VisionGauge®’s new “CAD Fitting™” tool

 

When we introduced VisionGauge®’s patented CAD Auto-Align™ tool, it greatly extended how parts could be inspected. This revolutionary tool gives users the ability to automatically carry out CAD-to-part alignment, very quickly and accurately.

When it is used in conjunction with VisionGauge®’s patented CAD Auto-Pass/Fail™ tool, it allows users to compare a part to its CAD file, completely automatically, with great repeatability & accuracy and absolutely no operator-dependence. There are a great many applications where this is invaluable. The verification of profile and surface tolerances are two very common examples.

We are pleased to announce the release of VisionGauge®’s new CAD Fitting™ tool. This tool is capable of automatically refining the results of CAD Auto-Align™ in some trickier applications to produce even better results.

VisionGauge®’s patented CAD Auto-Align™ tool aligns the CAD nominal to the part at user-specified control sections. It does this in a least-squares sense, i.e. it minimizes the sum of the squared deviations from nominal over all of the control sections.

In most cases, this is ideal. However, there are some situations where it might not be the absolute optimal approach. For example: we can imagine an (extreme) situation where the result of the CAD Auto-Align™ calculation would have the CAD nominal perfectly aligned with the part at all of the control sections except one, at which the part would be just outside the tolerance band. This could lead to a “Fail” result. In this example, the optimal solution might be to slightly modify the alignment (still respecting all of the prescribed constraints) so as to “bring the part back into the tolerance band” at the one control section where this was not the case. This could result in the part slightly “moving away from the CAD nominal” at the other control sections, but still remaining in tolerance at all of these locations. This is what we refer to as “CAD Fitting™” and, in this case, it would transform the result to a “Pass”.

aerospace part CAD Auto-Align results vs CAD Fitting

The results of the CAD Auto-Align™ tool applied on an aerospace part are shown above and those of the CAD Fitting™ tool on the same part are below.

Aerospace part CAD Fitting results

Learn more about VisionGauge®’s new CAD Fitting™ tool.

Contact us with the details of your application!

Announcement – May 11, 2022 – New Shop Capabilities

 

We’ve just received the latest addition to our shop: A Fanuc RoboDrill α-D21MiB5ADV, 10,000 RPM, CNC Vertical Machining Center with a Fanuc 31i-B5 CNC Control and a 4th axis Fanuc DDRT-500 Direct Drive Linear Rotary Table.

 

This machine also has a bunch of automation-ready options (e.g. Hennig Hinge Belt Conveyor, Auto Door, Tool Probe, Bed Flush, Fixture Flush, Spindle Air Blow, etc…). This will allow us to add a robot to this machining cell, for automatic loading & unloading.

 

We’re excited about all of the extra capabilities that this new machine will give us. We’ll use it to produce parts that go into our VisionGauge® inspection and measurement systems, to help support the increasing popularity of VisionGauge® systems.

 

Thanks very much to our terrific partners at Methods Machine Tools for their help making this happen!

 

  • Robodrill arriving at VISIONx

VisionGauge® OnLine version 15.24 is available for download

VisionGauge® OnLine version 15.24, dated April 22nd, 2022, is available for download.

 

The following new features and enhancements have been added over the past few versions:


This update adds a Manual Axis Lock which allows users to declare certain axes as ‘Locked’ against manual control in the Motion Control Toolbox. Attempts to manually move an axis/stage that is locked will be prevented (i.e. joystick operations, Motion Control Toolbox +/- buttons, “Go”/”Go All”). The Status Box will receive a message notifying when a locked axis is trying to move.

The “Lock” checkbox can be enabled/disabled in the Motion Control Toolbox’s Display – Lock Settings menu. This feature can be password protected by the VisionGauge® OnLine Security Manager. By default the Manual Axis Lock is reset for all axes when the software is started, but a new option in the Motion Control Toolbox – Startup Settings allows Administrators to determine if these manually locked axes should persist when the software is shutdown/restarted.

This feature could be useful on the fly during difficult inspections when you may want to prevent accidentally changing the focus or the position of specific axes, or Administrators can restrict operator’s manual control over specific axes and rely on automated programs to handle control of these axes.


 

VisionGauge® OnLine’s Operator Mode has been updated to allow Administrators to define additional access control settings for the Motion Control Toolbox, including the following possibilities:

  • disable the Go All button,
  • disable the Home All button,
  • disallow setting positions for specific axes (e.g. Zeroing an axis or setting specific positions in the Motion Control Toolbox)

These new options are not applied by default and must be configured when setting up Operator Mode.

 


 

This update also adds the ability to save and recall DirectX compliant camera properties when shutting down and restarting the software. Examples of these standard properties are exposure, gain, brightness, white balance, etc…

We’ve also added support to allow users to save the currently loaded properties to the Settings Toolbox (for DirectX-supported devices only). This is useful to quickly switch/recall device properties without having to manually change these settings.

 


 

We’ve enhanced support for Computer Controlled Illumination to allow up to 8 illumination controls for applications with more demanding lighting requirements. Support for a new illumination controller has also been added.

 


 

An option has been added to the Program Toolbox – Counting & Sizing Settings to allow the user to save to file information about all objects found from the Counting & Sizing operation.


Various additional performance improvements and enhancements have also been made.

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 15.00 / VisionGauge® version 11.00 are available for download

VisionGauge® OnLine version 15.00, dated October 14th, 2021, is available for download.

 

New features and enhancements have been added over the past few versions:


This update moves “Auto-Align” settings previously found in the “CAD Auto Pass/Fail Settings” into a new “CAD Auto-Align Settings” window, accessible from the Overlay Toolbox alongside the “Auto Pass/Fail Settings”.

The CAD Auto-Align Settings include a new parameter to save a default Auto-Align Mode (e.g. X-only, Y-only, XY + Rotation, etc.) when Live Video is activated. XY + Rotation alignment is set by default. The option is saved with each CAD file’s .apf file when configured. This allows users to load different CAD files, each with its own default Auto-Align Mode pre-selected.

 

The CAD Auto-Pass/Fail Settings also include a new set of default values when setting up Control Sections. These default values are applied when a new control section is added, which can make short work of setting up multiple control sections with the same tolerances, display deviations, and more. You can also use the “Apply to All” button to change the settings for all currently configured control sections.


We have also greatly improved the motion convergence time when running programs VisionGauge® OnLine’s Program Toolbox when the Watchdog option enabled and an E-Stop is connected to the motor drives. This ultimately contributes to motion programs running even faster without sacrificing positioning accuracy. In some of our test cases, we experienced programs with many Motion Control steps running up to 40% faster!


VisionGauge® OnLine’s live overlay image refresh rate has been improved when displaying complex DXF file with a large number of entities. These improvements are particularly noticeable when viewing a relatively small field-of-view compared to the full scope of the overlay being drawn, e.g at high magnifications or very large overlays.


VisionGauge® OnLine now includes a new “Operator Mode” feature. Operator Mode is designed to let Administrators setup a repeatable environment for their operators that limits the operator control over 1) moving windows and/or 2) opening and closing windows when this mode is enabled. Administrators can customize control by choosing to Allow or Deny these Move and Open/Close window operations for individual tools in the Security menu:

Operator Mode is disabled by default so this update will not make user interface changes until Operator Mode is explicitly enabled. After Operator Mode has been enabled, control is automatically restricted based on the Administrator’s configurations when VisionGauge® OnLine starts up. Control over setting up Operator Mode is password protected and factory locked-out. A new option has been added to the Single-Session Factory Lock-Out procedure to permit modifying Operator Mode during a single session of VisionGauge® OnLine.

Additional feature and menu restrictions may be added with future updates of the software.


We have also added new ‘Cancel All’ buttons to the Program Toolbox’s Setup windows. This button is useful for quickly cancelling out of all changes to a program step and returning control directly to the Program Toolbox itself, instead of the Program Toolbox settings setup window.


We’ve enhanced support for certain DirectX/DirectShow compliant cameras that do not list their full resolution compatibilities. This update applies to both VisionGauge® and VisionGauge® OnLine. Previously when using these devices, when users tried to save a certain resolution as default, the maximum resolution would be displayed instead. Now these resolutions are all able to be properly saved and restored, as well as the camera framerate and bitdepth.

 

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.74 is available for download

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.74, dated June 30th, 2021, is available for download.

New features and enhancements have been added:


We have added the ability to define a maximum velocity for each axis in a motorized system. This feature will most often be used by our technicians on systems that risk noise or damage to an axis at higher speeds.


We’ve included a “Control-R” hotkey, to trigger the “Overlay Translation / Rotation” window’s “Output” button. You will also find in the “Overlay Translation / Rotation” window’s Settings an option to trigger an audible confirmation when results are output.


We have included the ability to save additional data with each result that is added to a Data Group, including the current Settings Toolbox button, the current illumination settings, the current Coordinate System, and the currently loaded overlay with offsets at the time the result enters the Data Group.

Each of these options is able to be configured for an individual Data Group in its “Options” menu:

These options will be actively restored when double-clicking an entry in the Data Group and traveling to the stage position where the result was collected. This may be particularly useful for Operator Review, when manually inspecting the conditions of a “Fail” result after running an automated program.


This update also corrects the DXF Overlay Toolbox’s behavior when removing an item from a full toolbox. The last object in the toolbox will appear empty, instead of duplicating the last value.


We’ve enhanced the Program Toolbox’s Align tool so that it can carry out image rotation & translation alignment without re-scaling the image. In this case, make sure the following box is unchecked:


We’ve added a new “Image Buffer” tool in the Program Toolbox. This is a fast way to recall & reuse previously-captured images.

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.46 is available for download

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.46, dated January 28th, 2021, is available for download.

New features and enhancements have been added:


Some of these new enhancements have to do with 5-axis applications. Now, there are 2 principal approaches that can be used to supply 5-axis coordinate data to VisionGauge® systems.

 

1) Data from the drill file

 

The most common approach consists in supplying the system data from a so-called “drill file”. This is the coordinate data for all of the holes that need to be inspected, as typically supplied to a LASER or EDM drill, for example. This data is generally output by a CAM software package. This data represents the (X,Y,Z,A,B) movements that the drill needs to carry out to bring each hole in position (under the wire, for example). This data is thus generally rotated about the drill’s trunnion and is expressed relative to the part’s (0,0,0,0,0).

Using the “Chuck offset” and “Fixture height” information from the “5-axis Transform Settings” window (accessed through the “Motion control” window, as shown below), VisionGauge® OnLine can use this “drill file” information directly (using VisionGauge®’s built-in 5-axis transform) to effectively rotate the data about its own trunnion and still expressing all coordinates relative to the part’s (0,0,0,0,0)), i.e.:

VisionGauge® OnLine‘s “Motion control” window
VisionGauge® OnLine‘s “5-axis Transform Settings” window

 

2) “Raw” un-rotated data:

 

Starting with the latest software update, a second approach is possible for supplying 5-axis hole data to the system. With this approach, when we check the “Apply to the part” checkbox in the above “5-axis Transform Settings” window, then we can simply supply the (X,Y,Z,A,B) coordinates of the (un-rotated) holes, as always expressing all coordinates relative to the part’s (0,0,0,0,0). In this case, VisionGauge® OnLine carries out all of the required rotation calculations. This approach is very convenient if you don’t have a drill file, or if you don’t even have any CAM software.

Note that both approaches are absolutely equivalent. Generally, users will choose one or the other based on data availability and convenience…

Also, please note that we’ve also refreshed our 700 Series brochure with some new and updated information.


We have added an option to allow Live Video to run in VisionGauge® OnLine while working outside of the software. By enabling this option in the “Settings – Image Capture Settings”, VisionGauge® OnLine will no longer stop live video when clicking in another window or typing outside of VisionGauge® OnLine. This may mostly benefit users of the “Standard” edition of VisionGauge® OnLine if they require live video to stay on when working on programs outside of the software.

Settings – Image Capture Settings

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.38 is available for download

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.38, dated November 30th, 2020, is available for download.

 

The following enhancements have been added:


The Numerical and String Variable windows in the main VisionGauge OnLine menu now include an option to “Load” a previously saved set of Numerical or String variables. The same menu allows users to “Save” the current set of variables.

 

The Program Toolbox “Numerical & String Variables” step options have been greatly expanded to allow the following operations:

  • Set a String/Numerical Variable to 1) a user-defined value, 2) the most recent value from a Data Group, or 3) the current date, time, or both
  • Combine two String Variables into a single result (a user-defined delimiter between the variables is optional)
  • Append the following data onto the end of an existing String Variables: 1) a user-defined value, 2) another String Variable, or 3) the current date, time, or both (a user-defined delimiter between the variables is optional)
  • Clear the current set of Numerical or String Variables
  • Save the current set of Numerical or String Variables
  • Load a previously saved set of Numerical or String Variables
numerical string variables

 

These features can be very useful for recording and indexing a variety of parameters for automated inspection, as well as giving greater capabilities to tracking and tagging inspected parts/batches, logging operator information, and more.

 

The DXF Overlay Toolbox Correspondence file has been updated to recognize mixed-case lettering for the index value.

 

New VisionGauge® software training videos

 

We’re pleased to announce the new “Training Videos” section of our web site. It contains an extensive set of videos that present the features and tools available in the VisionGauge® OnLine Software. These tutorial videos go in depth through the steps that allow you to perform a great many operations in the software.

The videos are nicely organised in clear categories and sub-categories, to allow you to quickly and easily find the information you’re looking for.

These videos can be found under the “Support” menu of our web site and are available to our current software users and resellers. Complete the registration form with your company name and your account will be verified and activated, following which you can view this section of the site.

Training Videos section of the VISIONx website

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.28 is available for download

 

VisionGauge® OnLine version 14.28, dated September 14th, 2020, is available for download.

 

The following enhancements have been added over the last few versions:


VisionGauge® OnLine now allows is capable of writing a “Usage Tracking” log. This option is found in the “Settings – General Preferences” menu. When enabled, a log file is created in the “vgOnLine/Log” directory with information about when a session of VisionGauge® OnLine is started and shut down. The date, time, and Windows user that started the session are recorded on each line.

Usage Tracking in VisionGauge OnLine

 

This update also includes a redesign of the CAD Auto-Pass/Fail “Entities” window. We’ve also added the ability to display the maximum (absolute) deviation from nominal on user-specified entities during CAD Auto-Pass/Fail® operations.

Maximum Deviation From Nominal on Entities

 

The Program Toolbox now includes a “Measurement Toolbox” option, allowing a program to automatically select an .mtb file to load and which button to select by default. This tool could be useful when a program needs to be paused to instruct operators to perform manual measurements before resuming the program again.

Program Toolbox - Measurement Toolbox

 

Also, the DXF Correspondence File now includes an additional optional parameter for which Measurement Toolbox file to load. This allows operators to automatically load VisionGauge® OnLine programs, auxiliary files, overlays, and/or a specific Measurement Toolbox by using the barcode reader. The DXF Correspondence File information has been updated with this data.

 

The Motion Control Startup Settings now contain an option to customize the startup warning message when the 2D XY Stage Mapping is about to begin its homing procedure. This notification window is much larger so it is more visible, and it allows multiple lines of customized text with Unicode support to give operators specific instructions for when the system starts.

Motion Control settings - customize startup message

 

This set of updates also adds a Digital IO output condition for when a system’s Emergency Stop is triggered during program operation.

 

The Settings Toolbox now includes an option to save the current measurement units. This allows a Settings Toolbox button to reset the measurement units when it is recalled, which could be useful if different sets of measurements require different units.

 

Finally, this update also includes a few performance enhancements, measurement improvements (Manual and Automated Perpendicularity measurements), small fixes that correct the display of camera names when multiple cameras are selected, and add additional support for Unicode in various input locations of the software.

 

Announcing the Super-Extended Travel Configuration 500 Series VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparator

 

The new VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparator 500 Series Super-Extended-Travel Configuration is designed to inspect large and heavy parts while still delivering performance, reliability, and high-accuracy measurements. These systems have up to 60” of travel and support loads of up to 300 lbs!

This innovative configuration is designed to provide optimal rigidity and eliminate any mechanical deflections. Everything is optimized to allow the system to produce very accurate measurements of long and heavy parts.

 

500 Series VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparator - Super-Extended Travel Configuration

The Super-Extended Travel Configuration is powerful and widely-applicable. In particular, the Industrial Gas Turbine (IGT) / Power Generation industry greatly benefits from the use of this system for inspection of fir trees / root forms on buckets.

Super-Extended Travel 500 Series VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparator inspecting fir tree / root forms on buckets
Fir Tree / Root Form Inspection with the Super-Extended Travel 500 Series VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparator

Download the data sheet, visit the product page, and contact us for more information.