According to the vendor, the Equator™ is a radical alternative to traditional dedicated gaging. The design, unique in construction and method of operation, is for high-speed comparative gaging for inspection of high-volume manufactured parts. The gage can switch between parts in seconds, for flexible manufacturing processes or accepting parts from multiple machines. It has been developed and proven on the shop floor in collaboration with industry leading companies in the automotive, aerospace and medical sectors.
Based on an easily scalable and adaptable “parallel kinematic” structure, Equator’s patented principle allows high speed scanning and rapid moves between features, while retaining stiffness that delivers point-to-point repeatability.
Equator gaging medical component.
Equator systems are available with two levels of software, one that lets you create DMIS programs, another for the shop floor that prevents operators from making modifications. Both software levels include MODUS™ Organizer operator front-end software. In the programmable version, MODUS™ Equator programming software lets you rapidly create gaging routines for any part – simple or complex, prismatic or free form. You can easily program scanning measurements and touch points, using the Renishaw SP25 compact scanning probe.
The gaging system’s technology is based on the traditional comparison of production parts to a reference master part. The system can position parts to within
1 mm of where the master was measured. Re-mastering is as swift as measuring a production part and immediately compensates for any change in thermal conditions on the shop floor. Equator can be used in factories with wide temperature variation – simply re-master and the system is “re-zeroed,” ready for repeatable comparison to the master.
Master parts do not need to be expensive custom parts like a traditional gage; a production part measured on a CMM can establish feature variation from CAD or drawing nominals. The results from any CMM, using any CMM programming software, can be configured for use with the Equator software.
Equator Organizer – operator front end with “push-button” simplicity.
The calibrated absolute accuracy of the CMM (often located in a temperature controlled room to ensure accuracy) can be “extended” onto the shop floor to provide calibrated traceability to Equator measurements. With the calibration file loaded into the software, measurements made in the Equator system can be referred back to the CAD or drawing nominals. This approach allows true process control with SPC packages.
The controller, included with every Equator system, is similar to machine tool control systems with the added ability to run Equator-specific Windows applications. It incorporates all the necessary electronic boards and software in one package. You can create and execute DMIS measurement programs, change measurement settings and transfer data or programs.
An additional PC is not required, reducing cost and eliminating the chance of incompatibility or unpredictable performance arising from the wide variation of PC architectures.
Equator can be integrated into automated cells, using the optional I/O interface to connect it to a robot, or by outputting the gage results to an SPC package. Some SPC packages also offer the ability to connect to certain modern machine tool controls to update offset values.