The CSIR’s national metrology laboratory bought the Mitutoyo ultrasonic micro and accurate probe (Umap) Vision System Series 361, which will be used to measure microparts for the automotive and telecom-munications sectors, as well as for other industries requiring micro-machined components, in March. According to the CSIR’s Oelof Kruger, the Mitutoyo Vision measuring system, Umap, is a coordinate measuring machine with a 35-?m-diameter probe, although 15-?m- and 100-?m-diameter styli are also available. He adds that the measuring technique employed is still fairly new and that there is currently no other such system in the country. Part of the research that the CSIR is conducting includes investigation into the traceability and calibration of these types of instruments.
Umap has three measurement systems, a quick-vision system with accuracy of about (0,8 + 2L/1000) ?m, (with L in millimetres), for the X- and Y-axes and about (3 + 2L/1000) ?m for the Z-axis. It also has a touch-trigger probe, TP 200, with an accuracy of about (2 + 3L/1000) ?m and the Umap probing system with a repeatability specification of less than 0,1 ?m. The data measured by auto-matic scanning can be analysed in various modes, such as geometric evaluations, and can also be com-pared against the measured results of a master workpiece or against computer-aided design data.
“Umap also provides various measuring functions not avail- able with regular vision mea-suring instruments, such as the measurement of cylindrical or tapered shapes,” remarks RGC Engineering marketing manager Gina Grech-Cumbo. She adds that the extra-small probe facilitates contact measure-ment of fine shapes.
As for the operating soft-ware, the Umap103 supports MCOSMOS, the performance of which has been demonstrated on many Mitutoyo commercially-available coordinate-measuring machines.
Further, as it is combined with a functional probe and proved software, the Umap103 offers wide-ranging functions and excellent operation, Kruger emphasises.
RGC Engineering is the sole distributor for several other new Mitutyo products.
According to Grech-Cumbo, quality is a key priority of the firm, which has invested sig-nificant funds into research and development and provided cutting-edge equipment and technology. “The latest tech-nology is now accessible, not only to experienced users, but also to ‘normal’ and inexperienced users,” she says.
Grech-Cumbo adds that one of the firm’s new products, the JS EDM - CNC electric-discharge machine, is a good example of such technology, as it quickly and effici-ently reaches its target part and is easy to control.
The product, which was devel-oped in 1982, is used for die sinking, wire cutting and wire drilling.
The JS EDM has, over the years, been extensively used overseas, but is still fairly new to South Africa, having been launched just six months ago by RGC Engineering.
It was developed in Taiwan and uses a fast unipulse monitor technique so that a better burning efficiency is achieved.
“The artificial-intelligence software in the controller to assist the programmer, reliable electronics for hassle-free opera-tion, high speed and low wear make this product unique,” says Grech-Cumbo.
Another of the firm’s inter-national partners, GOM Indus-trial 3-D Measurement, develops and distributes optical measuring systems with its main focus on applications such as 3-D digitis- ing, 3-D coordinate measure ments, deformation measurements and quality control.
GOM systems are used for product development and for qua- lity assurance, material and com-ponent testing.
RGC Engineering is the local distributor of these products, which were developed in Germany using cutting-edge optical technology.
“The flexible optical measuring machine is based on the principle of triangulation. Pro-jected fringe patterns are observed with two cameras. Three dimen-sional coordinates for each camera pixel are calculated with high precision and a polygon mesh of the object’s surface is generated,” says Grech-Cumbo.
Among the other products distributed by RGC Engineering are the Hermle C Series 3- to 5-axis high accuracy and high-speed machining centres used in the automotive, toolmaking industries and in aeronautical applications. RGC Engineering, founded in 1960, is situated in Wynberg, Gauteng. The company is expand- ing along qualitative development through ISO 9001:2000:12 certi-fication, Merseta accreditation for training as well as SANAS ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for calibration. “We are also now expanding in the specialised fields of applied metrology and quality assurance for level 1 to 6,” adds Grech-Cumbo.
The company recently set up a high-tech metrology centre to service companies requiring com-plex measuring facilities, training and education.