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Smart metrology solutions for future technologies

06 March 2023

Made to Measure: Advances in Metrology

The future of technology is shrinking. Devices are getting smaller and smarter, while the components inside are becoming more complex and numerous. These smaller parts come with tighter tolerances, faster production times and the need for greater repeatability, as pressure grows on manufacturers of original equipment to produce more efficient machines quicker, and cheaper.

Metrology has to meet these demands, with an end goal to reduce inspection time and costs, as well as increasing reliability and efficiency. To meet these challenges, new and future measuring devices need to be smaller, more flexible, and easier to use in their applications.

Size Matters
Smaller technology calls for smaller metrology devices with greater accuracy and wider measurement ranges.

Solartron’s contact and non-contact sensors were designed to for measuring everything from tiny bores to material thickness. For example, The Miniature Single Leaf Flexure has a calibrated range of 0 to 500 microns and can be fitted with a variety of tips for different applications.

The upcoming DZ pneumatic probe is just 36mm long, and is one of the world’s shortest pneumatic LVDTs.

On the non-contact side, Solartron’s new Orbit LT is just 20mm side, and provides excellent repeatability, even on shiny surfaces.

Speed Matters
Time for measurements must be quicker, and more automated.  For that, Solartron’s Orbit network can acquire data up to 3906 readings per sensor, per second.  Plus, Orbit can network up to 250 sensors and acquire readings simultaneously.

Dynamic and Readburst modes, as well as Orbit Software make data acquisition quick and efficient.

Endurance Matters
Manufacturing automation requires that sensors last for millions, if not hundreds of millions of cycles for several years. And measurements must still be made accurate and repeatable.Fortunately, Solartron crafts all of their probes at the UK factory, with proven designs that are tested to millions of cycles under the harshest of conditions. They are continually used in areas where rapid, repeatable measurements are a must, such as the bearing and automotive industries.

Solartron probes are a long-term investment for customers, not a cost.

Increasing Flexibility, Increasing Solutions
Manufacturers are facing tougher challenges when it comes to measuring parts, whether it be a slot inside a bore, a piece of arched glass, or a complex turbine blade for aerospace.

However, Solartron offers more than 50 types of measurement sensors for all types of dimensions, and furthers their capabilities by offering customized solutions for the most specialized application. This ensures that no matter how complex the dimension, they will have an accurate, repeatable measurement from a Solartron linear measurement sensor.  

A Quick, Simple Interface Into PCs and PLCs
With Industry 4.0 becoming an industry standard, hardware and software need to communicate more effectively, as well as be easy for operators to use and produce data that is simple to interpret.

Solartron’s Orbit Network now offers gateways into PLCs via USB and over Ethernet, as well as PLC gateways that will connect with robotics and other forms of automation.

Also, Solartron’s Orbit Gauge Software 4.0 not only handles data acquisition, but also automation handshaking if required.  By making it easy to connect to a wide range of contact and non-contact sensors, rotary encoders, temperature and pressure sensors, the Orbit Network allows users to access large amounts of measurement data quickly and efficiently.

The future of metrology could be described as ‘small machines creating big data’, as original equipment manufacturers demand more accurate measurements of smaller and smaller components. When these requirements are combined with the need for greater reliability and reduced turnaround time, a considerable challenge is presented to metrological equipment.

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