SMAC Measurement Tool Replaces Height Gauges

SMAC Moving Coil Actuators has released details on their upcoming Measurement Tool available in Q3, 2020.

The SMAC Measurement Tool addresses the limitations of using a traditional Height Gauge. Shop floor part measurement is often made using traditional height gauges. These typically have numerous drawbacks such as manually zeroing or adjusting a dial indicator by moving it up or down with one hand while struggling to hold the part with the other hand. This dial indicator has a spring-loaded measuring tip that must be tapped slightly in order to get a good reading and the reading is only to 2 decimal points (metric), requiring measuring finesse by the inspector/machinist. Further, using a traditional Height Gauge, parts must all be measured top down. Sometimes it may be easier to measure part features horizontally. This means a certain level of skill is required in order to correctly use a height gauge. More complex and costly digital height gauges have entered the market improving measurability with additional features making measurement easier but only increasing the need for more technical competency to operate. In these cases equipment alone can exceed $5,000-$10,000 in initial cost.


By contrast, the SMAC Measurement Tool has a direct drive linear motor and hence has no backlash to effect measurement accuracy and repeatability. SMAC's exclusive "Soft-Land" technology means that an actuator can move slowly - gently bump (gram level forces) into the surface to be measured - stop and even apply a desired push or settling force to be used during measurement. In terms of measuring uncertainty, contact measurement using tactile sensors is considered more accurate than non-contact types. There is no manual operation involved to dial this in, thus removing all human error. The SMAC Measurement Tool uses a built-in encoder with 1 micron or optional 0.1 micron resolution. This translates to 3 decimal point measurement resolution (mm) or better. Further, the device can measure both in vertical or horizontal orientations from respective datums. Measurement data can be automatically uploaded to data collection devices via standard serial communication. Other communication protocols; CANOpen, EthernetIP and EtherCat will be available in the near future (consult factory). Machine operators can be quickly taught to make measurements in the Imperial or Metric system using a simple human machine interface (HMI) - no high degree of technical expertise is required.

SMAC 100% inspects critical tolerance parts relative to a flat datum surface. With the Measurement Tool's Scan mode, the operator can measure and verify flatness, concentricity, and roundness. The SMAC Measurement Tool's simplicity, ease of use, and data feedback capability enables machine operators with minimal training to handle many required measurement tasks.

The SMAC Measurement Tool is a competitively priced improvement in machine shop measuring technology. The complete kit includes an LCA25 SMAC Actuator with 100mm, measuring range with 1um encoder, controller, power supply, measurement probe, storage case, operation manual, and HMI Display. The system operates on safe 48 volts DC. Price for the complete kit is $2,750.

SMAC Moving Coil Actuators offer true "mechatronic solutions." By that they mean their actuators have unique capabilities such as programmable and controllable position, velocity, and force, high accelerations, cycle life well over 100M, and a patent-pending "Soft-Land" capability. The Soft-Land capability is particularly useful when performing fragile part assembly, measurement, moving objects, etc. Real time feedback of these motion attributes enables proof that the work is done (i.e., direct quality feedback).

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