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Mahr Inc.

Metrology

Product News: New Software Allows Sophisticated Form Measurements

Mahr's EasyForm helps minimize scrap, save time, and reduce production costs.

Published: Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 16:48

(Mahr Federal Inc.: Providence, RI) -- As dimensional metrology systems increase in accuracy and sophistication, they are more capable than ever of helping to improve quality and cut costs in production environments. Once there, however, they must often be run by operators who are not experienced in dimensional metrology procedures and are also doing a multitude of other tasks. That gap, says Mahr Federal's Pat Nugent, must be bridged by the operating software of the metrology systems. Case in point: Mahr's newest EasyForm version 3.0 software for their MMQ Formtester line.

"Ease of use in software has become a key differentiator of advanced measuring systems," says Nugent, who is vice president of metrology systems for Mahr's U.S. operation. "The easier the software is to operate and the more it can do, the more value these systems can bring to a production operation. When sophisticated measurements like cylindricity, roundness, and perpendicularity can be performed by machine operators right in production areas, they can save time, minimize scrap, and significantly reduce production costs."

Designed by experts in human-factors engineering, Mahr's EasyForm 3.0 is built to do that and more. Available as standard on all new MMQ 100 and 200 Formtesters, and as an upgrade for a variety of older systems, EasyForm 3.0 provides an intuitive touch screen interface that guides operators through measurement setup and operation. A teach-in mode remembers every step taken and can easily combine steps to perform repetitive multi-feature measurements, virtually automatically. For example, a roundness measurement can be taken in just two steps.

Measurement results are immediately displayed on the screen, including 3-D representation with color or grid lines providing an interactive graphic preview. Results can be printed, saved in file formats such as PDF, or exported for analysis in ASCII or, optionally, in QS-Stat formats.

New to EasyForm 3.0 is the ability to interactively exclude certain trace data after measuring or analyzing part features. This allows inadvertent data from dirt, or from recurring features such as splines or grooves, to be removed from consideration without remeasuring.

Also new in EasyForm 3.0 are a number of options for output formatting to enhance the usability of the results for different users. To support applications on more sophisticated CNC systems as well as basic manual systems, new abilities to separate positioning movement of the probe or measuring device from evaluation have been added. This facilitates changing or repositioning parts or probes during measurement. Part alignment has also been optimized with a new ultra quiet display that provides variable sensitivity, red/green signals, and numerical value for computer assisted centering and tilting when used on manually operated systems.

For manufacturers of high-precision parts interested in harmonic analysis, EasyForm 3.0 offers a variety of analysis methods including basic Fourier analyses, input of multiple bands, and generation of tolerance curves for the histogram.

"Throughout the development process we've tried to facilitate the way people intuitively use this software," says Nugent. "Sometimes this affects big things and other times it is the many small things that you never think about when you use software. For example, EasyForm has, of course, always had a 'start' button to initiate all commands. But when the human-factors people pointed out that users' eyes are conditioned to travel from left to right across a page and from top to bottom, we moved the start button to the lower right on the data entry screen and made it larger. That way, it is not only more visually obvious, but users won't feel they are going 'back' to start. Now, the user simply scans the information presented on the screen and only changes something like a tolerance if necessary before pressing the start button. Details like that are important to user comfort, and user comfort in using a piece of highly-sophisticated hardware ultimately contributes to quality."

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Mahr Inc.’s picture

Mahr Inc.

Mahr Inc. a member of the Mahr Group, manufactures and markets a complete range of dimensional measurement solutions from handheld and custom-made gauges to technically advanced measurement systems for form, contour, surface finish and length for the automotive, aerospace, medical products, electrical, plastics, and optical engineering industries. Mahr also provides calibration and contract measurement services. Mahr's calibration laboratories are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005, NVLAP Lab Code 200605-0. Mahr Group is headquartered in Göttingen, Germany. Mahr Inc. is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island.