QMT Features: March 2014
Heart of British Manufacturing
Hexagon Metrology will reveal new products and promotions at MACH

Hexagon Metrology UK will be unveiling a raft of new products at MACH, which will coincide with the launch of its ‘Heart of British Manufacturing’ promotion. The measurement solutions provider has chosen the ‘heart’ theme to highlight the role it is playing in the development of new production processes for a wide variety of industries and applications.

It is working closely with top research organizations including the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre), Nuclear AMRC and MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre) to exploit new and emerging technologies.

Its involvement with the Coventry-based MTC, alongside founder industrial members Airbus and Rolls-Royce, is part of a Government initiative to support British industry.
The company has supplied a range of its metrology equipment including a Leica laser tracker with ‘T-Scan’ and ‘T-Probe’ for an innovative measurement assisted automation project designed to create a robotic system for inspecting aircraft assemblies such as wing sections.

Researchers are not only deploying these integrated measurement technologies in order to enhance the overall system accuracy, but also to perform large volume measurements flexibly and dynamically. Other areas of study supported by Hexagon at the centre include PLM-integrated measurement planning and white light robotic in-line measurement.

Hexagon Metrology will also be throwing the spotlight on its involvement with top British  motorsport engineers at MACH and how its work with major F1 teams contributes to the development of innovative products and services.

The Marussia F1 team is the latest racing outfit to choose Hexagon equipment for its modeling and inspection facilities. It not only uses a number of Hexagon DEA Global co-ordinate measuring machines with LSP-X1 analogue probes and PC-DMIS software for a range of measurement and inspection tasks, but also a Romer articulated portable measuring arm with built-in scanner.

New at MACH
Among the new products to be launched at MACH on Hexagon Metrology’s stand 5710 in Hall 5 is a wireless handheld probing device for inspecting large scale assemblies. The entry level Leica B-Probe is designed to extend the capability of the Leica Absolute Tracker AT402 and works within a 10m radial distance of the machine with an accuracy of ± 0.2mm over a full measurement range, offering greater capabilities and flexibility than similar systems with fixed-base stations.
The new probe is IP50 certified and powered by AAA batteries, making it a complementary device to the ultra-compact design of the AT402. By using the move station method, the working range of the system can easily be multiplied with virtually no loss in probing accuracy.

For even larger parts or measurements that require higher accuracies, the probe can be used in conjunction with a standard retro-reflector to take full advantage of the AT402’s accuracy and 160m radial measuring range.

“The B-Probe fills a niche between reflector-based measurements and our high-performance 6DoF offering based on the Leica T-Probe and the Absolute Tracker AT901,” said Brett Green, Hexagon Metrology UK’s director of sales and marketing.

Also making its debut at MACH will be the WLS qFLASH, a new portable white light device for performing 3D measurement and inspection tasks on the shop floor.
The non-contact WLS qFLASH uses three digital cameras, advanced blue LED technology and Hexagon Metrology’s intuitive CoreView white light measurement software for rapid data capture.

The compact device projects a random pattern on the measuring object and analyses surfaces, features and edge lines using stereo vision, making it ideal for inspecting small to medium size plastic parts, interiors and small moulds as well as measuring metal parts and castings.
It can be used in tight spaces in busy production areas as it is unaffected by industrial light, machinery vibrations and temperature changes. In addition, it can be operated in handheld mode or on a tripod. Part of the WLS400 product range, the qFLASH is housed in a rugged carbon fibre case and fits into a single box for easy transportation.

The company will also announce at MACH that it is supporting the British Heart Foundation during 2014 and will undertake a number of fund-raising events to support the charity throughout the year.

Looking to the future

Showing its support for the next generation of engineers, Hexagon Metrology has provided Staffordshire University with an Optiv 321GL TP multi-sensor co-ordinate measuring machine and Romer portable measuring arm for use in its engineering centre at Stoke-on-Trent.

Hexagon Metrology has also provided an extensive range of Tesa hand tools, a work station which doubles as a base for the Romer arm and equipment storage, plus a series of training sessions for university staff and 20 educational off-line licenses for its industry-standard PC-DMIS software.

The Hexagon Optiv machine is equipped with a touch-trigger tactile probe and a non-contact vision sensor so that students can learn about two different principles of CMM measurement and their applications. It is also fully direct computer controlled which means it can be used to teach CNC measurement and manual techniques.
The equipment uses Hexagon’s PC-DMIS software and is fully CAD capable, allowing students to use CAD models to program directly in the measuring device rather than working with 2d drawings.

Staffordshire University’s Prof David Cheshire said: “The Optiv is highly accurate and living up to our expectations while the Romer arm is an important asset in our active automotive section where it will be used in the field for measuring important dimensions in applications such as race car suspension settings.”

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Rob Tremain Photographer
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