On-Machine Laser Measuring System Maintains Tool Grinding Accuracy

ANCA’s LaserPlus laser measuring system, an enhancement to the touch probe on the company’s MX and TX grinding machines, provides repeatable measurement to 0.0001" and automatic machine compensation while reducing scrap during production of precision cutting tools.

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ANCA’s LaserPlus laser measuring system, an enhancement to the touch probe on the company’s MX and TX grinding machines, provides repeatable measurement to 0.0001" and automatic machine compensation while reducing scrap during production of precision cutting tools. The ANCA LaserPlus is said to assure tight tolerances and process stability in tool grinding. It uses a non-contact laser beam to accurately measure tool features in seconds, including micro tools too small for touch probe measurement, the company says. The system can measure OD, ballnose, corner-radius and profile tools.

The laser body consists of two turrets, one containing the transmitter optic and the other a receiver optic. A measurement is registered when the laser beam is interrupted. The laser measurement process is fully automated, including compensation for any out-of-tolerance conditions, thus supporting unmanned machine operation. The system can measure and maintain an accuracy ranging to ±0.002 mm (0.0001") over a large batch of tools, measuring the top and bottom of the tool and checking tool runout, the company says. The maximum diameter the LaserPlus can accept for top and bottom measurement is 20 mm (¾").

The laser is mounted inside the machine and will not interfere with the grinding processes while automatically measuring tools in the machine collet. With an ingress protection (IP) rating of 68, the laser is protected from dust ingress and can withstand long-term immersion in liquids. The laser optics are protected by a pneumatically operated shutter. Each shutter is closed during grinding and an air purge minimizes any contamination gathering around the optics.

Assuring accurate laser measurements when using coolant in a mist-filled environment can be a challenge because residual oil imparts an opaque film. The LaserPlus system includes two solutions. The tool spins at specified intervals and different rotational speeds; additionally, a compact air blast unit aims a jet of air to disperse any residual oil from the tool. According to the company, these two actions ensure the tool is free of any dirt or contaminates.