5 Steps to Better Portable Arm Measurement

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5 Steps to Better Portable Arm Measurement

A popular board game in the 1980s famously took, "a minute to learn... a lifetime to master". Portable arms are a deceptively simple metrology system for which the same catchphrase applies. Arms are designed to be highly flexible and easy to use for a wide variety of measurement tasks. However, understanding measurement datasets and how to use them for verification, reverse engineering or any other application can be far more involved than it first appears. 

Here are five steps to help provide a sound basis for adopting more robust and effective methods when using portable arms.

 

1. Understand Your Measurement Requirements

A portable arm is a form of coordinate measuring machine (CMM) that records points in 3-dimensional space. This makes it a powerful tool for verifying not just dimensional tolerances, but also geometrical tolerances such as form, orientation and location of features. To do this accurately and correctly, a clear understanding of tolerancing is essential. NPL offers formal training in measurement fundamentals which includes a strong focus on geometrical dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), and this can help enormously to ensure components are well specified and correctly inspected.

 INSPHERE are formally accredited NPL Dimensional Measurement trainers. We regularly have open courses at our dedicated training facilities in the South West and can also deliver customer on-site training.

INSPHERE are formally accredited NPL Dimensional Measurement trainers. We regularly have open courses at our dedicated training facilities in the South West and can also deliver customer on-site training.

2. Understand the Sources of Variation

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results. Sadly, when assessing the capability of measurement systems, that is precisely what we must do! We measure the same things many times over and we look at how much the results vary. Understanding the influences of operators, environmental stability, datum alignments and so on, is extremely important in arm measurement as they are typically not used in highly-controlled laboratory environments. Following a formal “gauge repeatability and reproducibility” (GR&R) study is a powerful way to understand if an arm is truly capable of verifying a feature against its tolerance.

 

3. Document Your Processes

When developing a measurement process, it is vital that it is well documented to ensure that everyone will follow the same method and therefore reduce variation and possibilities for making mistakes. Standard Operating Instructions (SOIs) do not need to resemble War and Peace (if they do, no one will read them), but they do need to eliminate variation as far as possible. For example, how to set up the inspection, what pre-checks to perform, what CAD file to use, what probes are needed or what analysis process to follow, should all be clearly stated. Generally, many of the basic set up procedures for an arm can be covered in an over-arching SOI for arm measurement, and the specifics of each individual job can then be kept relatively brief.

 Chief Operating Officer, Craig Davey leads the training team for INSPHERE's Portable Measurement Good Practice. The course content can also be tailored specifically to customer requirements and for the range of industry equipment available.

Chief Operating Officer, Craig Davey leads the training team for INSPHERE's Portable Measurement Good Practice. The course content can also be tailored specifically to customer requirements and for the range of industry equipment available.

4. Make the Most of Workplace Training

Typically arm vendors deliver a brief familiarisation session when an arm is purchased to cover its basic operation. Coordinate metrology software vendors provide more in-depth training to cover the functionality of their measurement software. Unfortunately, neither of these routes tends to provide adequate guidance focused on the real-world requirements for portable arms. More application-focused training covering good-practice considerations and how to ensure the arm is providing robust usable data can be very valuable in ensuring that arms are used appropriately.

 

5. Get Creative!

Often when discussing arms, too much negative focus is given to the challenges arising from their flexibility and diverse applications, as these can make it hard to ensure that the equipment is used in a reliable and repeatable way. Of course, flexibility is one of the greatest strengths of a portable arm – it can be used quickly and easily for a myriad of applications. If an organisation has developed robust methods to testing capability and documenting good practice processes, then the arm should not only be used for the one or two operations for which it was bought – it can be used in many different processes. The more you use an arm, the better you will use it, and the more useful it will become.

 

INSPHERE have used portable arms to gather robust and effective data in a vast variety of ways, from calibrating robots to checking foot pedal positions in a Formula One car cockpit. As measurement experts, we have an implicit understanding of the factors that can influence portable arm metrology and regularly deliver training courses to help ensure good practice principles can be adopted by organisations and their operators. Visit our training page for more information or contact us to discuss how we can help.

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INSPHERE working with the Nuclear AMRC

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INSPHERE working with the Nuclear AMRC

INSPHERE have been working at the Nuclear AMRC with the centre's Soraluce FX12000 horizontal machining platform. We've been running large-scale trials with our current rapid machine tool verification system, BASELiNE.

You can read about the trials in the Nuclear AMRC newsletter here and don't forget to sign up to INSPHERE's quarterly for company updates, technical articles and more here.

 

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Hello Jon Sneller

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Hello Jon Sneller

We have some great people who work at INSPHERE - we fondly call each other INSPHEROs - and to help you get to know them a little better, here's a little interview with one of the team.

Meet INSPHERO and metrology engineer, Jon Sneller.

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How a Few Days Can Make a Difference - Workplace Measurement Training

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How a Few Days Can Make a Difference - Workplace Measurement Training

The current hot topic in engineering is the rise of automation and the importance of equipping the workforce with advanced manufacturing skills to ward off the dangers of robots replacing humans for an ever-increasing range of tasks. But can workplace training courses hope to have any real or lasting impact on staff who have generally had several years of training before starting in their roles? 

In an article which you can find here, read Craig Davey's response to this question and for more information on the different courses we offer, visit our training page or the training calendar to see what dates are available for all our upcoming courses.

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Aerospace Manufacturing magazine features INSPHERE

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Aerospace Manufacturing magazine features INSPHERE

Our Chief Technical Officer, Oliver Martin reveals how automated, non-contact measurement systems can deliver the big data required to realise the full potential of Industry 4.0 and how HYPERSCAN, a new system created by INSPHERE offers a standard cell configuration for large volume, accurate, non-contact and data-rich measurement.

You can read the full article here.

 

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INSPHERE's quarterly newsletter Issue #2

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INSPHERE's quarterly newsletter Issue #2

After the success of the inaugural edition, the second issue of our quarterly newsletter is now available here. The issue features updates on what's been happening at INSPHERE, when the next training dates are for our open courses, and the three most recent articles written by the team that discuss using measurement to improve manufacturing, how to outsource metrology effectively, and why manufacturers will fail if they don't adopt a value-added approach with metrology. There's also an excellent case study on how INSPHERE have partnered with Southampton University Formula Student Team ahead of the IMechE Formula Student UK and the Formula Student East events. Don't forget you can subscribe to the newsletter and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

We're looking forward to hearing what you think about the current issue!

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Hello Tom Farr

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Hello Tom Farr

At INSPHERE, we fondly call the members of our team INSPHEROs and we’d like to help you get to know our team better.

Meet Tom Farr, metrology engineer and the very first INSPHERO.

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INSPHERE visits AUTOMATICA

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INSPHERE visits AUTOMATICA

Last week, INSPHERE travelled to Munich to visit AUTOMATICA 2018, the Leading Exhibition for Smart Automation and Robotics.

It was great to see both the emerging applications and new manufacturers in the robotic industry, and to also get an idea of the future landscape with respect to integrating varying levels of automation throughout the value chain.

We're looking forward to the exciting future of automation, robotics, and the next Automatica!

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Why Manufacturers will fail if they don't adopt a Value-added Approach to Metrology

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Why Manufacturers will fail if they don't adopt a Value-added Approach to Metrology

In this month's INSPHERE article, Ben Adeline makes a bold statement and discusses how a value-added approach with metrology can help manufacturing industries achieve the greater productivity and quality improvements that they are continuously striving for. You can read the full article here.

For exclusive case studies from our current portfolio of work and to be sure not to miss any of our technical or thought leadership articles, don't forget to sign-up to our quarterly newsletter - the second edition is out in a few weeks!

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INSPHERE meets the Southampton University Formula Student Team

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INSPHERE meets the Southampton University Formula Student Team

Formula Student (FS) is an educational engineering competition undertaken by undergraduate students that aims to develop world-class enterprising and innovative engineers.

Drawing on our practical expertise and past industrial experiences in motorsport, INSPHERE have been with the Southampton University Formula Student Team this week providing the metrology for a full car assessment, helping to propel the team into their events knowing more about the manufacture and assembly of their car.

We wish them the best of luck for the competition!

 

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How to Outsource Your Metrology Effectively

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How to Outsource Your Metrology Effectively

Outsourcing metrology functions in an organisation can initially appear expensive, but with a selective approach it can be a highly effective way to adopt new opportunities to drive efficiency gains in manufacturing.

In this month's article by INSPHERE, Chief Operating Officer Craig Davey discusses why you might outsource your metrology and how to develop an effective strategy to do so. You can read the full article here.

For exclusive case studies from our current portfolio of work and to be sure not to miss any of our technical or thought leadership articles, sign-up to our quarterly newsletter - the second edition is out in July!

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INSPHERE visits MACHINE VISION

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INSPHERE visits MACHINE VISION

Last week, INSPHERE attended the UKIVA Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition in Milton Keynes. It was a good day with some interesting talks on the integration of vision with robots and machine learning. There were also some great systems on show for product inspection.

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World Metrology Day 2018

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World Metrology Day 2018

In 1875 on this day, international representatives signed the Metre Convention and so began a worldwide uniformity of measurement. Metrology, the science of measurement, has an impact on all industries. It continues to be fundamental to innovation and manufacturing, and one of the key drivers behind exciting developments in automation, Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing  - all of which INSPHERE are pioneering with our in-house research and innovation schemes.

Happy World Metrology Day from the INSPHERE team!

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Composites in Manufacturing features INSPHERE

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Composites in Manufacturing features INSPHERE

This month, you can read about INSPHERE in an editorial feature in the latest issue of Composites in Manufacturing which you can find here - Chief of Operations, Craig Davey discusses our thoughts on measurement challenges in composites applications and also how to solve them!

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INSPHERE visits CONTROL

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INSPHERE visits CONTROL

Last week, INSPHERE spent a couple of days in Stuttgart at CONTROL 2018, International Trade Fair for Quality Assurance. It was a great event and the perfect opportunity for us to meet with our metrology industry contacts and friends, and to start some exciting new relationships as well.

It was great to see such a vast array of metrology on show and interesting to see that compared to the UK, the European industry appears to be much more in tune with the benefits that can be gained through metrology - something we're very passionate about!

 

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3 Steps to Using Measurement to Improve Manufacturing

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3 Steps to Using Measurement to Improve Manufacturing

In the latest article by INSPHERE's Chief Executive, Ben Adeline discusses three steps to help develop a systematic approach to improving measurement data to add value and improve productivity in manufacturing.

You can find the full article here and don’t forget to sign-up to our quarterly newsletter that contains all our exciting technical articles and case studies from our current portfolio of work.

 

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Composites UK Aerospace Sector Showcase

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Composites UK Aerospace Sector Showcase

Composites UK hosted their Aerospace Sector Showcase April 19th at the AMRC, and INSPHERE were there to discuss our strategy for intelligent metrology for composites manufacturing with the ATI and other key industry representatives such as Airbus and GKN.

Rob Hewison, Technical Manager at the AMRC commented that "accuracy and ensuring structures meet the design intent will be critical to ensuring the success of advanced composite structures" - a strong argument for metrology as a critical enabler for advanced composite manufacturing.

It was a great event and we look forward to the next showcase.

 Technical Manager, Rob Hewison gave an overview of aerospace innovation projects at the AMRC.

Technical Manager, Rob Hewison gave an overview of aerospace innovation projects at the AMRC.

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INSPHERE visits MACH

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INSPHERE visits MACH

Last week, INSPHERE visited MACH 2018. It was good to see so much measurement technology on show, and for measurement to have such a high profile amongst machine tools, automation, and advanced manufacturing at the event.

There were many exciting developments being showcased, many related to automating measurements, processes and developing solutions for in-process measurement - all of which are solutions that we help our clients to implement.

 The INSPHERE team are keen mountain bikers and there was a lot of interest in some of the gear on show.

The INSPHERE team are keen mountain bikers and there was a lot of interest in some of the gear on show.

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INSPHERE's new quarterly newsletter available now!

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INSPHERE's new quarterly newsletter available now!

Each quarter, INSPHERE will be releasing a company newsletter and the inaugural edition is available now. You can find the newsletter here, or alternatively, subscribe to the newsletter mailing list to get all future editions delivered straight to your inbox.

This quarter's newsletter features our articles on automating measurement, using SpatialAnalyzer Measurement Plans, and an exclusive case study on how INSPHERE provided advanced training to help build a Metrology team from the ground up. Have a read and let us know what you think! 

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7 Reasons to Start Using SpatialAnalyzer Measurement Plans

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7 Reasons to Start Using SpatialAnalyzer Measurement Plans

Good metrologists will design measurement processes that are robust and cost-effective. One of the tools that can be used with significant benefits to streamline processes is SpatialAnalyzer’s Measurement Plan. As a scripting mechanism, it is a powerful tool that can be used to automate both data acquisition and analysis.

In an article released by our Chief Technical Officer, Ollie Martin discusses the reasons why you might start using Measurement Plans and what you might gain from doing so. You can read the full article here.

For exclusive case studies from our current portfolio of work and to be sure not to miss any of our technical articles, sign-up to our quarterly newsletter. The first edition is due for release next month!

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