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Materials tester checks quality in advanced metrology systems

19 April 2006

LFPlus single column materials testing machines from Lloyd Instruments have been integrated into manufacturing cells at Renishaw plc, a world leader in the field of automated metrology. The LFPlus is used to make custom designed materials tests on Renishaw’s SP25M scanning probe system. Each instrument is equipped with NEXYGEN MT
materials test and data analysis software and Ondio application builder software which integrates seamlessly into Renishaw’s internal
production software control system. This allows a variety of different testing parameters to be collated into the pass/reject criteria for the component.

Renishaw’s SP25M is a scanning probe system, used for post-process inspection on co-ordinate measuring machines. A pivotal spring
mechanism and isolated optical metrology system directly measure the deflection of the stylus in each axis. The sensors are equipped with
a unique kinematic stylus changing system, allowing for rapid exchange between styli and providing crash protection for the scanning probe.

The LFPlus is used to perform a number of tests. These are: travel tests, spring rate testing (in X, Y and Z axes) and a breakout test for the kinematic couplings. Breakout tests are performed by holding the assembly horizontally in a special jig mounted on the instrument
baseplate and applying a force to the end of the stylus until the kinematic coupling detaches. The system records the maximum force required. Spring rate (change in load per unit deflection) is measured on three3 welded, chemi-etched springs used in the stylus module. Spring rate is determined by measuring the force required to deflect the spring by predetermined percentages, together with the spring extension resulting from the applied force.

The Ondio application builder software is based on VB Script programming language and it allows seamless integration with the Renishaw production control software. The system has been configured so that the all the tests are initiated from the production control
software, with NEXYGEN and Ondio software being entirely transparent to the user. Around 200 tests are performed each day.

Each component undergoes the full series of tests, which contributes to the total quality assessment process. However since there is 100%
testing, the data from the materials testing are also available for use in statistical process control.

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