OGP UK is introducing the Starlite range of semi-automatic, non-contact video measurement machines. These are aimed at manufacturing companies that currently use manual measurement methods such as microscopes, contour projectors and optical scale devices. Starlite is said to be comparable in price to traditional measurement equipment, yet it boasts many of the features normally associated with higher value, fully automatic systems.
The Starlite machines, which cost from under £10,000, are manually operated but offer many semi-automatic features such as automatic edge detection and focus, which helps to speed up the measurement process for the user, improving productivity, while also delivering the accuracy and repeatability of automatic machines.
OGP believes the latest Starlite 250 and Starlite 300 machines will have a very wide appeal, from small jobbing shops and tool rooms through to R&D labs, goods inwards inspection, rapid prototyping companies, medical device manufacturers, injection moulders and low- to medium-volume manufacturers. Starlite is designed to meet the needs of companies that cannot justify the cost of a fully automatic machine.
Andy Fulton, Managing Director of OGP UK, comments: "The Starlite machines are simple, low-cost systems that offer users high accuracy and high repeatability, but at an affordable price. Our aim was to put the benefits of semi-automatic, non-contact video measurement within the reach of virtually every manufacturer. With the Starlite range, we have managed to achieve this."
The Starlite 250 and Starlite 300 machines are manually operated by moving the component into the video field of view. The operator, using simple software tools, selects the relevant points on the part to be measured and the software then automatically detects and measures the feature. Tolerance information is then input and reported, along with geometry, position and deviation from nominal. Inspection reports can be printed, saved in a digital format or used for statistical evaluation. Component images can also be collected and stored in a variety of formats for visual defect analysis.
Productivity and repeatability will improve and the risk of human error all but eliminated. The ongoing measurement sequence is recorded so that subsequent parts can be inspected in the same way. After the first sequence, the user is then led by the machine using on-screen prompts. OGP's patented Gage-X metrology software gives the user powerful functions for general-purpose dimensional measurement with an easy-to-use graphical interface. The software guides users through measurement routines with clear pictorial instructions and prompts, using part model and destination symbols and icons.
Superior zoom optics are included in the form of a precise 6.5:1 motorised, programmable zoom lens, which has an ample working distance of 55mm, although optional lenses are available to expand the magnifying range further.
Full-colour imaging and advanced lighting also ensure that even the smallest feature can be viewed and inspected to the tightest of tolerances. Accurate depth measurements can also be made using the machine's advanced auto-focus technology, known as CompuFocus. A simple red-to-green on-screen prompt informs the operator when the part is in focus and ready to be measured.
As with all OGP machines, the Starlite machines are robust and stable, with granite bases and columns. Mounted on the base are precision mechanical XYZ transports or guides, 1.0um linear scales, and manual quick-release X-Y motion controls for rapid positioning of parts. Fine and coarse Z motion adjustment knobs enable simple focussing.