OptoVue’s new optical imaging can be used to find the location of a workpiece to minimize setup time. The system combines an imager, optics and illumination source into a compact package that fits into a standard toolholder. This assembly loads in the spindle like a tool. Imaging resolution is 10 microns. The fine-resolution images of the workpiece can be viewed on a monitor or captured by a computer.
According to the company, a crosshair that coincides with the center of the spindle allows the operator to precisely position a machine’s table. Alternatively, the video signal can be processed by a computer, with features such as edges, corners or holes used to locate the workpiece. Machine vision software can compute the location of the part to within a few microns, with the coordinates of the visible features then sent to the CNC.
In addition to saving setup time, the system can be used for workpiece registration from one machine tool to the next. When multiple machines work on the same part, distinct visual fiducials such as shallow holes can be cut into the work at the first station. Subsequent machines equipped with the optical system can then find the location of the fiducials to compute the exact location of the workpiece. This can allow the machines to coordinate work without error, the company says.
Another potential benefit of the optical system is the ability to perform real-time measurement for in-process quality control.