A new module has been made available for the latest version of Delcam’s PowerINSPECT inspection software that allows the software to create efficient inspection sequences for use on dual-column CNC coordinate-measuring machines. This development continues the drive to make PowerINSPECT the preferred inspection software for all types of metrology equipment.
The combination of a dual-column CMM and PowerINSPECT enables inspection times to be reduced by allowing the simultaneous measurement of different features on larger parts. A common application is automotive body-in-white inspection, where the evaluation of a large, complex and relatively symmetrical assembly requires both intricate measurements on each side combined with an assessment of the structure as a whole. Using this new module gives the ability to measure parts on these devices in a single coordinate system without repositioning.
In general, the dual-column mode works in a similar manner to the single-column CNC version of PowerINSPECT: models are loaded in the same way; inspection items are created using the same methods and so on. An additional programming operation is needed to distribute the various items to be inspected between the two columns. Additions to the offline-programming and program-running capabilities provide easy tools for moving inspection items between the two columns to balance the inspection time needed for each one. The user can switch columns in much the same way that they switch probes or tools.
To ensure safe operation of the CMM, the collision predictor within PowerINSPECT checks for possible collisions between columns by calculating their moves as the inspection proceeds and comparing their future positions in space and time. If any overlap is detected, the inspection is stopped and a warning displayed. This is the only reliable way to prevent collisions between columns because of factors like speed differences between the way they are programmed and the way the machines actually move.
Of course, the dual-column version of PowerINSPECT offers the same comprehensive range of inspection routines for taking simple measurements, for inspection of geometric features and for analysing complex 3D surfaces. Similarly, the resulting reports present detailed information in an easy-to-read format, that can be understood by all engineers not just inspection specialists.