Equator 500 Provides Intelligent Process Control for Larger Parts

Renishaw’s Equator gauging systems improve yield and increase process capabilities of production processes by providing high accuracy dimensional inspection data adjacent to CNC Machine Tools, at the point of manufacture. The new larger Equator 500 system now enables the gauging of larger parts, with a working volume of 500 mm in diameter and up to 400 mm in height.

Both Renishaw Equator 300 and 500 systems are accurate between 5 ºC and 50 ºC at any rate of temperature change, and are capable of scanning speeds in excess of 200 mm/s. Every Equator system is compatible with simple-to-use Organiser operator software, EZ-IO software for automation, and IPC (intelligent process control) software for updating tool offsets on CNC machine tools.

Larger measuring volume

The Equator 500 has a gauging volume of 500 mm diameter in the X/Y plane and 250 mm in Z when used with the SM25-2 scanning module. This can be expanded to 400 mm in Z with the SM25-3 scanning module, which allows styli up to 200 mm in length to reach many more features. The base of Equator 500 supports workpiece and fixturing with a total weight limit of 100 kg. The ratio of gauging volume to footprint means that the machine is extremely space efficient, with a footprint of just 920 mm by 924 mm allowing manufacturers of larger parts to easily fit Equator 500 onto the shop floor alongside their production machines. Typical applications include the manufacture of car and truck transmission and engine casings, drive-train components such as connecting rods like and differential housings, suspension castings, pressed parts, valves and pumps.

High speed gauging of size, position or geometry

Most users of Equator systems need short cycle times to maximise throughput from their manufacturing processes. Both Equator 300 and 500 systems, while maintaining high levels of repeatability, are capable of rapid scans and high speed touch points on a wide variety of part features. Years of customer experience with Equator systems have proven the capability to gauge size, position and geometry on a single device eliminating the need to stabilise parts to the temperature of the quality room prior to measuring geometry and form of critical features.

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Accuracy with rapid temperature changes, now over a 45 ºC range

Climatic conditions can result in variable daily and seasonal temperature cycles. For example, early in the morning a cold machine shop can increase in temperature due to both external conditions and machinery heating up. The system has been proven to cope with this by part re-mastering, meaning that accurate gauging can start as soon as the first part has been produced and continue regardless of how environmental conditions change.

Automatic update of tool offsets directly from Equator systems

The Equator range is compatible with new Renishaw IPC software which allows constant monitoring and automatic adjustment of a machining operation, keeping part dimensions close to nominal and well within process control limits. This correction of process drift improves part quality and manufacturing capability, and reduces scrap. The proximity of the Equator gauge to the CNC process allows adjustment at the point of manufacture, avoiding time delays or reliance on finished part (tailgate) inspection. An Equator gauging system can be connected to one or multiple CNC machine tool controllers.

Process control configured to specific manufacturing operations

IPC software can average results from several parts to determine the true process mean for offset adjustment of critical cutting tools. For process control purposes, often only one machined feature per cutting tool will require gauging, in contrast with the many features inspected for typical Quality Assurance applications. The frequency and magnitude of offset updates can be configured on a feature-by-feature basis depending on design tolerances, process variation and tool wear rates.

IPC is an integral function of Equator Process Monitor software, using recent historical gauging data to determine process corrections. Connection to a compatible machine tool can be as simple as connecting an Ethernet cable from the Equator controller to a CNC machine. The ability to correct a process automatically eliminates manual data entry errors, and removes the requirement for an expert to decipher traditional measurement reports into a process correction value at the CNC machine.

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Available with new automatic part loading system

The new EQ-ATS Equator Automatic Transfer Systems, for Equator 300 and Equator 500, allow parts to be loaded on to a fixture plate in front of the gauge, and transferred in and out of the measuring volume under automatic program control. They can be used for either manual loading by operators or robot loaded in an automated cell, protecting the Equator gauge from accidental damage. EQ-ATS is easily integrated, bolting directly on to the base of the Equator versatile gauge.

For more information: www.renishaw.com