Part-holding system designed for noncontact scanning

  • 15-Sep-2009 10:21 EDT
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The FixLogix part-holding system uses a T-slot fixture plate with integrated components to stage the part on the machine.

NVision Inc. and FixLogix LLC have partnered to provide a new easy-to-use and modular part-holding system designed especially for noncontact scanning.

The FixLogix part-holding system uses a T-slot fixture plate with integrated components to stage the part on the machine. NVision says the system offers significant savings compared to conventional fixtures and provides a superior solution to laser scanning applications because of the infinite adjustability of the T-slot system.

“The FixLogix system is the first part-holding system to deliver exactly what is needed for diverse engineering projects,” said Steve Kersen, President of NVision. “We are excited to bundle it with our scanning systems to provide our customers a complete turnkey solution for both reverse engineering and inspection.”

Fixtures made for machining are not appropriate for noncontact measurement. They are designed to withstand the high cutting forces involved in machining, so they are typically quite expensive and block much of the part from optical inspection, according to FixLogix.

“The ideal approach to fixturing for optical inspection would be levitation,” said Dan Smith, President of FixLogix. “Our new part-holding system provides the next best thing by offering a minimalist approach to holding the part firmly. We provide a standard kit that can be configured to hold nearly any part, with simple structures that minimize interference with scanning. It saves hours that today are commonly spent in scouring the shop for a makeshift fixture that takes hours to assemble and may not hold the part in the right orientation.”

The T-slot plate has a clamp ledge around the perimeter, allowing easy lockdown with toe clamps. New “near zero” force clamps feature an innovative self-wedging design to trap soft or fragile parts without distortion.

The part-holding system provides multi-axis infinite positioning of locating components, which simplifies fixture construction. The frame is laser-engraved with reference scales along the T-slots, providing clear documentation of the fixture setup for easy repeatability. The modular part-holding system works equally well with optical scanning systems mounted on gantries and portable coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).

NVision provides the FixLogix modular part-holding system as part of a complete package with noncontact optical scanning systems. These include the NVision HandHeld scanner, MAXOS, and MobileScan.

The HandHeld Scanner is a powerful portable device that is capable of capturing 3-D geometry from components of virtually any size. It is attached to a mechanical arm that moves about the object, freeing the user to capture data rapidly and with a high degree of resolution.

The MAXOS system uses a concentrated light, rather than a touch probe, to make measurements, allowing it to measure complex geometry—even if it has a shiny surface—without the need for spraying. The MAXOS is also unaffected by the limitations of ball radius compensation from which traditional CMMs suffer. It can measure radii down to 0.1 mm with an accuracy of ±2 micron.

The MobileScan laser system moves automatically to follow a predefined measurement strategy. This means that the scanner can be left alone to scan production items without the constant attention that is required by a handheld device. MobileScan connects easily to a standard notebook computer via USB or FireWire and comes integrated with computer-aided inspection software that automatically processes scan data from a physical part to generate highly accurate polygon and parametric surface models.

Half of NVision’s customers are in the aerospace industry. Other major segments are power generation (20%), oil/gas (20%), and off-highway (10%).

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