Automatic Gauging Systems

It was once believed that automatic gauging systems are dedicated solutions that are suitable only for high-volume and long-run applications. In the old days, that might have been the case, but the modern technology of today has allowed manufacturers to add more flexibility to such systems. This makes such systems a great choice for several lower volume applications.

The main benefit of automatic gauging is consistency as it virtually removes every single operator-related variable from the operation. Three variations are available in automatic gauging systems: dedicated, re-toolable or flexible, depending on the requirements of application.

Here are some details about automatic gauging systems.

Components of the System

A standard automatic gauging system comprises of a PLC or other station controller for sequencing material handling parts, interlocks, gauge motions and other functions. It also has an amplifier or display for collecting outputs of gauge transducer and processing them so that final geometric and dimensional values can be generated. The system also comprises of auxiliary equipment that marks a part for the purpose of tracking.

The amplifier in the gauging system is a small computer that runs proprietary signal processing and data analysis software to filter raw signals. Then, the software combines these signals with various readings of the transducer. That way, dimensional information is generated. Statistical analysis may also be performed by the amplifier and it may also generate compensation signals that’ll be executed by controls in the machine.

Choices Available in Gauging Technology

Gauging technology appropriate for a process largely depend on environmental and application conditions. Some choices available in the technology include:

Optical Gauges

Optical gauges offer remarkable flexibility allowing efficient and quick changes. However, they are less tolerant towards environmental components and are quite sensitive to changes in parts finish.

Air Gauges

Air gauges can tolerate environmental conditions and aren’t highly influenced by parts finish. However, correct functioning requires a very small clearance between the part and gauge. That can make air gauges harder to load and dirt sensitive.

Getting Maximum Value

As automatic gauges systems have been traditionally used in long-run and high-volume applications, they are usually overlooked as good solutions for other types of production. That is a major mistake since modern technology makes them a viable option for many low-volume and mid-range applications.

However, it is important to understand that flexibility offered by these systems complicates component selection and configuration processes for automatic gauging. Getting maximum value from the gauging system technology requires knowledge of all its limitations and capabilities.

An implementer should also consider the floor space that should be allocated for a gauging system. The system must also be integrated into downstream and upstream processes and it should be ensured that cycle times are coordinated. Most importantly, the process must be qualified and validated by the gauge after all the machine tools have been put in place.

Automatic gauging systems can contribute to both the quality and productivity of a process provided that the right gauging system is used.

You can find several automated gauging systems for various needs in our product catalog.