The program undertakes in-process verification of the performance of machines tools
Delcam, a provider of CAD/CAM services, has launched its NC-Checker, a new program to undertake in-process verification of the performance of a wide range of commonly-used machine tools.
According to the company, NC-Checker provides a way to confirm the accuracy of the machine with standard probing equipment. It can be used before machining starts to confirm that the equipment has been set up correctly and then applied during the production run to detect any movements out of tolerance that might have been caused by, for example, wear or temperature changes.
Delcam has said that the user must first use NC-Checker to calibrate the probe and the machine tool setup against a known artefact, normally a sphere or a set of three spheres. The software then generates a series of probing and performance tests for regular use to ensure that the machine is operating as it should. This process reportedly takes many more measurements than are typically used for checks with a macro on the machine tool control and so offers more confidence in the results obtained.
The NC-Checker test routine can be applied at various stages during a production run. The frequency that is needed will vary depending on the value of the parts, the complexity of the shapes and the accuracy that is required. More regular checks will be needed when producing expensive or complex components with stricter tolerances.
All the results can be archived to provide a traceable history of the performance of each machine. Any deterioration in performance over time can be detected, possibly signaling the need to schedule maintenance work, even before any out-of-tolerance parts have been produced.
Delcam claims that NC-Checker can also be used after any problems in machining, such as might result from a tool breakage or from a collision with a part that has been loaded incorrectly. It can again provide a confirmation on whether or not the production run can continue with high confidence in the quality and accuracy of the finished parts.