DIS makes 3-D measurement possible in climatic extremes

  • 30-Nov-2010 12:25 EST

This screen capture shows how the changing measurement data is displayed over the actual instrument panel being tested.

The ability to pinpoint a product's dimensional profile before and after exposure to temperature and humidity extremes is a standard testing practice, but the ability to measure a component's shape during exposure to harsh conditions is a new option.

ChamberCam from Dynamic Intelligent Solutions (DIS) uses photogrammetry hardware and software to measure in real time what happens to a part during thermal cycling in an environmental chamber.

"Many times during testing under extreme climatic conditions, a part's shape/dimensions will react in ways that engineers can't detect, making it difficult to pinpoint what the root cause may be when a part fails or becomes dimensionally unstable," said Jim Arnone, Managing Partner of DIS, a Clinton Township, MI, company. "Our patent-pending ChamberCam process takes already proven optical measurement equipment and places it in the chamber during extreme climatic testing to capture the part's dimensional data.

"This process provides more information than a conventional method, as well as previously unobtainable data, and that potentially eliminates days or weeks of costly testing, development, and downstream engineering time."

The conventional way to check the dimensional stability of a part is on a coordinate measurement machine (CMM) before and after the climatic test. But the ChamberCam process, which employs Aicon 3D Systems software for point data and analysis as well as 15-Hz resolution cameras, makes it possible to measure a part dynamically throughout a climatic test.

"The biggest challenge was finding a way to keep each camera operable inside the environmental chamber at a high temperature of 177°C and a low temperature of -77 °C and up to 95% relative humidity. To do this, we have an external chiller source feeding coolant to the housing around each camera that's located inside the environmental chamber," explained Arnone.

Instrument panels, door panels, headliners, armrests, visors, and other interior parts are the initial targeted components for the ChamberCam process. However, any part or assembly that is sensitive to temperature and humidity is a possible match for the measurement technique that is accurate up to 45 µm (1772 µin) and can capture data up to 15 times per second.

Testing specialists can use the ChamberCam system to address a variety of tasks, including geometric dimension and tolerance measurements, deformation analysis, motion and position analysis, dynamic process acquisition, and precise digitizing of medium- to large-sized objects.

"We're able to provide time, temperature, and humidity data to the customer in a variety of formats, including pictures, charts, video, and 3-D point data" said Arnone.

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