ANCA's newest Smart Factory tool, LaserUltra, is 70% faster measuring tools

Grinding manufacturer ​ANCA said it leads the market in inventing, developing, and offering its customers the latest technology to realise the benefits of automation and lights-out manufacturing and its LaserUltra is the next generation of the highly popular LaserPlus.

The company said: "In-process measurement technology is only available with ANCA that gave customers the power to operate unmanned overnight with confidence they could retrieve their finished tools the next day within specification. LaserPlus was itself a game-changer for the industry and already significantly faster than external tool measurement processes."

ANCA’s LaserUltra allows the measurement of tool geometries to tolerances of 0.002mm without removing the tool from the grinder, saving time in the manufacturing process, and ensuring maximum accuracy in measurement is maintained over large batch grinding.

The Swiss manufacturer of key cutters F.O. Select is one of the users that have been relying on the previous LaserPlus solution for quite some time.

"We produce all our products in-house so we have a control over the whole production process and can cope with the increasing demands on complexity and precision. For us, LaserPlus was the key to converting our manufacturing to 24/7 without compromising quality," said Loïc Jacot, fifth generation family member of F.O. Select.

The LaserPLus advancement has now been introduced at EMO in Milan as LaserUltra with some significant innovations. A new, analog measurement achieves a 70 % reduction in measuring time compared to LaserPlus.

The analog measurement is a continuous edge scan instead of number of digital points along the cutting edge. This process also eliminates variations caused by machine standing idle, errors due to manual wheel corrections and the requirement of skilled operators. In its place LaserUltra has increased accuracy, productivity, and reduction of scrap.

Edmund Boland, managing director at ANCA Europe, said: “The intersection of 5 axis milling machines, advanced CAD/CAM software and advanced profile geometry cutting tools is revolutionising the Die and Mold and Aerospace machining industries.

"ANCA’s Laser Ultra tool measurement system together with RN34 software gives tool manufacturers all they need to manufacture complex profile endmills productively to outstanding accuracy.

"In our showrooms in Coventry and Weinheim, tool manufacturers can get a live impression of the possibilities they can open up with LaserUltra live on their machines. The Coventry showroom has just been equipped with a MX7 machine, presenting the LaserUltra, along with a CPX blank preparation machine from January.”

LaserUltra offers customers:

• a cycletime that is approximately 70% faster than LaserPlus in normal tool measurements which directly relates to increased productivity.

• Greater accuracy due to the continuous edge scan rather than a number of points.

• Several new ToolTypes like Barrel shape cutters and Lens shapes are included with LaserUltra measurement cycles.

• New operations like runout compensation and enhanced functions.

• Larger working envelop means larger diameters and length of tools can be measured.

• The measurement reports have been modified to suit customers’ requirements.

• Eliminates errors caused by manual compensation process.

Thomson Mathew, ANCA software product manager said: “Gone are the days of manual or external measurement and compensation for critical dimensions or profile forms due to wheel wear or other grinding factors as LaserUltra can measure and compensate within a couple of microns.

"All this is done in process without taking the tools out of the machine with complete control of process stability and capability. These measurements are displayed at various locations to give our customers complete visibility and trust in their grinding process.”

LaserUltra is an automatic OD, profile measurement and compensating system for ANCA’s FX, MX and TX machines. It is ideal for measuring and compensating tools to maintain tight tolerances (0.002mm) in unmanned production grinding. The in-process measurement is available in both digital and analog for fast and accurate measurements to enable productivity and performance improvements.

It is permanently mounted inside the machine and will not interfere with typical grinding processes and accessories. Using the laser, the operator can perform accurate in-process measurement and compensation without removing tools from the machine.

Mathew continued: “It gives customers flexibility to service multiple markets, supporting a large range of cutting tool applications, for example all types of endmills or step tools - including profile, compression routers and Threadmills and several more.

"Furthermore, different versions of LaserUltra can cover large diameter ranges and various lengths depending on user cases. And finally, LaserUltra can generate reports which can be configured depending on customers’ requirements.”