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FlexGauge Migrates CMM Measurements To The Shop-Floor

The competitive landscape of manufacturing is becoming increasingly challenging, necessitating continual improvement in both process and product quality. To meet this demand, there is a growing requirement to relocate the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) to the shop-floor and integrate it into the manufacturing process.

By doing so, real-time data can be provided, enabling timely implementation of corrective measures without compromising efficiency or quality. This, in turn, leads to cost savings and improved perceived quality. The implementation of Industry 4.0 has further accelerated this trend, with metrology now serving as a central pillar in the manufacturing process.

At Itaca, meeting this industry need has been a top priority from the outset of its FlexGauge development. The CMM was designed not as an adaptation of typical CMM architectures used in measuring rooms, but rather as a concept fully suited to the harsh conditions of the manufacturing shop-floor, with accuracy on par with that typically required in central quality rooms.

High Accuracy Shop-Floor CMM

Itaca’s unique FlexGauge technology for high accuracy shopfloor metrology, resulting from the experienced development team, includes the following characteristics:

➤ State-of-the-art integrated air bearings

➤ Optimum robustness to maintain the highest accuracy and zero maintenance

➤ Granite base and moving column resistant to temperature changes in shop-floor

➤ Symmetric architecture and minimized raceways-to-probe distances minimize thermal deformations

➤ Ultra-light carbon fiber probe holder arm

➤ Superior speed and acceleration

➤ Zero-expansion scale

➤ Continuous temperature compensation function for the machine axes and each part

➤ Bellows and air overpressure to protect from harsh environment

Over time, the continuous pursuit of improvement has resulted in the current design of FlexGauge, which can directly tackle the most challenging metrology applications with reliability, consistency, and customer satisfaction. This has been validated by repeat orders from existing customers who have witnessed the benefits of integrating FlexGauge into their manufacturing process. Key factors contributing to FlexGauge’s success in the market include high accuracy, fast measurement speed, extensive application experience, turnkey solutions, and support.

Flexible Production Gauging

Itaca’s team of experts can tailor solutions to meet specific customer requirements, including custom probing configurations, fixturing, metrological applications, inline integration with robots or automation devices, data export, and feedback to machine tool offsets. The Tangram proprietary metrology software provides all the necessary functionalities with the flexibility to integrate with specific customer needs. It is also user-friendly, allowing customers to easily make modifications with minimal training. Operator interface is via a simplified touch screen customization which makes the system user friendly and easy to operate.

A typical example of FlexGauge integration is the solution implemented in Korea at Youngnam where two fully automated cells, each of them including two FlexGauges C model, are measuring 100% of ‘gear blanks’ in production.

Parts are loaded by dual gripper linear robotic manipulator

FlexGauge was selected by the Customer for its embedded capabilities of being shop-floor ready, small footprint, open accessibility, measurement speed, accuracy over an extended temperature range and ease of integration. With the integrated FlexGauge there is no waiting time for measuring results coming from offline CMM measurement and no need of logistics and traceability of parts from the line to the measuring room.

Local statistics for immediate analysis, data export to quality systems,  and machine tool feedback for offset compensation are available for an efficient management of measurement and fast reaction time in the manufacturing process.

After 1.5 years of continuous reliable operation the FlexGauge’s customer is fully satisfied of system performance and benefits of the immediate availability of the data in process.

In summary, FlexGauge is fully compatible to Industry 4.0 requirements, integrated or operated by operator in the shop-floor, next to machine tool.

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