Renishaw Introduces New Equator™ 500 Gauging System

Renishaw is pleased to introduce the new Equator™ 500 – designed to gauge larger parts with all the benefits of the proven Equator 300 gauging system.

Equator gauging systems have helped to improve yield and increase process capabilities of production lines around the world, by providing high accuracy dimensional inspection data next to turning and machining centers, at the point of manufacture. The new larger Equator 500 system now enables the gauging of larger parts, with a working volume of 20” in diameter and up to 16” in height.

Both Equator 300 and 500 systems are accurate between 41ºF and 122ºF at any rate of temperature change, and are capable of scanning speeds in excess of 8 inches/second. Every system is compatible with simple-to-use Organizer operator software, EZ-IO software for automation, and IPC (intelligent process control) software for updating tool offsets on CNC machine tools.

The Equator 500 has a gauging volume of 20” diameter in the X/Y plane and 10” in Z when used with the SM25-2 scanning module. This can be expanded to 16” in Z with the SM25-3 scanning module, which allows styli up to 8” in length to reach many more features. The base of the Equator 500 supports workpiece and fixturing with a total weight limit of 221 lbs. The ratio of gauging volume to footprint means that the machine is extremely space efficient, with a footprint of just 36.2” by 36.4”. This allows manufacturers of larger parts to easily fit the Equator 500 onto the shop floor alongside their production machines. Typical applications include the manufacture of car and truck transmission and engine casings, drive-train parts like connecting rods and differential housings, suspension castings, pressed parts, valves and pumps.

Most users of Equator systems need short cycle times to maximize throughput from their manufacturing processes. Both Equator 300 and 500 systems, while maintaining high levels of repeatability, are capable of rapid scans and high speed touch points on a wide variety of features. Years of customer experience with Equator systems have proven the capability to gauge size, position and geometry on a single device. This can eliminate the need to stabilize parts to the temperature of the quality room prior to measuring geometry and form of critical features.

Climatic conditions can result in variable daily and seasonal temperature cycles. For example, early in the morning a cold machine shop can increase in temperature due to both external conditions and machinery heating up. The system has been proven to cope with this by re-mastering – meaning that accurate gauging can start as soon as the first part has been produced and continue regardless of how conditions change.

The Equator range is compatible with new IPC software which allows constant monitoring and automatic adjustment of a machining operation, keeping part dimensions close to nominal and well within process control limits. This correction of process drift improves part quality and manufacturing capability, and reduces scrap. The proximity of the Equator gauge to the CNC process allows adjustment at the point of manufacture, avoiding time delays or reliance on finished part inspection. An Equator gauging system can be connected to one or multiple CNC machine tool controllers.

IPC software can average results from several parts to determine the true process mean for adjustment of critical cutting tools. For process control purposes, often only one machined feature per cutting tool will require gauging, in contrast with the many features inspected for typical Quality Assurance (QA) applications. The frequency and magnitude of offset updates can be configured on a feature-by-feature basis depending on design tolerances, process variation and tool wear rates.

IPC is an integral function of Equator Process Monitor software, 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 controller to a CNC machine.

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.

The new EQ-ATS (Equator Automatic Transfer Systems), for the Equator 300 and Equator 500, allows parts to be loaded on to a fixture plate in front of the gauge, and transferred in and out of the measuring volume under automatic program control. They can be used for either manual loading by operators, cranes or forklifts, or robot loading in an automated cell, protecting the Equator gauge from accidental damage. EQ-ATS is easily integrated, bolting directly on to the base of the Equator gauge.

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