A total of well over 800 exhibitors from nearly 30 countries exhibited at the Control 2011 exhibition held 3rd - 6th May in Stuttgart, Germany. All the major global quality, metrology and test companies were there, with many using this event to launch new and enhanced products. As German manufacturing, in particular, is doing well at the present time, the exhibitors experienced a good show, with many reporting. very positive feedback on the quality of visitors. In general, the optimism of the industry points to a continuing healthy manufacturing economy, with Asia again providing a major driver for growth for many companies.
Carl Zeiss Industrial Measurement presented a range of enhancements to their core technologies to deliver flexibility and productivity in metrology. New at Control was the VAST XTR, a continuation of the ACTIVE scanning head for CMMs. The ACTIVE scanning head, which has a good gauge R&R performance, now has a rotating capability to allow reduced stylus configurations to measure complex parts, such as V-Blocks.
Developing the themes of productivity and flexibility for the shopfloor, Zeiss presented its Duramax RT Gear measuring system. This is a special compact-class gear wheel horizontal-arm measuring machine. Now featuring a rotary table, the Duramax fits into any small or large workshop and is suitable for inline process control. A precision system turns the workpiece with the corresponding side facing the stylus. This allows the stylus system to capture the geometry of the gear wheel in a simple process without having to repeatedly travel to a new position. “The added flexibility for users is one of the key properties of DuraMax RT Gear:” said Dr Ohnheiser, CEO of Zeiss Industrial Measurement. “The rotary table can be freely positioned on the measuring plate and removed later in just a few steps. DuraMaxRT Gear can therefore be flexibly used as a universal measuring machine when other jobs arise.”
GOM showed the ATOS Triple Scan, its new generation of mobile 3D digitizers which comes with totally new projection technology - Blue Light Technology - and introduced a 3-in-1 sensor concept for the very first time. The ATOS Triple Scan offers greater resolution and accuracy for fine structures and edges, and supplies full-field 3D data for complex components within the shortest time. Measurement performance has been significantly improved, say GOM, especially for shinny surfaces. In combination with the parametric GOM Inspect Professional software package for analysis of measurement data, users can now profit from both faster and traceable quality control.
Breuckmann presented the broad range of their 3D scanning systems, among them the smartSCAN 3D series: the technical application spectrum of this scanner reaches from the contact-free scanning for reverse engineering via the digital documentation all the way up to the automobile design and the quality control of components and serial parts.
Weighing just 4 kg, the smartSCAN 3D is universally employable and can be used for mobile or on-site applications. The sensor configuration scans using 30°, 20° and 10° triangulation angles, allowing very complex object areas and geometries to be measured at a high level to detail.
Creaform showed its HandyPROBE arm-free probing system used for 3D inspection applications, such as part-to-CAD analysis, conformity assessment of 3D models, first article inspection, alignment and tooling certification. The HandyPROBE combined with the C-Track offers high precision measurements, even if the C-Track sensor, or the part, is moved during the measurement process. This feature proves particularly useful in real work environments and shop floors, as it allows data acquisition of hard-to-reach areas and measurement in environments with vibrations and requires no rigid set-ups.
Creaform also released its new VXtrack dynamic tracking software module during CONTROL. Teamed with Creaform's C-Track dual camera optical sensor, VXtrack dynamic tracking can be used to simultaneously and continuously measure positions and orientations in space with great precision. Creaform say the VXtrack module has numerous applications, such as robot calibration and guidance, monitoring of complex assembly processes, real-time compensation of machining tool-generated errors and monitoring of deformations during testing. Creaform also announced a new partnership with Geomagic, whereby CBD’s Gemini and MegaCapturor ditigizers will now be bundled with Geomagic Wrap 12.
Delcam launched the 2011 R2 version of its PowerINSPECT inspection software at the Control exhibition.. The new release is the first version developed for use on 64-bit computers. Other enhancements include improved visualisation of the results, easier creation of automated inspection routines, full integration of DRO (Digital Read-Out) functionality and support for the latest Renishaw probes.
Delcam also announced an agreement with AICON 3D Systems GmbH, the developer of the MoveInspect HR optical measuring system. Under the agreement, AICON will supply Delcam’s PowerINSPECT inspection software with its metrology system. The new combination of hardware and software was demonstrated at Control by both AICON and Delcam .
Exhibition visitors were able to go to the BuildIT stand in Hall 3 and learn about the JSF fighter program - how BAE standardised on BuildIT software to manufacture the JSF 35 aircraft.. BAE Systems, Salmesbury is the manufacturer responsible for the design and assembly of the aft fuselage and tails of the aircraft.. BAE System's new modular tooling system required upgrading to their manufacturing process in order to enhance production efficiency and meet the requirements of the JSF program. The company standardised on BuildIT advanced coordinate metrology software to design a tool building and inspection process. Themodular tooling concept required BAE engineers to transfer 3D models with GD&T features and tolerances from CATIA software to the shopfloor for tool building and assembly inspection. BuildIT has become a key component of the digital engineering-through-manufacturing process and facilitates communication, eliminates translation errors and achieves tool design and manufacturing process savings up to 50%.
Announced by materials testing company, Zwick Roell, is the Control Cube. Claiming to be the smallest controller in the world and aimed at the servo-hydraulic systems testing market, it has been developed in partnership between Zwick Roell and CaTs3. Control Cube is a modular digital servo-technology, offering significant technical benefits to the single and multi-actuator materials, components and structural testing market.
The modular system allows for expansion possibilities. Firstly, a second control channel can be plugged directly into the basic unit. If more control channels are required, then Control Cubes can be interconnected for multi-channel rigs, up to a maximum of 32 control channels.
A variety of optional plug-in cards such as analogue I/O, digital I/O, additional signal conditioning etc, enhance the modularity and flexibility even further. This allows a simple, minimal system to be expanded into a fully featured test system, depending on the testing requirements.
The Cubus software provides users with a powerful set of tools in the fatigue/durability test laboratory. Cubus offers test programs aimed at the specific task at hand, ranging from simple ramps through to multi-channel service load simulation testing.
Attracting great interest at the Control Exhibition was Renishaw’s new launch gauging system, the Equator. Dr. Kevyn Jones, director and general manager for the product commented that Equator look set to develop a significant place in the market as a shopfloor universal gauging system. Eliminating costly hard gauges and programmable, the Equator uses the point-by-point comparison method of mastering and measuring parts. The Equator is a high speed measuring device whose design is based on parallel kinematics and is designed for users who are manufacturing parts in medium to high volumes.