At the most basic level, manual gages are designed to make it easier to stage and gage a workpiece, ensure the best possible performance for the measuring task at hand, and reduce operator error. With this type of fixturing, the technician does not need to expend a significant amount of effort and time to complete the task. Today’s manufacturing operations are fast-paced. Those operations are also based on short runs of precision parts and flexibility. That is why using a gaging system that matches the way components are made is highly recommended. Here are further ways to simply gaging processes:
Using Standard Elements
Standard elements can be used to build measurement systems (multiple dimensional) that are configured for a certain part. If you are considering using custom gages, these standard elements help ensure that the equipment can be created and implemented quickly. In addition, they can be reconfigured to measure other parts, which are often from the same families. How does going through a one-shot measuring cycle sound?
You should keep in mind that standard elements in such systems tend to possess the same level of robustness as the components utilized in a custom gage design. Next, there is a common mounting scheme for the standard measuring heights, parts, and the ability to leverage sensing devices, contacts, and transfers.
Using Electronic Modules
There is another concept you can consider. It is similar to the standard mechanical elements. By implementing electronic modules, you can put together a display and gaging package for the task at hand. In other words, your gaging system will be tailored to the specific task – nothing more and nothing less. One electronic module can activate a certain function, e.g. performing a two-probe differential check, performing a one-probe length check, or calculating complex eight-probe concentricity. You just need to select a “task icon” on the display to initiate the process of measuring parts.
Build Custom Gages
Coming back to custom gages, this is really a good way to simply gaging processes and reduce the time that’s needed to make measurements. The goal is to build a gage that takes more than one measurement at a go. For example, it may be used to measure multiple lengths, runouts, and diameters on a shaft. This way, you ensure part qualification within seconds, prevent operator influence on results, and ensure easy loading.
Aim for Automation
A good shopfloor practice is to gather a series of tools for the operator in a specialized gaging station. Next, these gages will be connected to a gaging computer via a wireless or wired network. The goal is to perform multiple checks in sequence. The computer will be used to set up a guided gaging sequence for the operator. It instructs the operator which gages to use in the gaging process. The computer may even provide pictorial references for the operator while he or she is making the measurement. Lastly, the system collects the data and provides feedback for part qualification. Because the guided sequences and automated workstation gives the user clear steps to follow, measurement time and operator involvement are reduced, thus simplifying the gaging process.