GREENLEE: 3D Measurement Systems Capacity Relief

The quality assurance technician is out sick. The backlog for the coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is five jobs deep. The machine operator needs to check a hole position on a rush job. These are common occurrences on any manufacturing floor, ones that cause machine downtime, employee frustration, lost productivity, and bad parts.

Some shops attempt to solve these problems by placing a conventional CMM in the production area. This consumes valuable floor space, however, and often requires a special foundation and plumbing for compressed air. What’s more, most CMMs require lengthy operator training, and are not suitable for the temperature swings and less-than-pristine air quality typical of many manufacturing environments.

Nathan Blair, plant manager at Greenlee Textron’s Genoa, IL facility, recognized all this, and in the spring of 2016 decided to do something about it. He contacted his local KEYENCE representative and scheduled a demonstration of the metrology provider’s newest addition to its shop floor lineup, the XM Series handheld probe coordinate measuring machine.

With that many products and employees, Blair needed a fast and simple to use measurement solution. The XM proved to be just that. Using a combination of high-resolution camera and unique, handheld probe, it guides the operator through a series of steps—simply touch the workpiece with the stylus, select the measurement parameters, and follow the on-screen guide to measure points, surfaces, circles, ellipses, and a variety of 3D shapes, including freeform surfaces.

The XM also allows recording of positions obtained while checking, a feature that greatly simplifies creation of work instructions. It uses “augmented reality” to visually overlay measurement points and anticipated geometry on top of and alongside the workpiece image. This makes it easy for anyone to walk up and start using the XM, with no need for lengthy training or knowledge of measurement principles.

For more details, go to  

Keyence Corporation of America
Itasca, IL
[email protected]

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