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Proceedings Paper

Current state-of-the-art of contouring techniques in manufacturing
Author(s): Kevin G. Harding
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Paper Abstract

A manager with a major automobile manufacturer once made the comment that " the best thing we ever did to improve quality was give the guys on the floor a caliper to measure the parts" . As the tolerances on manufacturing become tighter the need for accurate measurement has also increased. Hand fitting of parts to each other does not work in modem automated factories. Gages in the past have been built to provide a fixed set of measurements of a known part. This practice too has been changing due to the trend toward flexible manufacturing. Now the gages themselves must be flexible to accommodate the variety of parts made on a single line. This need has spurred a flurry of activity in the development of new three-dimensional (3-D) measurement tools. This paper will review the current state of the new optical based 3-D tools and discuss some of the applications being addressed. Background The need for three dimensional contouring has arisen from two primary areas of application. The first area of application has been in the area of robot guidance. ''4 Robots are used for their flexibility of motion. Applications may include loading of parts into machine tools stuffing printed circuit boards welding and cutting metal or simple assembly operations. In the simple applications the motion of the robot can be preprogrammed to follow a set trajectory. If the part not in the right location then the operation fails. In the case of painting robots this preprogrammed route can generally taken. As the task gets more complex and the positions become more critical guidance of the robot becomes important. If a robot welder misses the seam it may not only not make the weld but may also damage the surrounding material. This area of robot guidance has been one of the primary areas of growing interest. 58 The requirements for this type of application do not demand a great deal of contour measurement but does require three dimensional information. The range to the seam being welded as well as the location of the seam are very important. The actual shape of the seam is of secondary importance. This leads us to our second primary application area that being actual gaging of shapes for geometric verification. A complex shape like a turbine blade airfoil for example needs to be consistent and know to typically a few tens of microns. Large shapes and panels such as clay molds for car bodies have loser tolerances but are equally difficult a task because of the large areas involved. On the other end of the extreme in some cases the shape of the surface roughness of a material itself must be known typically to a fraction of a micron. The technologies for these applications need not

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 October 1990
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1375, ICALEO '89: Optical Sensing and Measurement, (1 October 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.35025
Show Author Affiliations
Kevin G. Harding, Industrial Technology Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1375:
ICALEO '89: Optical Sensing and Measurement
Kevin G. Harding, Editor(s)

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