Equipment and systems in the Quality Assurance Pavilion are great examples of the technical achievements we feature at IMTS.”
In terms of how far technology has come, “Massive improvements in computers and electronics over the last five to ten years have raised the bar for all quality and metrology systems — particularly non-contact metrology,” says Flynn. “The benchmark performance [speed and accuracy] of a video measuring system has easily doubled in the past ten years, while the cost has remained about the same.”
In addition, recent improvements in software and analysis tools allow coordinate measurements to be compared directly to CAD models. Very complex Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) scenarios can be evaluated instantly, and predictive models allow a tightly closed loop between CAD, CAM systems and dimensional measurement systems.
“These advancements help in three ways,” says Flynn. “First, measurement data is available quickly enough to make real-time process adjustments. Also, dimensions can be measured near the production line that previously required highly skilled and experienced toolmakers to measure in a lab. Finally, data from multiple measuring machines or multiple locations/suppliers can be normalized and compared directly to CAD models.”
As a result, operators with little or no metrology training now make measurements right on the shop floor. The benchtop LFOV systems allow parts to be placed randomly without fixturing and measured without a pre-programmed measurement routine. The system recognizes the part and measures the critical dimensions automatically. “As precision measurement becomes simple and easy, it becomes practical to do more of it, which results in improved quality and lower costs,” says Flynn.