The research labs at Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) are now home to a new advanced precision measurement instrument – a highly-sophisticated Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM).
The Mitutoyo CRYSTA-Apex 574T, with Renishaw PH20 probe head, recently installed in the Welland campus Research & Innovation labs, has the tactile measuring capability to the micrometre scale – 1/25th – the thickness of a human strand of hair, says Al Spence, PhD, research lead at WAMIC.
“This CMM makes it the most precise measuring technology on the spectrum,” Spence notes. “It will be the gold standard, to which other instruments can be calibrated against, and will provide enhanced confidence to industry partners that our measurement services meet expectations.”
This industry-standard equipment will provide new measurement capability for industry partner injection mould, bearing, Internet of Things components, and related needs, he explains. Bearing bores, for example, must meet diameter tolerances of 0.010 mm (10 millionths of a metre), and new cell phone connector tolerances are smaller than 0.050 mm.
The device is good news for advanced manufacturing companies requiring high-accuracy micrometre scale dimensional metrology. Factories, for example, with worn or broken rotating machinery parts require measurements, but often the components can be decades old, with no CAD drawings available, notes Spence, whose background is in the science of measurement, and has an established reputation in Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T).
As well, to avoid warping during cooling, injection mould and similar tooling have stringent controls on fillet radius consistency and wall thickness. “Significant wear affects injection forces, and must be monitored closely, measuring the wear trend over a period of time,” Spence adds.
The CMM will add to WAMIC’s current leading-edge dimensional metrology equipment, such as its laser triangulation and distance technology, including the FARO Focus, FARO Tracker and FARO Scan Arm. The FARO Focus has been used to support construction survey-style technical projects and large industrial facilities scanning and layout projects. Such measurement and analysis can prevent unforeseen, expensive and commissioning, delaying equipment interference consequences, says Spence.
The new CMM technology was acquired thanks to funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its Applied Research Tools and Instruments (ARTI) grants program.
To learn more about the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and its resources, capabilities and the types of projects we undertake, visit the website.