NPL system speeds up CMM/machine tool calibration

Monday, April 14, 2008

NPL system speeds up CMM/machine tool calibration

The UK's National Physical Laboratory has a measurement system claimed to bring laboratory level measurement and calibration standards to shop floor CMMs and machine tools

The UK's national physical laboratory (NPL) will launch what it describes as a 'revolutionary new measurement system' at the UK's MACH 2008 machine tool exhibition. NPL said that its system will bring laboratory level standards to the shop floor. It enables significantly improved calibration times and thereby, minimises machine downtime for industries across the rapid manufacturing sector, said NPL.

Partnered by ETALON, NPL's Laser Tracer is a high-speed, ultra-precise, mobile system for the calibration and verification of coordinate-measuring machines (CMM), CNC machine tools, and other advanced measurement applications.

Laser Tracer uses a highly stable laser source and an NPL patented internal design that is mechanically and thermally decoupled from the tracking mechanism.

In this way, NPL said that Tracer provides 'the ultimate' in measurement stability and accuracy.

* Laser Tracer operation - 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.

NPL said that the internal algorithm ensures self-calibration of the system during the test and enables all machine error contribution with unprecedented precision.

Measurement routines do not need highly skilled technicians, said NPL to manufacturingtalk 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.

New machines being supported every month and the measurement procedure is designed to meet the requirements of the emerging standard ISO10360-2.

Laser Tracer product manager, David Lowther, 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'.

* About the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) - NPL is the UK's national measurement institute and a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available to man.

For more than a century NPL has developed and maintained the nation's primary measurement standards.

These standards support an infrastructure of traceable measurement through the UK and the world that ensures accuracy and consistency.

Good measurement improves productivity and quality; it underpins consumer confidence and trade, and is vital to innovation.

We undertake research and share our expertise with thousands of organisations and individuals to help enhance economic performance and the quality of life.

NPL services range from free technical advice, joint projects, training, secondments, problem solving, consultancy, contract research to highly accurate UKAS accredited measurement services.

The National Physical Laboratory is operated on behalf of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) by NPL Management Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco Group plc.

* NPL at MACH 2008, NEC, Birmingham, UK April 21-25, Hall 5, Stand 5596.