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Replace manual gauges with new INTUO™ software for Equator™

20 April 2015

Highly repeatable process control on the shop floor - create simple gauging routines in minutes and eliminate user error.

The Renishaw Equator™ flexible gauge is now offered with the new INTUO™ gauging software, combined with a range of industry standard Renishaw probes. INTUO simplifies and automates the gauging of a wide variety of parts, removing dependence on the skill of manual gauge users. Reducing gauging inconsistency reduces scrap, whilst ensuring parts that are out of tolerance are always identified.

Renishaw is also launching the Equator Button Interface (EBI), with simple push-button controls for shop-floor operators, removing the need for a mouse and keyboard.

Replace manual gauges, reduce ongoing costs

INTUO with Equator is an ideal alternative to multiple manual devices such as vernier or digital callipers, micrometres and plug gauges. Equator is highly repeatable and runs fast automated routines, meaning significantly reduced labour costs. With many workshops using hundreds of manual gauges this cost saving can be considerable.

INTUO, with minimal training, uses intelligent functions to help the engineer set up gauging of parts in a matter of minutes. Shop-floor operators then select and run those programs using the user-friendly Renishaw Organiser front-end software.

Gauging routines in minutes

INTUO allows the programmer to create gauging routines using just a part with an engineering drawing. With the Feature Predict function activated, the programmer uses the joystick to take points on each feature while INTUO does most of the work, by predicting the type of feature, the nominal value and a possible tolerance band.
It is then easy to adjust the program to change the number of points taken or to space them evenly, and match nominals and tolerances to the engineering drawing.

Easy manual input of master part actuals

It is a simple task to input the actual values for features on the master part, which does not need to be a ‘perfect part'. In fact it is preferable that a production part manufactured with the same method and material is used. First the features required are measured on a certified device, like a calibrated manual gauge or any co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM). The values from this master part inspection report can be manually added to a table in Organiser or to the corresponding field in INTUO – changing one will update the other.

Programmer training in one day

INTUO has gone through extensive development to make it as simple to use as possible, which means that programmers only need a training course lasting a few hours. Training is ‘hands-on', using the joystick to take points while interacting with icon based menus and a graphical workspace to rapidly build up the features to be gauged. In just a few hours programmers will learn the four stage INTUO process of Align – Measure – Dimension – Report, and be ready to inspect production parts.

Equator Button Interface

In many shop-floor environments simple operator controls are essential. Customer feedback has shown that an alternative to the keyboard and mouse is required, so Renishaw has introduced the Equator Button Interface (EBI), which works directly with the Organiser software.

EBI uses large push buttons which can be operated by operators wearing gloves. It is not affected by shop-floor contamination and can be mounted on the front of the Equator or on the framework of a table or enclosure. At the most basic level it can be used to start gauging programs, but can also be used to stop those programs mid-cycle, select other programs and navigate the Organiser environment. Equator can be moved using the jog keys if necessary and there are buttons for initial alignment, switching between master/measure modes, changing view screens and easy error recovery.

Control your process

Equator has various reporting options, including simple pass/fail, a more detailed view in Process Monitor (a process monitoring window for the user interface), or automatic data capture for updating machine tool offsets.

Process Monitor provides a chart showing the history of feature measurements, and an easy graphical view of proportion of tolerance for each feature. Being able to view the inspection data history of a part is an invaluable function for controlling manufacturing processes. This is not possible when using a Go/no-go gauge, which can only indicate the state of each feature.

Process Monitor also enables shop floor management of the mastering process according to temperature, time or number of parts measured. Use of a calibrated master part allows the system to be re-zeroed whenever shop-floor conditions change, meaning Equator can cope with a rapidly changing thermal environment.

Global support

Reflecting the international nature of many modern manufacturing organisations, Equator customers have been able to take advantage of Renishaw's extensive network of Equator support engineers. Projects initiated in one country or region can be easily transferred and locally supported in multiple locations. Renishaw now has over 70 regional support offices and multiple approved partners, covering every industrialised area of the world.

The versatile gauge

Equator is unique in its design and method of operation, and has already changed the thinking of thousands of production engineers, making it their new gauge of choice. The versatility and repeatability Equator offers is re-defining the world of gauging, and now with INTUO and the Equator Button Interface an even wider range of capabilities is offered to manufacturers globally.

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