The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is launching a revolutionary new measurement system that will bring laboratory level standards to the shop floor. The technology enables significantly improved calibration times and thereby, minimises machine downtime for industries across the manufacturing sector.
NPL and its partner ETALON unveiled Laser TRACER at MACH 2008 in Birmingham. This is a high-speed, ultra precise, mobile system for the calibration and verification of coordinate-measuring machines (CMM), CNC machine tools, and other leading-edge measurement applications.
Laser TRACER relies on a highly stable laser source and an NPL patented internal design that is mechanically and thermally decoupled from the tracking mechanism, providing the ultimate in stability and accuracy of measurement.
Like conventional laser techniques, laser tracer locks out the machine during tool or CMM probe. It uses the laser to track a reflector mounted on the machine during tool or CMM probe. The system automatically drives the tool during the measurement cycle for the machine test and then guides the user in simple steps through the testing process. The internal algorithm ensures self-calibration of the system during the test and enables all machine error contribution with unprecedented precision.
Measurement routines can be performed without the need for highly skilled technicians and are significantly quicker than existing traditional methods. Uncertainties of measurements are generated in real time with a comprehensive test report or UKAS calibration certificate produced at the point of measurement.
Automatic correction of stored error-maps is also available for many machine types with new machines being supported every month and the measurement procedure is designed to meet the requirements of the emerging standard ISO10360-2.
David Lowther, Laser TRACER product manager, said: “With the Laser TRACER NPL is bringing cutting edge measurement standards only ever seen before in National Standards Laboratories direct to the customer in their place of work. Machines can now be calibrated in less than three hours, rather than the current time of up to 2 days, and with greatly improved accuracy that will ultimately save time and increase productivity for businesses. NPL can also provide complementary consultancy and support, on site, to diagnose and solve production critical measurement problems for companies. “