Etalon AG is set to demo its vision of self-controlled production with a smart technology for creating metrological networks, Absolute Multiline Technology, at the Control show in Stuttgart/Germany from 26–29 April 2016.
Absolute Multiline Technology is a worldwide unique measurement system for monitoring the geometric accuracy of machine tools by means of high-precision length measurements - “a metrological centrepiece of a factory”. It connects with any number of machines via fibre optic network that may comprise more than 100 measurement channels. These measurement channels, equipped with miniature optical elements, are oriented along the machines’ axes, space diagonals and face diagonals of the machine working volume.
Absolute Multiline Technology’s metrological network has already been set up in factories supplying multiple machine tools with up to 12 metres in axis length. The maximum range of measurement is 40 metres, while the optical fibres may travel several kilometres. Due to the large distances possible between the robust measurement sensors and the system electronics, measurements can be conducted under extremely rough environmental conditions.
With such integration into a machine tool, Absolute Multiline Technology can continuously monitor the geometry of the machine and initiate machine compensation in order to ensure the dimensional accuracy of the manufactured parts. To perform a standard-compliant machine tool check, a reflector from the tool magazine is interchanged, and a predefined program is executed at the push of a button to move the machine along the multiple measurement beams and thus identify their deviations. This test process takes approx. 20 minutes. Measurement uncertainty (95%) is specified with 0.5 µm per meter.
While conventional interferometers can only work with a continuous measuring beam, the system can deal with interruptions of its eye-safe infrared beam at any time without losing accuracy. Thermal influences, wear, or collision-induced changes are reliably detected and compensated, if necessary. The machine’s geometric compensation is effected in a fully automatic way. Geometric compensation values of the machine are calculated by the software by comparison of the coordinates indicated by the machine and the length measured by the interferometers.
Thanks to the machine tool’s autonomous geometrical verification in the entire working volume, it can also be used as coordinate measuring machine to inspect the manufactured components, omitting the need for an additional machine or time consuming clamping processes.
The metrological traceability of the Absolute Multiline Technology is ensured by the reference to fundamental physical constants meaning that for every measurement, the molecular absorption spectrum of a gas cell is scanned and stays constant over decades.