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INSPHERE LTD

The Rise of the Scanners

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The Rise of the Scanners

Across all fields of metrology, there has been a marked increase in the use of non-contact measuring systems. While contact probing systems are often regarded as the gold standard in terms of accuracy, non-contact systems offer many advantages. Simple and rapid collection of vast datasets are obviously well suited to measuring complex freeform surfaces but can also be helpful with unknown or variable items, or when geometric tolerances need to be evaluated.

Non-contact technologies such as laser line scanners and structured light systems are mainly associated with portable measuring systems including portable arms and handheld scanners. They are also used as a non-contact head on some static CMMs – in the right application these can offer the flexibility of non-contact measurement with the accuracy of a traditional CMM.

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The Data “Arms Race”

Since rapid, detailed datasets are an advantage of non-contact scanning, it is not surprising that there is an apparent “arms race” among vendors to offer ever greater data capture rates. Room scanners capture millions of data-points per second, and established systems also tend to upgrade regularly on the resolution and speed of capture. This can be useful – gathering points faster can speed up inspection and increasing resolution can improve performance when measuring small features – but progress comes at a cost. Computer processing speeds do not keep pace with dataset sizes, and there are often limits to data transfer rates that can slow down scanning or cause crashes and data loss. 

INSPHERE delivers regular portable metrology good practice training and these days we find we spend a lot of time discussing appropriate methods for filtering datasets for practicality. Users generally demand less data rather than more!

Automating the Process

Using a traditional, programmable CMM, it takes time to establish good robust measurement routines, but they can then operate with very little human intervention. Scanners offer increased flexibility and ease of use but can become laborious in production settings if many parts must be measured by an operator performing a repetitive manual task.  There is a growing trend towards automation in scanning and a variety of “scan box” configurations are available to allow a repeat job to be programmed and then performed automatically. These inspection cells may use structured light or laser line scanning technologies, the benefits of which depend on the intended application of the system.

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INSPHERE is seeing a lot of current interest in its HYPERSCAN cell which uses a robot-mounted Leica T-Scan in combination with other metrology to deliver a complete, automated inspection, well-suited to challenging surfaces and tight tolerances.

Robust Data?

With all non-contact systems there are challenges in interpreting specifications, determining system accuracy, performing calibrations, and assessing capability for any particular task.

At the heart of the problem is perhaps the fact that systems use fundamentally different technologies and they perform differently on different parts – a metrology system that measures matt metallic surfaces with great accuracy and precision may perform spectacularly badly on a shiny carbon-fibre surface.

Vendors naturally publish specification data in formats that flatter their equipment. This can make initial down-selection of equipment difficult, and it is hard to maintain a good awareness of all the available technologies as they are proliferating so rapidly. 

Calibration is governed by standards, but it is hard for standards agreed by international committees to keep pace with technology developments. The ISO10360 standards covering acceptance and re-verification tests for coordinate measuring systems has grown and grown. It now has 12 published parts and part 13 (Optical 3D CMS) is under development. 

Scanners and other non-contact systems can be particularly susceptible to bias and errors due to the influences of operator skill, environmental conditions and their use in relatively uncontrolled measurement settings, and this emphasizes the need for applied capability assessment. Appropriate forms of Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA), including Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility (GR&R) and Evaluating the Measurement Process (EMP) studies are invaluable in building confidence that new measurement systems are fit for their intended purpose.

Advances in Scanning Technology

At CONTROL in Stuttgart at the start of May, the mind-boggling variety of available systems are testament to the rise of the scanners. It also serves as a good reminder that metrologists are now faced with an ever-increasing array of tools with which to solve measurement challenges. This is positive news – it shows the optimism in the industry – but it also makes clear that capturing data is the easy part, valid interpretation of that data is the great challenge we still face.

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Industry 4.0 continues to promise a better future of SMART factories with more controlled processes and step changes in productivity. Metrology systems will undoubtedly be pivotal in driving advanced manufacturing forwards, and metrology skills will remain in high demand to make sense of the vast complexity offered by new datasets.  

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INSPHERE from the Beginning

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INSPHERE from the Beginning

In 2013, INSPHERE co-founders Ben Adeline (CEO) and Ollie Martin (CTO) identified an opportunity to provide a unique blend of metrology and manufacturing expertise to advanced manufacturing companies. INSPHERE was created to deliver value-added metrology solutions to the wider, high value manufacturing community. A few years on, the company has grown dramatically and has a proven track record for integrating metrology into manufacturing processes. Rather than focus on part verification, INSPHERE focuses on using measurement data to improve processes, supporting right-first-time manufacturing.

“We saw a gap in the market to provide the manufacturing industry with metrology expertise and measurement solutions that weren't being provided by traditional equipment vendors” - Ben Adeline, CEO, INSPHERE Ltd.

INSPHERE has been delivering solutions in line with an Industry 4.0 philosophy long before the current buzz of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Metrology is increasingly acknowledged as an important part of advanced engineering and manufacturing; it is now widely recognised as a key enabler for Industry 4.0 and the smart factories of the future.

Despite being an SME, INSPHERE works with the leading organisations across a range of industries including energy, automotive and aerospace. They have achieved great success delivering step changes in profitability and productivity for their clients with a team of ambitious, highly motivated individuals that deliver INSPHERE's best-practice philosophies. The company is now going through a rapid expansion and is recruiting to support its growing portfolio of diverse metrology-related projects and measurement solutions.

Working at INSPHERE

Two years ago, Metrology Engineer Jon Sneller left an aerospace giant to join the company. He describes his role at INSPHERE as demanding but an exciting interface to industry. Jon enjoys the working culture for the team who are given autonomy to develop innovations that will disrupt the current state-of-the-art. 

"Working for INSPHERE has exposed me to a more diverse range of work which has allowed me to broaden my skillset rapidly. It's great to be working with a team that delivers agile, whole product solutions and applying my depth of technical knowledge to solve real-world engineering problems, achieving immediate results for our customers" - Jon Sneller, Metrology Engineer, INSPHERE.

Metrology Engineer, Jon Sneller delivering a live demonstration of the BASELINE system created by INSPHERE at the Nuclear AMRC in March.

Metrology Engineer, Jon Sneller delivering a live demonstration of the BASELINE system created by INSPHERE at the Nuclear AMRC in March.

Although the team are Bristol-based, they work nationally at world-class facilities such as Nuclear AMRC in Sheffield to deliver cutting-edge measurement solutions; this includes a new rapid machine tool verification system, BASELINE which was launched at the centre in March. 

Delivering a New Product Portfolio to Industry

BASELINE is a system that empowers manufacturers to adopt rapid, routine maintenance cycles for large machine tools that are costly to take out of production. The system delivers the possibility of predictive maintenance. Creating the system was a response to a known industry need that only INSPHERE had the unique blend of expertise required to deliver an effective solution.

As demonstrated by BASELINE, INSPHERE is able to apply their extensive experience of metrology technologies to allow measurement data to be generated from manufacturing processes and solve real business needs. Over the next few years, the company are planning to bring a range of products to market that will further drive, control and improve processes and put value-added metrology at the forefront of the industry. It is an exciting time for INSPHERE.

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INSPHERE are recruiting!

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INSPHERE are recruiting!

INSPHERE are rapidly expanding and we are pleased to be recruiting for a number of roles that will support the business, our growing portfolio of metrology projects, and the development of metrology technologies.

We are a growing company having doubled in size in the last two years, a rate which is set to continue. We are looking for candidates that have the ambition and proactive approach to help lead this development.

If you are interested in joining our team, we are recruiting for the following roles:

Metrology Engineer

Senior Software Engineer

Financial Controller

Senior Sales Manager

INSPHERE is an innovative SME, focusing on the development and implementation of metrology systems into high value manufacturing processes. We work across a range of industries including Energy, Automotive, Medical and Aerospace.

To apply please send an up-to-date copy of your CV for consideration stating your availability/notice period.

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INSPHERE welcomes Gary Ottley

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INSPHERE welcomes Gary Ottley

Previously the Managing Director for Güdel UK, a multi-million pound automation company providing solutions in advanced manufacturing, Gary joins INSPHERE to lead the sales and marketing. He brings a wealth of business development experience and knowledge of advanced manufacturing industries that will be instrumental in bringing our product portfolio in development to market - we are delighted to welcome Gary to the INSPHERE team!

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Developing BASELINE, Rapid Machine Tool Verification at the Nuclear AMRC

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Developing BASELINE, Rapid Machine Tool Verification at the Nuclear AMRC

Over the past 12 months, INSPHERE have been working with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at their world-class facilities in Rotherham to develop BASELINE, a new system that can verify large machine tools in less than one hour.

Industry and Innovation at the Nuclear AMRC

The Nuclear AMRC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, an alliance of seven leading manufacturing research centres backed by Innovate UK. It is a centre that successfully combines academic innovation with industry expertise to help manufacturers improve capabilities and performance along the supply chain. 

The centre’s Soraluce FX12000 horizontal machining platform, which is capable of working on components up to 12 metres, is the largest of its kind within the UK available for collaborative R&D. INSPHERE have put the Soraluce machine through its paces and conducted a series of large-scale trials to test the BASELINE system and also benchmark its technology against current market offerings.

BASELINE Launch Event at the Nuclear AMRC

On March 21st, INSPHERE will be returning to the Nuclear AMRC to launch the BASELINE system. The event will include technical presentations from INSPHERE, Nuclear AMRC, and equipment provider Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. There will also be shop floor demonstrations of the BASELINE technology. The event is free to attend but spaces are limited.

Register at inspherebaselinelaunch.eventbrite.co.uk

About BASELINE

BASELINE is a system that reduces machine downtime and material scrap rates. The technology provides full verification of a large machine tool in less than one hour. It facilitates regular checks and provides confidence in performance prior to cutting. The product system supports a move towards adopting Industry 4.0 philosophies on the manufacturing shop floor.

For more information, visit www.insphereltd.com/baseline or contact us to discuss your business requirements for machine tool verification.

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INSPHERE launches BASELINE at Nuclear AMRC

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INSPHERE launches BASELINE at Nuclear AMRC

On March 21st, INSPHERE will be launching a new rapid machine tool verification system at Nuclear AMRC where the company have been working over the past year to test and develop the system on the centre’s largest machining platforms.

BASELINE is a system that reduces machine downtime and material scrap rates. The technology provides full verification of a large machine tool in less than one hour, facilitating regular checks and providing confidence in performance prior to cutting metal. BASELINE supports a move towards adopting Industry 4.0 philosophies. Its development has been made possible with funding from NATEP and access to the world-class facilities at the Nuclear AMRC.

The launch event will include technical presentations from INSPHERE, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, and Nuclear AMRC. There will also be shop floor demonstrations of the BASELINE technology.

Register your attendance for the event here and for more information about BASELINE, visit www.insphereltd.com/baseline or contact us to speak to one of the team directly.

Early trials of BASELINE on the Soraluce FX1200 horizontal machining platform at the Nuclear AMRC.

Early trials of BASELINE on the Soraluce FX1200 horizontal machining platform at the Nuclear AMRC.

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Hello Richard Kingston

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Hello Richard Kingston

Richard Kingston is and INSPHERO who joined early last year. Here’s a little interview to help you get to know him a little better.

What do you do at INSPHERE? 

My job title is Principal Automation Engineer. I have a long history of working with industrial robots and metrology systems, especially when the two are used together. At INSPHERE I do a good variety of work. I spend around half my time working on internal research projects. I also spend one day per week working from Factory 2050 at the AMRC in Sheffield. Read more…

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INSPHERE's quarterly newsletter Issue #4

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INSPHERE's quarterly newsletter Issue #4

The fourth issue of INSPHERE’s quarterly newsletter is now available here!

This issue features updates on what’s been happening at INSPHERE including the announcement of our Industry Demo day, March 21st at the Nuclear AMRC in Sheffield for the launch of BASELINE, our rapid machine tool verification system. It also includes our three most recent articles that discuss manufacturing conferences, how manufacturing can be ‘made smarter’ with metrology, and the first in a new series of articles on Industry 4.0. There’s also a case study on how innovation can be achieved with collaborative partnerships.

Metrology is increasingly being recognised for its role as a key enabler of Industry 4.0 in data driven manufacturing and industrial digitalisation. 2019 is an exciting year for INSPHERE with a number of solutions coming to market. To make sure you don’t miss anything, follow us on LinkedIn for regular updates and if you aren’t already, you can get our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing here.

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Putting the Fourth Industrial Revolution into Context

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Putting the Fourth Industrial Revolution into Context

Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has been discussed a great deal in 2018. At INSPHERE we feel that Industry 4.0 will indeed live up to the current hype, and that metrology data will be the key enabler that delivers truly smart manufacturing and drives productivity to a higher level. 

Can revolutions can be mapped out in advance? Do they truly drive changes or are they just the result of incremental development? These questions are still relevant today – they may help us to take an objective look at whether i4.0 is just marketing jargon or a genuinely transformative event. To help answer these questions in the context of the present day, INSPHERE will be releasing a series of articles over the coming months, looking both backwards through history and forwards into the short and medium-term future. Read more.

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Made Smarter with Metrology

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Made Smarter with Metrology

Made Smarter, an independent review commissioned by the government and released last year, identified the positioning of the UK with respect to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Since its release, over the last 12 months it has been impossible to discuss the future of manufacturing without hearing terms like Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning or Big Data. The terminology, branding and messaging has come to the fore of the manufacturing conversation. However, the over-arching sentiment that seems to have been established is clear: collect data and use it to improve your manufacturing system. Read more.

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INSPHERE's NATEP-funded BASELINE Project

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INSPHERE's NATEP-funded BASELINE Project

INSPHERE have a long history of using measurement data to improve both product quality and manufacturing productivity in aerospace and other advanced manufacturing sectors. As a company, we place a strong focus on innovation and making full use of emerging opportunities to help drive a revolution in high-value manufacturing, and to make the promise for Industry 4.0 a reality.

In 2017, the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) awarded funding to INSPHERE to complete an 18-month project to develop BASELINE, an original concept for a rapid verification system for large machine tools. In a new article, NATEP discusses the developments of the project and the system that will reduce machine verification downtime from five days to as little as one hour. You can read the article here and if you’d like to know a bit more, contact us for further discussion.

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INSPHERE's quarterly newsletter Issue #3

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INSPHERE's quarterly newsletter Issue #3

The third issue of INSPHERE’s quarterly newsletter is now available here.

This issue features our regular update of what’s been happening at INSPHERE, training dates for the rest of the year and for all of our courses in 2019. We also have our three most recent articles from the team discussing the benefits of workplace training, how to achieve better portable arm measurements, and how to improve your laser tracker processes. There’s also a case study on how INSPHERE have provided support for metrology process development to solve measurement challenges in a research and development facility.

Our next newsletter will be out in the new year and if you haven’t already, you can subscribe to get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox!

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3 Ways to Improve Your Laser Tracker Processes

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3 Ways to Improve Your Laser Tracker Processes

Laser trackers are great instruments for accurate measurements over tens of metres. That said - like many metrology instruments - it is easy for “bad” data to be acquired. One of the largest sources of error can be attributed to poor working practices. Poor working practices lead to large variations between operators, and an overall loss in confidence in the measurement system as a whole. Read more…

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Hello Solomon Kamugasa

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Hello Solomon Kamugasa

At the start of the year, we expanded our team of INSPHEROs. Here's an interview with one of our specialist metrology engineers who is also one of our NPL Dimensional Measurement trainers.

Meet INSPHERO, Solomon Kamugasa.

What do you do at INSPHERE?

I am a Metrology Engineer with a varied brief involving service measurements, training delivery, as well as Research and Development (R&D). Read more…

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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. Read more…

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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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