New Measurement Software FormControl V5
- Measuring Components

Execution of complex measurement jobs in machine tools

Blum-Novotest, a leading supplier of innovative and high-quality measuring and testing technology, is set to unveil FormControl V5 measurement software at Moulding Expo 2019 in Stuttgart (hall 3, stand C36). Highlights of the new software are the functions ‘FormControl Automation’ and ‘Alignment Function 2.0’. This provides two valuable options for automating manufacturing processes in tool and mould making, the aerospace industry, medical technology and large-scale production while minimising throughput times.

Winfried Weiland, Head of Marketing at Blum-Novotest, explains: “FormControl measurement software is used to execute complex measurement jobs in the machine tool. Machined workpieces can thus be measured and reworked in the original clamping setup between and after cutting processes. It makes no difference whether the workpiece has a free-form surface or standard geometry. The operator creates the measuring program quickly and easily on the PC by mouse click and transmits it to the machine tool. Once the measurement procedure has been completed, the determined data is automatically fed back to the PC and a measurement protocol can be generated, for example.”

Minimally manned cutting processes require intelligent options to continuously document the production quality. BLUM has developed the option ‘FormControl Automation’ specifically for these tasks. It allows the automatic execution and logging of measurement jobs between and after machining steps without operator intervention. The measuring programs for the manufactured parts are created as usual in FormControl and collected by the new option before being transmitted to the machining centre. The machine then automatically executes the measurement jobs and saves the results. After completion of the parts, the operator can transfer the measurement data back to the PC at any time and create the corresponding measurement protocols with just a few mouse clicks. Assignment of measurement results and the component is based on a unique ID. A connection to a network or a PC is only necessary when transmitting the measuring program to the machine or feeding back the measurement results.

The accurate re-setting of workpieces to ensure their correct alignment for subsequent machining or reworking is a demanding and very time-consuming undertaking, even for the most experienced of machine operators. After all, the components are often very heavy and can only be moved with the aid of lifting equipment. Yet another challenge is the clamping of slightly oversized blanks: In this case, an equal removal of material must be guaranteed on all the surfaces being machined. Thanks to the new ‘Alignment Function 2.0’, these difficulties are a thing of the past. The intelligent option automatically corrects the workpiece position in up to five machine axes – although individual axes can also be locked for application-specific alignment – so that the workpiece coordinate system matches the CAD coordinate system exactly. To do so, the position of the workpiece is not changed: Instead FormControl generates a new, modified workpiece coordinate system. Inaccuracies caused by poorly aligned workpieces and long setup times are thus eliminated.

In addition to the new functions, the software offers many other opportunities for optimising the manufacturing process. “The advantage of being able to carry out extensive measurement activities at the machine enables a massive reduction in the throughput time, since removal, time-consuming re-setting as well as transport and storage to and from the coordinate measuring machine are eliminated fully. Furthermore, FormControl ensures machining errors can be detected in the original clamping setup, thereby allowing their immediate reworking. This increases machining accuracy, lowers production costs and helps to reduce scrap,” Winfried Weiland adds.