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QMT Products: April 2010
Automated health check for multi-axis machine tools


AxiSet Check-Up, from Renishaw, is a solution for checking the alignment and positioning performance of rotary axes on machine tools. In just a few minutes, users of five-axis machining centres and multi-tasking mill-turn machines can now identify and report on poor machine alignments and geometry that can cause extended process setting times, as well as non-conforming parts.

There has been strong growth in the market for multi-axis machines, but until now, no easy and reliable process for analysing the performance of their rotary axes and identifying problems caused by incorrect machine set-up, collisions or wear. Key to precision machining is the ability to understand the location of the centres of rotation of the rotary axes relative to the machine’s linear axes. Without accurate data about these ‘pivot points’, a machine’s controller will be unable to reliably control the relative positions of the tool and the component as the rotary axes are moving, leading to inconsistent machining results.

Renishaw’s AxiSet Check-Up provides accurate and repeatable test results using automated probing routines to gather performance data from a reference artefact, and includes simple, yet powerful analysis. All tests utilise existing spindle-mounted Renishaw touch probes, which are standard fitment on most multi-axis machines, with probing routines generated using machine-specific macro software supplied with AxiSet Check-Up.

Set-up is fast and simple. To perform the test a user quickly locates a supplied calibration sphere within the machine tool’s working envelope using a magnetic mount. Using the supplied custom macro software, a touch probe is then programmed to automatically take reference measurements around the sphere. Users are in full control and can define their own test angles to ensure that machines are tested at critical orientations. To ensure the highest test accuracy, the use of Renishaw’s high accuracy Rengage™ strain-gauge probes is recommended.
Measurement results from the AxiSet Check-Up test are output to a PC where a supplied Microsoft Excel spreadsheet presents easily understood analysis of the data and compares machine performance with defined tolerances.
 www.renishaw.com
  
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