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On line non-contact gauge extends the possibilities for reverse engineering
On line non-contact gauge extends the possibilities for reverse engineeringKeywords: Reverse engineering
Isel Automation KG in Germany, manufacturers of CNC milling machines, has recently completed installation of a number of high-tech reverse engineering systems using the patented 3D non-contact Conoprobe which can measure virtually every contour of a component at high speeds. Designed and manufactured by Optimet in Israel (Spectrum Metrology in Leicester is the UK agent), the Conoprobe's measurement resolution and high speed data acquisition has revolutionised the possibilities for reverse engineering.
The Conoprobe creates extremely precise three-dimensional digital images of virtually any surface including the most difficult to measure components such as narrow grooves, steep surfaces and varying surface types – at very high speeds, and at stand-off distances once considered unfeasible. The Conoprobe can therefore be used to scan almost any free form surface.
The Conoprobe is available either as a complete measurement system or as a gauge for integration with manufacturing and inspection processes, so for example Isel Automation integrated the Conoprobe to its CNC milling machine, using two software packages (surface feedback and analysis software, plus CAD/CAM software) to interpret the results from the Conoprobe and program the machining process.
The technology behind this revolutionary system is "conoscopic holography" (which is the optical interference effect produced by doubly refracting crystals illuminated with convergent polarised light rays). This technology, protected by eight patents, solves the problems traditionally caused by awkward shapes, angles and material types. Applications are wide ranging and include the thickness of high density PCBs, radius and steep angle measurements of moulded plastics products and dimensions and radii of very narrow or deep holes on any precision machined parts.
One of the most important benefits of this technology is that no coherent light source is required. This avoids the stability, sensitivity and cost limitations of conventional laser-based interferometry. Since this optical system uses concentric optics it is insensitive to the position of key optical components. This flexibility and its sub-micron capability make it ideal for this type of workshop application.
Further details of the Conoscan probe are available from Graham Anderson or Peter Seddon. Tel: +44 (0)116 235 8355; Fax: +44 (0)116 235 8344; e-mail: SpectrumMetrology@compuserve.com; Web site: www.spectrum-metrology.co.uk