Delcam will demonstrate the 2012 R2 version of its PowerINSPECT software for inspection and reverse engineering on booth E-3222 at the IMTS exhibition to be held in Chicago from 10th to 15th September. This new release includes enhancements to the inspection capabilities and also continues the development of the reverse engineering functionality introduced earlier this year. The main development in this area has been an expansion of the "Digitised Curves” option to create a powerful re-engineering and modelling tool.
In addition, a new module is now available that allows PowerINSPECT to create efficient inspection sequences for use on dual-column CNC coordinate-measuring machines. This development continues the drive to make PowerINSPECT the preferred inspection software for all types of metrology equipment.
Improvements to the inspection functionality within the new PowerINSPECT release include a simplified procedure enabling users to quickly calibrate the probe assembly by probing a single point anywhere within the measuring envelope; an offset-alignment method that aligns the part with the axes of the CMM while setting the position with a single point measurement; and extra point-cloud options that make it easier to modify and reuse digitised curves and points, with options for editing, deleting and resuming measurement of the points and curves.
The automated section-measurement functionality, which was previously only available in the manual version of PowerINSPECT, is now available in both the OMV and CNC offline-programming versions. This strategy for creating probe paths along a section of the component provides quick and easy comparison of a cross-section against the CAD model. This type of section measurement is important for the measurement of blades and aerofoils, as well as for automotive inspection.
New options within "Digitised Curves” allow edges, holes and gaps to be identified as the part is being probed. Curves can also be created from CAD models within PowerINSPECT or they can be imported directly from other software packages. All these curves can be modified by rotation, translation, mirroring or scaling, or by editing individual points within the curve.
Once created, curves can be exported as polylines as well as in the previously-available NURBS format. This enhancement is part of a general increase in the ability to export surface and geometric items for use in modelling applications, with VDA export added to the existing IGES format.
The new creation and editing options for curves can be used with a new marking-out feature for refining or completing clay models – a requirement for creating automotive and marine styling models. This utility enables curves created within PowerINSPECT to be used to guide a marking-out tool on a measuring device or layout machine.
The combination of a dual-column CMM and PowerINSPECT enables inspection times to be reduced by allowing the simultaneous measurement of different features on larger parts. A common application is automotive body-in-white inspection, where the evaluation of a large, complex and relatively symmetrical assembly requires intricate measurements on each side, combined with an assessment of the structure as a whole. Using this new module gives the ability to measure parts on these devices in a single coordinate system without repositioning.
In general, the dual-column mode works in a similar manner to the single-column CNC version of PowerINSPECT; models are loaded in the same way, inspection items are created using the same methods, and so on. An additional programming operation is needed to distribute the various items to be inspected between the two columns.
Additions to the offline-programming and program-running capabilities provide easy tools for moving inspection items between the two columns to balance the inspection time needed for each one. The user can switch columns in much the same way that they switch probes or tools in the standard version of PowerINSPECT.
To ensure safe operation of the CMM, the collision predictor within PowerINSPECT checks for possible collisions between columns by calculating their moves as the inspection proceeds and comparing their future positions in space and time. If any overlap is detected, the inspection is stopped and a warning displayed. This is the only reliable way to prevent collisions between columns because of factors like speed differences between the way the machines are programmed and the way they actually move.