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Machine tool Touch probe systems and applications

There are several different types of probe systems. Below is some general information about probing systems. Tool, touch, and fixture probe systems are finally being utilized in the machine tool industry more then ever. Machine tool probe systems are a great way to reduce costs, downtime and operator error. As companies become more and more familiar with the many applications, this industry will continue to grow.

Touch probes can be used in horizontal and vertical machining centers; lathes and even grinders. Here are several examples of some typical installations of probing systems.

Typical CNC Touch Probe machinery applications

  1. Reduce set up time and operator errors. After running a probing routine for a part, values and information can be loaded into offsets. Work coordinates and macro variables help to provide information for running the NC program. This type of setup can find the centerline of a bore and adjust the work coordinates, for which the NC program is based. By doing so, this will substantially reduce the amount of setup time and operator errors.
  2. Verify machining operation, avoid the possibility of sending in an expensive tool and destroying it or causing damage to a fixture or machine. Avoid unnecessary downtime and setup time.
  3. Check the tolerance of critical dimensions. After the part is machined have the machine check the part, eliminate operator errors and wasted time checking the parts manually.
  4. Probes can also be used to change the amount of tool wear when needed, based on the previously machined part.
  5. Tool breakage detection.  Whether you have the need to check every part or only one in ten, this can greatly reduce the amount of scrap that is produced.

Renishaw Touch Probe setup, installation and Macro programming

If you are unfamiliar with touch probing sensors and applications, I would highly consider paying someone to come in to set up and train you on your system. Usually a macro program is written for the probing routine, which includes writing to many variables and interpreting the data to perform various functions. You can get very involved in this process and it is often difficult to understand. After the initial setup is complete there is very little effort involved, except calibrating the probe. If you are looking for a touch probe system, Renishaw, is probably the most common builder used within the US. Check out their website for more detailed information on Touch probe systems and sensors.