Larry Maggiano, Senior Systems Analyst, Mitutoyo America 2015-02-24 00:17:43
The move from 2D drawings to 3D annotated models has led to a considerable demand for automatic measurement programming in recent years. Automatic measurement program generation software uses 3D CAD models and product manufacturing information (PMI) to enable one-click automated generation of measurement programs. A complex program that previously would have taken five hours to complete manually can be completed automatically in 15 minutes. Aerospace, defense and medical device manufacturers use coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) to gather data and compare data to computer-aided design (CAD) models. It is estimated that at least 35 percent of the original equipment manufacturers in the Department of Defense supply chain are using model-based definitions (MBDs). An MBD is a 3D annotated model and its associated data elements that fully define the product in a manner that can be used effectively by all downstream customers in place of a traditional drawing. HOW IT WORKS The automatic measurement program generation software bypasses the old drawing-based method to directly generate and execute a model-based workflow. The CMM is configurable virtually. A MBD is imported, a set of rules is applied and matched to the configured CMM, and a measurement plan is generated. With one mouse click, a final probe path optimization is performed to reduce the number of probe changes and to minimize CMM movement to the lowest possible cycle time, and the part program is then automatically generated. The configured CMM, the applied rules set, individual settings and the part itself are all saved as a single related structure. A simulated execution can be run for visual confirmation. If any additional changes – such as changing the sampling pattern from flexible grid lines or changing the number of points per line, etc. – are required, the program can make them instantly and then regenerate a report. The automatic measurement method captures these rules and practices as logical if-then statements that can be saved, recalled, reused, imported and exported. Individual knowledge can be generalized and becomes a plan that can be applied and re-applied in a consistent manner within the enterprise and throughout the supply chain. The development of software that generates parts programs for inspection is changing the relationship between people and precision measurement with one click. These sophisticated software programs reduce programming time by up to 95 percent, compared with programming using general-purpose software, for a significant potential increase in the efficiency of measurement processes.
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