Flexible Fixturing Speeds CMM Inspection
Modular fixturing components enable users to realize fast change-overs on CMMs to open inspection bottlenecks and reduce machine tool downtime waiting for part measurement.
Many shops use quick-change workholding devices on their CNC machine tools to speed and simplify change-overs. Kay-Jay Products, a subsidiary of Phillips Precision, says its Inspection Arsenal product line enables users to apply the same time-saving concept to CMM inspection routines.
Inspection Arsenal is a collection of modular fixturing components that offers an alternative to using traditional glue, clay and tape as well as more costly precision clamps and dedicated fixtures. According to the company, it can help open CMM bottlenecks and reduce machine tool downtime by speeding first-article and/or in-process part measurements.
Inspection Arsenal components include the Loc-N-Load fixture plate system that easily installs atop a CMM’s table. The two primary components of this system are docking plates and fixture plates onto which various clamping devices can be installed. The 0.5-inch aluminum plates interlock like pieces of a puzzle and use embedded steel and magnetic inserts to remain tightly secured to one another.
During installation, a docking plate (18- or 30-inch-long versions are available) fastens to one end of the CMM’s table to accept the fixture plates. The docking plate mounts outside of the CMM probe’s travel to maximize the inspection envelope. A plate designed to accept a qualifying sphere enables the system’s true position to be established. After that, the sphere can be quickly moved out of the way for free and clear probe travel. Various fixture plates can then be added per measurement requirements. (The video above demonstrates how this is done.)
The fixture plates are available in five sizes. They have 1/4-20 threaded holes in a 1-by-1-inch square pattern into which low-profile, non-marring clamps, such as the company’s Trigger-Block, Trigger-Finger and Cross-Bow, can be bolted. Each clamp works like a spring to enable inspection personnel to quickly secure and release parts. They can be configured to hold a single large part or multiple small parts, as shown in the photos above. Other conventional fixturing components, including stand-offs, V-blocks, riser clamps, rails and stops, are also available. Inspection Arsenal’s modular design enables fixturing kits to be created and stored for reoccurring jobs and part families.
A non-woven porous material with a special coating enables vacuum chucks and tables to hold sheets of metal and other materials more effectively on CNC routing machines. The material, called Vilmill, is used as a substrate between the sheet or plate material to be machined and a suitable vacuum table or vacuum chuck where it is held securely in place by the vacuum.
As demonstrated at this Cincinnati-area shop, machines that both mill and turn shine brightest when workpieces are massive.
These vise jaws use protruding, mechanical pins to repeatedly support workpieces either horizontally or at angles. They are said to allow quicker setups than conventional parallels.