How to automate?
Automation is more than the automatic measurement of surface roughness and shape parameters. Automation means simple interaction between administrator and machine operator, intuitive order management, high measuring accuracy as well as simple communication and networking with existing production systems including the connection to an ERP and QM system. The following is an overview of the automation options available. The range includes "simple" automated measurement up to the realization of Smart Manufacturing.
The AutomationManager software offers a variety of automation options:
#1 Automatic measurement of dimension, position, shape and roughness
Automation interfaces enable the automatic and user-independent measurement of micro-precision parts or smallest component features on large surfaces. Measurement of shape (distances, roundness, flatness, shape deviation, positional relationships...) and roughness parameters as well as of cutting edge parameters (radius, contour, angle...) is based on the interaction between an administrator for the teach-in of measurement programs and an operator who starts the measurement using single-button solutions. The teach-in is designed for maximum user-friendliness and can be implemented in only a few steps without programming knowledge. The component to be measured is identified by means of a drop-down menu or barcode. The corresponding measuring program is started automatically, and the machine operator receives a measurement protocol including ok/not ok data.
#2 Digital measurement planning
A CADCAM connection enables the definition of measuring points, measuring directions etc. already in the CAD file of the reference part. Tilting angles, travel ranges in XYZ as well as rotation angles are automatically calculated and synchronized. A simulation provides a preview of the measurement process to be carried out and thus supports reliable measurement planning. The time-consuming definition of measurement positions on the real component becomes obsolete. This is an attractive solution, especially if users have to define and teach in 100 or more measuring positions on components with complex geometries.
#3 Extended database management
The measuring programs stored for a single component or a whole batch are automatically recognized by a barcode scanner. Each measurement is thus assigned to the respective order. In addition, information such as end user/customer, operator, machine tool, etc. can be added via freely editable and configurable fields. This enables, among other things, user-specific reports to check, for example, whether production is of constant quality. Also, it ensures that deviations can be detected and corrected at an early stage.
#4 Connection to a QM and/or ERP system
Optionally, Bruker Alicona measuring system provide the connection to the end users´ ERP and QM system. This means that measuring systems can access the nominal values, tolerances and measuring strategies stored in the ERP via DMC or RFT. At the same time, measurement results are fed into the QM system, enabling production managers to access all production data from their global locations and react immediately to negative and positive trends. The networking of measurement data, ERP and QM systems can, in the medium term, also enable the autonomous, user-independent creation of measurement programs.
#5 Machine to machine communication
Modern production facilities which are based on connected, networking machines and measuring technology usually target adaptive production planning and self-optimized production. This requires measurement technology to be integrated directly into manufacturing and to be part of a networked production chain. Measuring sensors detect faulty components, this information is automatically fed into the production cycle and production adapts or corrects itself automatically. Industry standards such as TCP/IP, Modbus TCP or Remoting allow the flexible integration of measuring systems into existing production systems without programming effort. Measuring equipment and machine tools interact fully automatically and carry out pre-defined measuring and testing programs. This also includes workflows such as the automatic clamping and unclamping of components from a machine tool and the equipping of the measuring system with a robot (“Pick & Place”). Even measuring without clamping, e.g. directly in the machine tool, is possible. This works when a measurement sensor is combined with a collaborative robot arm. Here, the sensor is automatically manipulated to the workpiece in a machine tool.
#6 Intelligent algorithms for automatic segmentation and classification
A number of expansion options for automatic segmentation and classification of surface features complete the automation options. Intelligent, self-learning algorithms are the basis of a smart method to characterize, segment, analyze and classify surfaces. Subsequently, relevant parameters for surface evaluation are automatically derived and evaluated. Bruker Alicona currently offers solutions for the analysis of grain size distribution on grinding tools and for the evaluation of sandblasted and laser machined surfaces.
Find out more about the AutomationManager
The AutomationManager is the software platform that enables the previously described automated and user-independent surface measurement and evaluation of micro-precision components or micro-structured surface details on large components.
Further information material
In this video Wayne Leahy, head of applications at Element Six, talks about how Bruker Alicona Metrology transformed the way they look at cutting tools. By using the Bruker Alicona Cobot System Element Six has transformed the capacity by a factor of 10 in terms of pure productivity.
Pick & Place
Alicona Pick & Place is an automation solution that makes it possible to set up a complete automation process within ten minutes. Therefore an optical measurement system is extended with a robot arm to automatically pick, place, measure and sort components. Pick & Place can also be used in smaller production environments and pays for itself within ten months.