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Blue Laser Technology for Noncontact Measurement

Renishaw offers its second-generation NC4+ Blue noncontact tool setting solution.

Building on the success of the original NC4+ Blue, the latest evolution of the noncontact tool setter features an ultra-compact design and is available in four sizes, with operating gaps ranging from 55 mm to 240 mm. Measurement repeatability has also been improved across the range, now down to +/- 0.5 micron on smaller separations.

"Featuring industry-first, blue laser technology and improved optics, Renishaw's NC4+ Blue systems deliver significant improvements in tool measurement accuracy, ensuring components can be machined more accurately and efficiently," said a company spokesperson.

The spokesperson continued, "Compared to red laser sources found in conventional noncontact tool setters, blue laser technology has a shorter wavelength, resulting in optimized laser beam geometry." This enables the measurement of very small tools while minimizing tool-to-tool measurement errors-a critical consideration when machining with a wide range of cutting tools.

NC4+ Blue systems use Renishaw's noncontact tool setting software package, which continues to evolve to help ensure rapid, robust and reliable measurement, even in wet conditions. Auto-optimization technology within the software automatically adjusts the movement of the tool in and out of the beam to minimize any wasted movement and therefore cycle time. Features such as a dual measurement mode, where the tool is measured as it exits the laser beam, and an advanced tool cleaning option, help ensure the tool is free from debris and coolant during measurement. Further enhancements to tool run-out and profile measurement cycles deliver increased functionality and reliability to advanced users.

"The interior of a machining center is a hostile environment with coolant drips, swarf chips and dust," said the spokesperson. "Coolant mist can saturate the air and quickly coat any exposed optical surfaces. Whatever their optical design, laser tool setting systems need clean optics and an unobstructed beam path in order to function. The NC4+ Blue uses MicroHole and PassiveSeal optical protection technologies, enabling fast and reliable tool measurement, even in wet conditions."

MicroHole technology helps ensure the optics are protected from contamination during measurement by delivering a continuous stream of compressed air through a very small and precise laser-drilled hole in the transmitter and receiver heads. The PassiveSeal system provides an additional layer of protection, automatically shielding the optics from contamination in the event of air supply failure. It uses a simple pneumatic installation that minimizes any need for maintenance.

NC4+ Blue support is embedded into Renishaw's extensive range of graphical user interfaces, including on-machine and mobile apps such as Renishaw Set and Inspect and GoProbe. These programming platforms are suited for users who are new to probing or have little machine code knowledge, while still offering operational benefits to more experienced users.

Renishaw technologies provide the data that enables intelligent decision-making for the factory of the future. On-machine tool measurement allows manufacturers to automate and optimize their processes and minimize quality problems and CNC machine stoppages. With the latest version of Renishaw's on-machine Reporter app, users can now view historical tool data captured by the NC4+ Blue and stream the measurements in real time. Results can also be exported via CSV file or PDF report and either stored for traceability or imported into in-house quality analysis software.

For more information contact:

Renishaw, Inc.

1001 Wesemann Dr.

West Dundee, IL 60118


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