SMAC Moving Coil Actuators (MCA) is launching an updated version of its fully automated 100 per cent in-line thread checking system. It is designed for applications where conventional technologies such as cameras, vision systems, lasers or eddy current probes are problematic or unsuccessful. It is also been successfully adopted where gauging and testing of screw threads is performed manually.
The SMAC system is fully automated and performs eight independent checks on each screw thread. They are: height or location of part to be checked, counterbore depth, no threads, shallow or under-sized threads, double-tapped thread, cross-threading, length of thread and number of turns, broken tap, and pitch or oversize thread.
Compared with conventional thread-checking techniques, the SMAC system is claimed to deliver a number of significant advantages. Unlike lasers or cameras and vision systems, the SMAC system can perform its checks in poorly lit, dirty or inhospitable environments. The torque used to rotate the thread gauge can be fully monitored, enabling 100 per cent data capture and feedback for use with existing SPC or other quality assurance systems.
Critically, the SMAC system checks both the presence and quality along the entire length of the thread – which is not possible using a camera or vision system. The linear measurement system within the SMAC thread checker also enables users to check the pitch of the thread. The company says that, until now, this was not possible using any other conventional system and usually requires the component to be checked by hand, or in some cases even be cut – causing waste, downtime and inefficiency.
The SMAC system also incorporates the innovative softland function that causes the thread gauge to contact the component with a controlled and measured force to find the datum surface without breaking the gauge or damaging the component.
SMAC's fully automated 100 per cent thread-checking system can be used for both small and large threads; M1 to M16 threads can be checked with the same unit. The fully integrated, modular system is freely programmable and delivers highly repeatable micron and sub-micron accuracy.