Robotic Pick-and-Place Provides Automated Small Part Measurement

New Scale Robotics has introduced its Q‑Span Automated Small-Part Measurement Systems for quality control (QC) teams in high-mix, small-batch manufacturing environments. Q-Span Systems combine robotic pick-and-place with automated measurement of small parts. They easily integrate into existing workflows in the QC lab or on the production floor, and automate the tedious manual process of measuring parts with digital calipers.

“Q-Span Systems help QC teams in small- and mid-size companies address the labor shortage that is holding back their growth,” said David Henderson, CEO of New Scale Robotics. “Many quality teams have one or more full-time employees using digital calipers to measure parts, then manually entering data into a computer. The work is dull and error-prone– yet critical to quality. It’s an ideal process for automation, to improve both repeatability and throughput, for companies of any size.”

A Q‑Span Workstation Solution includes up to three gripper/caliper tools on one collaborative robot. The Q-Span System picks up small parts, measures multiple dimensions, makes in-process decisions based on measurements (for example, pass/fail or sort by range), and places each part in the appropriate tray or bin.

All data can be recorded to a PC for later analysis and statistical process control (SPC). Data can be monitored in real time to detect trends and alert operators to process drift.

A Q-Span System can pick small parts weighing up to 100 grams  (3.5 ounces) and measuring up to 100 mm (3.94 inches). Measurement resolution is 2.5 μm (0.0001 inches) with better than 5 μm (0.0002 inches) repeatability and 15 μm (0.0006 inches) accuracy.

Each Q‑Span Workstation Solution includes up to three New Scale Robotics gripper/calipers with part-specific metrology fingertips, modular trays for parts-in and parts-out, a measurement fixture and zero-reference fixture with gauge block (NIST-traceable artifact), and a worktable. New Scale integrates a six-axis UR3e e-Series robot arm from Universal Robots (purchased separately) into the workstation and creates the scripts for each customer’s first part.

The Q‑Span Workstation Solution makes it easy to incorporate automation into existing QC workspaces and work flows. The workstation can be easily rolled up to any workbench. The collaborative robot is designed to operate alongside employees without safety curtains or other special modifications.

A Q-Span Workstation Solution is ready to use on the customer’s first part upon delivery. Additional parts require part-specific fingertips, trays, fixtures and scripts. Customers can design their own, or purchase this service from New Scale Robotics. The Q-Span System scripting software (NSR Devices) and UR teach pendant make it simple to build pick-measure-record-and-place processes for each part.

Once this is done, operators can change over a Q-Span System to measure different parts in minutes.

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