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AMB 2014: BLUM brings surface roughness measuring to machine tools
AMB 2014: BLUM brings surface roughness measuring to machine tools
AMB 2014: BLUM brings surface roughness measuring to machine tools

AMB 2014: BLUM brings surface roughness measuring to machine tools

Added to MTDCNC by Blum-Novotest on 15 August 2014

Blum-Novotest, the leading manufacturer of innovative and high-quality measuring and testing technology, will be presenting the TC64-RG Surface Roughness Gauge at the AMB 2014 (Hall 1, Booth H71). With this new product, the company now makes it possible to automatically test workpiece surfaces in machine tools. 


'If we look at a technical drawing in detail, we can see that almost all quantifiable measures can be automatically measured in machine tools,' explained Winfried Weiland, Head of Marketing at Blum-Novotest. 'An exception to this is the measure of a surface's roughness. Until now, such a test could only be performed on a manually clamped workpiece, or it had to be tested in the course of external inspection outside of the machine. Neither approach is really suitable for automated production, as they interrupt the serial production process and are prone to errors. With the TC64-RG, we close this gap in the process chain. Poor-quality surfaces are now detected when the workpiece is first clamped in place.'


Given the harsh conditions prevailing within machine tools, the automated, machine-internal measurement of surface quality was considered to be technically impossible for the longest time. Moreover, customers in the high-production serial manufacturing sector expect extremely short measurement times but also maximum reliability and precision. BLUM decided to tackle this challenge. Based on the DIGILOG technology first presented in 2010, the company's engineers developed the new TC64-RG. Like all of the other TC touch probes, the TC64-RG is fully suitable for use in machine tools, is resistant to coolants, and has IP68 protection. It performs measurements at a remarkable speed too. Standard milled, turned or ground surfaces can be tested with μm precision in just a few seconds and analysed in terms of the roughness parameters Ra, Rz and Rmax. The detected roughness values can either be documented for later use, output as a status value, or displayed via the GUI. 


It has already seen some early adoption in the production of motor components such as impellers, connecting rods and cylinder bores. But the focus is not always on having a perfect surface quality. The latter examples named above, for example, are 'functional surfaces' – they have to comply with a precisely defined roughness value. If this value is too low, the surface no longer performs its function of 'storing' lubricant. The TC64-RG is also used in the production of transmission housings and in the machining of aviation components such as turbine blades. As movements are controlled by the NC system's axes, it is also possible to test free-form surfaces, unlike external apparatus. 

As with all of the company's measuring instruments, the measurements are generated using a wear-free, optoelectronic measurement sensor inside the device. The TC64-RG also operates using the patented shark360 measuring mechanism. The integrated face gear enables the use of a defined deflection direction while maintaining a constant deflection force. Any torsion that may arise is absorbed by the face gear and therefore does not affect the measurement. For data transmission, the roughness testing device uses the tried-and-tested BRC Radio Technology that is already utilised in many of the company's other measuring systems. The advantage of this is that, if the user is already using a system from the extensive range of BLUM radio products, this generates cost savings and aids integration, as the required receiver unit is already present. 


'The use of the TC64-RG in machine tools is not aimed at replacing traditional roughness measuring instruments. It's more about helping customers to achieve the goal of producing 100% approved parts in as short a time as possible. Especially in chained production lines, it can sometimes take a very long time for the first reject parts to be discovered. In such cases, the use of the machine-integrated surface roughness gauge pays off quickly,' Weiland summarised. 



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