https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/10144352/56-57-Background-image-overlay-text-on-this-640x360.jpg
    Measurement

    Driving UK Measurement Innovation

    • By MTDCNC
    • November 22, 2020
    • 6 minute read

    With ‘lockdown’ rules changing as often as the weather, MTD magazine was delighted to ‘skip’ between lockdown periods and take up the invite to Eastcombe in Gloucestershire to witness the launch of two new machines from UK measurement equipment manufacturer, Aberlink. With UK manufacturing success stories being the theme of this November issue, the timing was almost as good as the technology.

    The company that started back in the early 90s has developed a number of world firsts through its 27-year history, and innovation is certainly at the core of everything the company does. So, the arrival of not one, but two new products will be a genuine shot-in-the-arm for any manufacturer currently at a crossroads deciding upon a vendor and a CMM to invest in.

    For anybody already familiar with the Aberlink range of measuring technology, the new Extol is a shop-floor hardened non-cartesian CNC CMM that will replace the existing Xtreme CMM. Directors at Aberlink said that during its life-cycle, the rugged and robust Xtreme had opened up an entirely new market to the Gloucestershire Company with well over 500+ worldwide sales, making shop-floor measurement a genuine option for the wider manufacturing industry – moving away from the concept that measurement should be kept to meticulously clean and tidy QA departments. Starting the development roadmap of the new Extol, Aberlink asked itself and its customer base ‘what would make the ultimate shop-floor CMM?’, the 18-month journey to reach this eutopia had begun…and the Extol is the result.

    Incorporating a larger X, Y and Z-axis measurement area than its predecessor, the Extol measurement volume of 370mm diameter in X and Y axis and 270mm in Z-axis is somewhat understating the larger teardrop measuring volume of a CMM that applies what is claimed to be the world’s first CMM with a Delta mechanism. Not only does this increase the measuring envelope, but it also improves precision levels.
    This increased measurement envelope is in a working footprint that is 37% smaller than its Xtreme predecessor, making it suitable for workshop environments. The Extol incorporates five temperature sensors for measuring both the ambient temperature and also the machine, making it applicable for use in machine shops and work environments that are not temperature controlled. To instil confidence in users, Aberlink has added a warning signal for the user if the temperature changes at a rate that is not conducive to precision measurement. To retain this impressive level of precision, the Extol utilises six carbon fibre rods to connect the three vertically mounted linear guideways to the lower triangular probe plate. With a coefficient of expansion of 2ppm/°C compared to 23ppm/°C with aluminium, the choice of carbon fibre components provides greater precision levels and thermal stability. During the error mapping process, the pivot positions and the carbon fibre rod lengths are determined to micron precision, which in turn ensures micron accuracy levels for the shopfloor environment.

    The ergonomics of the Extol make it suitable for fast, one-off inspection as well as batch production measurement through an automated loading software interface. Despite taking the ‘shop-floor’ as a key target audience with its robustness, small footprint and overall working area, the Extol will be available with a larger 520mm diameter capacity variant arriving some point before Santa’s sleigh brings a close to 2020.

    More Innovation on the Horizon

    Appearing in the showroom alongside the shiny new Extol CMM was the larger new Horizon CNC CMM. With an X-axis measuring range of 800mm, it fills a gap between the award-winning Axiom Too and Zenith 3 CNC CMMs. The new Horizon is Aberlink’s most accurate bridge-type CMM to date. At the unveiling event, this was demonstrated with a high-speed contact scan on a circular component. The first-term error of the Horizon CMM is 1.75 microns. As the company’s most accurate bridge-type CMM, the Horizon attains this level of increased precision via a number of factors.

    The new Horizon CMM utilises air bearings along with linear motors. Commenting upon the introduction of linear motors, Aberlink’s Business Development Manager, Mr Chris Davies says: “Linear motors have not previously been used in CMMs because they generate a lot of heat when working. Of course, heat and especially ‘hot-spot’ heat areas around a linear motor can be detrimental to CMM accuracy and performance, especially if that heat is in close proximity to the X, Y and Z axis feedback positions and Renishaw linear encoders. With an ingenious new design, we have been able to separate the heat generated by the linear motors from the metrology frame of the Horizon CMM. This is done using carbon fibre rods to transfer the linear motor drives. The linear motors have enabled us to measure a circular diameter via contact scanning, more than 6 times faster than any other previous Aberlink bridge-type CMM, achieving precision measurement at a velocity of 120mm/sec.”

    The drive system is kinematically isolated by a tetrahedral arrangement of carbon fibre tubing and this transfers the thrust from the motors through the centre of gravity of the moving parts. This ensures the drive system is kept completely independent from the CMM structure to avoid thermal deviations. Additionally, this design prevents acceleration induced metrology errors by minimising pitch and yaw errors that could arise when the probe is moved in X and Y axes – another factor that enhances the precision of the new CMM.

    From a software perspective, the Extol measurement interface has undergone some development work to guarantee positional accuracy and repeatability. The Aberlink 3D Software works in tandem with the five temperature sensors fitted to the Extol to compensate for any temperature deviation with significant ambient temperature changes raising warning signals for the user. Also configured for the new Horizon CMM, the latest software solution can construct a representation of the part on the monitor as it is measured, allowing dimensions between measured features to be picked out to appear exactly as they do on the part drawing. Additionally, the user-friendly platform incorporates GD&T dimensioning, RPS alignment and SPC data analysis with further modules available for off-line part programming from a CAD model.

    https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/10144352/56-57-Background-image-overlay-text-on-this-640x360.jpg

    Driving UK Measurement Innovation

    With ‘lockdown’ rules changing as often as the weather, MTD magazine was delighted to ‘skip’ between lockdown periods and take up the invite to Eastcombe in Gloucestershire to witness the launch of two new machines from UK measurement equipment manufacturer, Aberlink. With UK manufacturing success stories being the theme of this November issue, the timing was almost as good as the technology.

    The company that started back in the early 90s has developed a number of world firsts through its 27-year history, and innovation is certainly at the core of everything the company does. So, the arrival of not one, but two new products will be a genuine shot-in-the-arm for any manufacturer currently at a crossroads deciding upon a vendor and a CMM to invest in.

    For anybody already familiar with the Aberlink range of measuring technology, the new Extol is a shop-floor hardened non-cartesian CNC CMM that will replace the existing Xtreme CMM. Directors at Aberlink said that during its life-cycle, the rugged and robust Xtreme had opened up an entirely new market to the Gloucestershire Company with well over 500+ worldwide sales, making shop-floor measurement a genuine option for the wider manufacturing industry – moving away from the concept that measurement should be kept to meticulously clean and tidy QA departments. Starting the development roadmap of the new Extol, Aberlink asked itself and its customer base ‘what would make the ultimate shop-floor CMM?’, the 18-month journey to reach this eutopia had begun…and the Extol is the result.

    Incorporating a larger X, Y and Z-axis measurement area than its predecessor, the Extol measurement volume of 370mm diameter in X and Y axis and 270mm in Z-axis is somewhat understating the larger teardrop measuring volume of a CMM that applies what is claimed to be the world’s first CMM with a Delta mechanism. Not only does this increase the measuring envelope, but it also improves precision levels.
    This increased measurement envelope is in a working footprint that is 37% smaller than its Xtreme predecessor, making it suitable for workshop environments. The Extol incorporates five temperature sensors for measuring both the ambient temperature and also the machine, making it applicable for use in machine shops and work environments that are not temperature controlled. To instil confidence in users, Aberlink has added a warning signal for the user if the temperature changes at a rate that is not conducive to precision measurement. To retain this impressive level of precision, the Extol utilises six carbon fibre rods to connect the three vertically mounted linear guideways to the lower triangular probe plate. With a coefficient of expansion of 2ppm/°C compared to 23ppm/°C with aluminium, the choice of carbon fibre components provides greater precision levels and thermal stability. During the error mapping process, the pivot positions and the carbon fibre rod lengths are determined to micron precision, which in turn ensures micron accuracy levels for the shopfloor environment.

    The ergonomics of the Extol make it suitable for fast, one-off inspection as well as batch production measurement through an automated loading software interface. Despite taking the ‘shop-floor’ as a key target audience with its robustness, small footprint and overall working area, the Extol will be available with a larger 520mm diameter capacity variant arriving some point before Santa’s sleigh brings a close to 2020.

    More Innovation on the Horizon

    Appearing in the showroom alongside the shiny new Extol CMM was the larger new Horizon CNC CMM. With an X-axis measuring range of 800mm, it fills a gap between the award-winning Axiom Too and Zenith 3 CNC CMMs. The new Horizon is Aberlink’s most accurate bridge-type CMM to date. At the unveiling event, this was demonstrated with a high-speed contact scan on a circular component. The first-term error of the Horizon CMM is 1.75 microns. As the company’s most accurate bridge-type CMM, the Horizon attains this level of increased precision via a number of factors.

    The new Horizon CMM utilises air bearings along with linear motors. Commenting upon the introduction of linear motors, Aberlink’s Business Development Manager, Mr Chris Davies says: “Linear motors have not previously been used in CMMs because they generate a lot of heat when working. Of course, heat and especially ‘hot-spot’ heat areas around a linear motor can be detrimental to CMM accuracy and performance, especially if that heat is in close proximity to the X, Y and Z axis feedback positions and Renishaw linear encoders. With an ingenious new design, we have been able to separate the heat generated by the linear motors from the metrology frame of the Horizon CMM. This is done using carbon fibre rods to transfer the linear motor drives. The linear motors have enabled us to measure a circular diameter via contact scanning, more than 6 times faster than any other previous Aberlink bridge-type CMM, achieving precision measurement at a velocity of 120mm/sec.”

    The drive system is kinematically isolated by a tetrahedral arrangement of carbon fibre tubing and this transfers the thrust from the motors through the centre of gravity of the moving parts. This ensures the drive system is kept completely independent from the CMM structure to avoid thermal deviations. Additionally, this design prevents acceleration induced metrology errors by minimising pitch and yaw errors that could arise when the probe is moved in X and Y axes – another factor that enhances the precision of the new CMM.

    From a software perspective, the Extol measurement interface has undergone some development work to guarantee positional accuracy and repeatability. The Aberlink 3D Software works in tandem with the five temperature sensors fitted to the Extol to compensate for any temperature deviation with significant ambient temperature changes raising warning signals for the user. Also configured for the new Horizon CMM, the latest software solution can construct a representation of the part on the monitor as it is measured, allowing dimensions between measured features to be picked out to appear exactly as they do on the part drawing. Additionally, the user-friendly platform incorporates GD&T dimensioning, RPS alignment and SPC data analysis with further modules available for off-line part programming from a CAD model.