Fastco has acquired a Contour (form) Tracing measurement machine! Improved measurement methods in measuring manufactured product (http://www.fastcoind.com/blog/post/2014/06/Keyance-Measuring-System-Acquired.aspx), and real time SPC software (http://www.fastcoind.com/blog/post/2014/08/Zontec-and-SPC-Usage-at-Fastco.aspx) have shown us a need to more tightly control our tooling.
Measuring internal dimensions has always been a challenge, involving just gage pins, or using a low melting alloy and creating internal molds of tools, and pressing the mold out of the tooling. This mold can be slightly deformed when pressing out of tooling, and can lead to a loss of accuracy in measurement.
See below image of a pressed out mold of a tool insert.
To improve tooling measurement accuracy, one must first have to be able to measure more accurately. After researching many types of measurement equipment, Fastco identified a double sided contour (form) tracer.
The double sided contour tracer has an independent, motorized measurement probe in several sizes. Fastco currently has measurement arms from .090″ (2.28mm) to .180″ (4.57mm), which can enter a tooling insert and measure features, such as radii, chamfers, angles, lengths, etc with precision with a resolution of 0.02µm.
Above Image: Measurement Arm and automatic motorized X/Y axis stage. Below Image measurement arm with double sided probes.
Below are examples of measurements the contour tracer can perform. The left image is a tool insert from a Fastco tool print drawing. The center image is a form tracing of an actual insert. The right image is measurements performed by the contour tracer.
The below image is a tracing of an internal tool. The contour tracer identified that one side of the tooling was worn, as can be evidenced in the rounded appearance of the angled step. The top of the image shows an unworn angle.
Below left image Fastco tooling print dimensions. Below Right image tracing of tooling inner diameter and measurement results. This tracing shows the length denoted as distance # 6 is out of specification from the tooling vendor.
The contour tracer will aid in measuring tooling and ensuring it is proper and meeting print specifications prior to assembling the tooling and placing it in a heading machine. This will increase accuracy, detection, and aid in preventing downtime for incorrect, or out of dimension tooling. Controlling tooling, more effectively will ultimately aid in controlling product made from this tooling.