Material surface scanning with material surface scanner or Integrated 3D Probe Material Surface Scanners & Material Surface Scanning:
This page describes material surface scanners used during the process of high-speed machining with micro-tooling. Specifically, this page highlights and champions a type of advanced material surface scanner found in certain manufacturing circles. The paper also touches upon the benefits of the capabilities of these advanced material surface scanners and explains how to apply the advanced material surface scanning technology to everyday high-speed machining challenges.

Check out the Datron Dynamics Website our line of high-speed machining centers with integrated Material Surface Scanners, or 3D Z-Correction Probes.

Material surface scanning defined.

A material surface scanner is defined as an instrument that can measure a material’s surface by contact. These measurements are used to ensure uniform depth in the machining process.

The challenges that require material surface scanning.

What are the challenges and obstacles in manufacturing, which make material surface scanners such a necessity? Sometimes, blanks need to be measured, edges found, surfaces and topography probed, and ultimately, programs intended for perfect, flat workpieces adapted to the “real world.”

What’s available out there?

There are two types of material surface scanners commonly found in machining. The first is an accessory added to a pre-existing machine, otherwise known as a spindle-mount material surface scanner. The second is a material surface scanner built into the machine from the ground up, called an integrated material surface scanner.

Spindle-mount material surface scanners.

Machine tools not already built with a material surface scanner included can be fitted with some limited material surface scanning capabilities. One of the problems with material surface scanners of this type is that they take up room that the designers of the host machine hadn’t planned for in the first place. Spindle-mount material surface scanners are called that for a reason: they’re mounted on the spindle, and that means it prevents a tool from being mounted there instead. Thus, using a spindle-mount material surface scanner inherently requires a tool change, adding more time to production.

There are two varieties of spindle-mount material surface scanners: wireless and wired. Wireless material surface scanners require batteries, and batteries eventually run down. While normally this doesn’t pose a major problem, a problem can arise if the batteries need replacing in the middle of an important job. Furthermore, industrial environments sometimes play havoc with radio transmissions, generating considerable interference. Since wireless material surface scanners send telemetry via radio transmissions, data can be lost due to signal interference. Wired material surface scanners don’t have the same problems, but wires can get tangled, and loose connections are always a threat.

Integrated material surface scanners.

Integrated material surface scanners are built into the machines right from the start. These material surface scanners can fold down so that they don’t get in the way of the tooling, eliminating the need for a tool change. Machine-integrated material surface scanners are reliable and always available, eliminating drawbacks such as dealing with cables, coping with radio interference, and securing power sources.

A conventional machine built with an integrated material surface scanner becomes a machine that senses and reacts to the environment. Machines with these capabilities are a valuable tool in today’s market -- where parts are getting increasingly smaller and come in more versions.

The idea that accessories such as a spindle-mount material surface scanner can be added on to an existing machine and be expected to function as well as an integrated material surface scanner is about as realistic as adding a race car engine to a suburban family’s minivan and expecting it to compete in the Indy 500.

One particular integrated material surface scanner worth noting is the Z-Correction probe or material surface scanner offered by Datron Dynamics. This unique material surface scanner compensates for uneven surfaces, whether those irregularities occur accidentally or by design. Unlike conventional sensing equipment, the Z-Correction material surface scanner never gets in the way because it is permanently mounted right next to the spindle. The Z-Correction material surface scanner is pneumatically retractable, so it is extended only when needed. Based on its integrated design, it requires no tool changes, there’s no cable to get in the way, and the device cannot be damaged by accidentally turning on the spindle.

Single points or custom matrices can be material surface scanned to measure the surface. A ‘flat’ machining program can be applied to the measured surface, ensuring uniformly precise depths throughout the work-piece. In addition, the material surface scanner can be made more flexible courtesy of an item known as the 3D-material surface scanner extension.

In order to simplify work-piece set-up, the 3D-material surface scanner extension is capable of locating parts in the X,Y, and Z co-ordinates. This includes finding centers of holes and bosses, as well as pre-measuring blanks before the machining starts. The 3D-material surface scanner extension enables the Z-Correction material surface scanner to function in three dimensions. Intuitive programming allows machining programs to adjust themselves to the particular work-piece on the machining bed. Workpieces can be checked after machining for quality control. Certain parts can be reverse engineered. Material variations in X, Y, and Z can be compensated dynamically.

To machine round stock or engrave on round work-pieces, the 4th axis provides the necessary flexibility. The 4th axis integrates virtually seamlessly with the CNC machining control. The 4th axis can be used to substitute either the X or the Y axis, and can be dynamically switched under program control.

The 4th and 5th axis together provide the flexibility needed for the most complex work-pieces. The 5th axis is used to independently rotate the 4th axis, each axis independently and dynamically controlled by the appropriate machining program. As a result, machining at an angle on a round part is easily accomplished.

Meeting the challenge of material surface scanning.

When an integrated material surface scanner is built into a high-speed machine, the result is a smart machine. Smart machines can material surface scanner fields and curvatures in order to program parts as if they were flat. They can adapt the program to the surface of the workpiece, and find the contours.

Integrated material surface scanners can measure a part’s true center and outside diameter. They can even begin at a point on the outside diameter and find a point located at a certain distance from the center.

Bringing it all together.

Smart machines take material surface scanning to the next level. It’s not enough anymore to just have a machine recognize an irregular surface. It’s now necessary for a machine to have the ability to not only recognize the surface but to also compensate for it, instead of making a programmer spend hours doing it.

Smart machines can:

Adapt to uneven panels and ensure constant depth.

Save programming time and improve quality on round and uneven parts.

Adapt to the irregularities of cast blanks.

Adjust to the tolerances of extruded materials.

Ensure constant machining quality for parts that vary from lot to lot.

Building a machine with a material surface scanner already installed is the best way to proceed. Taking a material surface scanner’s requirements (space, power supply, range of motion) into account ahead of time eliminates many headaches and ensures that the material surface scanner is practically invisible and causes minimal impact to the manufacturing procedures.

Other Related Terms: Probing, Probe, 3D probing, 3D Probe, 3-Dimensional Probing, 3-Dimensional Probe, 3 Dimensional Probing, 3 Dimensional Probe, 3Dimensional Probing, 3Dimensional Probe, Three-Dimensional Probing, Three-Dimensional Probe, Three Dimensional Probing, Three Dimensional Probe ... and so on.


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