New software for Equator gauging system

Posted on 19 May 2017 and read 1056 times
New software for Equator gauging systemThe Equator flexible gauge from Renishaw ( is now available with intelligent process control (IPC) software, which fully automates tool-offset updates in CNC manufacturing processes, resulting in improved component precision, as well as reduced setting and process adjustment time; it also supports integration with automation systems.

IPC is used with the existing software running on the Equator controller, with recent historical gauging data determining process corrections. Connection to a compatible CNC machine tool can be as simple as connecting an Ethernet cable from the Equator to the machine.

This capability has already been used by Renishaw customers world-wide to achieve considerable performance gains across a wide variety of industries, applications and CNC machine types — including lathes, machining centres and highly automated machining cells.

The new IPC software allows constant monitoring and adjustment of a machining operation, keeping part dimensions close to nominal size and well within process control limits, with any process drift quickly corrected (the close proximity of the Equator gauge to the CNC process allows rapid measurement and process adjustment at the point of manufacture, avoiding time delays or relying on finished-part inspection).

Renishaw says the IPC software can average results across several parts to determine the true process mean for adjustment of each cutting tool, adding that for process control purposes, it is usual that only one machined feature per tool offset will require gauging, compared to many features for typical quality-assurance applications, with the frequency and control of offset updates configured on a feature-by-feature basis depending on design tolerances, process variation and tool wear rates.

Moreover, the ability to correct a process automatically with IPC software eliminates the potential for manual data entry errors and removes the requirement for an expert to decipher traditional measurement reports and determine process correction values for CNC machines.

An Equator gauging system can be connected to one or a number of CNC machines, with the offset updates being sent to the corresponding machine. Connection to multiple machines can be via an Ethernet hub or via an existing factory network, with closed-loop unmanned process control of a cell of machines also possible.

Meanwhile, options within the IPC software can constantly monitor the process, detect excessive tool-offset update values (indicating tool failure or high rates of tool wear), and automatically signal to the machine that the tool needs changing.

Renishaw says IPC software has proved to be particularly useful for conventional CNC lathes or Swiss-style sliding-head machines. where integration of conventional tool-probing systems may be difficult due to machine configuration or tool station availability.

Using the Equator gauging system is also beneficial where feature access or size would make measurement difficult to undertake on the machine tool. Renishaw also says that the use of off-machine gauging and IPC as a parallel activity is the preferred solution where minimum machining-cycle time is a critical requirement.

The first release of the new IPC software allows connection to Fanuc, Mazak and Okuma CNC systems. The Fanuc controls that have been tested and proven include the 0i, 30i, 31i and 32i (with the Focas2 option installed).

The Mazak controls currently supported are the Smooth X, Smooth G, Matrix2 and Matrix controls with the Mazak API installed.

The Okuma OSP300L and OSP300M controls are supported, on machines with the Thinc API installed. Future software releases will further increase CNC control compatibility.

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