Inspection For Free

Gaging integrated with a robot delivers inspection without any cost in floorspace or cycle time.

Article From: 2/2/2006 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Two gage heads on either side of the gripper

In this photo, the two gage heads on either side of the gripper measure the OD. The measurement system can be retrofitted to existing robots.

Manufacturers intent on saving floor space and cycle time often turn to multitasking machine tools—machines able to perform various operations in one setup. However, the advantages of multitasking can apply to other production hardware as well.

Consider the robot. Robotic loading and unloading of machine tools represents a clear efficiency enhancement for many processes. Nevertheless, the time that the part is in the robot’s gripper is time during which nothing else is happening . . . and that time might be productively put to use.

This is the thinking behind the “Grip-Gage-Go” system from Control Gaging (Ann Arbor, Michigan). Gaging installed on an existing gantry loader or robot can measure a shaft part while the gripper is holding it, without having any effect on the speed of the robot’s cycle. Thus the system could be thought of as offering measurement for free. The measurement imposes no cost in terms of cycle time, nor is there any cost in terms of the floor space that a bench gage would otherwise require.

For manufacturers currently inspecting only a sample of workpieces, the system provides a streamlined way to implement 100 percent inspection. The gage could provide not only go/no-go measurements, but also feedback that might be applied for automatic tool compensation or statistical process control.

This system is suitable for shaft parts coming off of lathes or grinders. A range of shaft parts is potentially appropriate. The company says a version of the system on a gantry loader could be applied to crankshaft production, with the gripper’s gage measuring the crankshaft’s pin and main.

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