The Renishaw Equator flexible gauge is now offered with IPC (intelligent process control) software, providing the functionality to fully automate tool offset updates in CNC manufacturing processes. Improved capability in precision part machining, reduced setting and process adjustment time, and integration with automation systems are some of the benefits that users can now expect.
IPC is used with the existing software running on the Equator controller, using recent historical gauging data to determine process corrections. Connection to a compatible machine tool can be as simple as connecting an Ethernet cable from the Equator to a CNC machine. This capability has already been used by Renishaw customers worldwide 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 and well within process control limits. This means that any process drift is quickly corrected, improving part quality and manufacturing capability, along with reducing scrap. The 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 (tailgate) inspection.
The IPC software can average results across several parts to determine the true process mean for adjustment of each cutting tool. For process control purposes, it is usual that only one machined feature per tool offset will require gauging, as compared to many features for typical Quality Assurance (QA) applications. The frequency and control of offset updates can be configured on a feature by feature basis depending on design tolerances, process variation and tool wear rates. 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 into a process correction value at the CNC machine.
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