Renishaw Inc. has been in the additive manufacturing field for some time now. At a recent tour of the company’s new Chicago facility, I had a chance to see how they incorporate additive with their other manufacturing offerings and capabilities. They’ve developed a concept they call the productive Process Pyramid to describe and organize these. This pyramid enables Renishaw to offer a cohesive approach to customers’ manufacturing challenges. The goal is help customers solve problems they didn’t know they have.
At the bottom of the pyramid, is the Process Foundation layer. Preventative controls are applied at this level. Next comes the Process Setting layer where predictive controls are applied just before cutting occurs. Then comes the In-process control layer, where active controls are applied during metal cutting. At the top, is the Post-Process monitoring layer where informative controls are applied after machining is complete.
At the Process Foundation layer, Renishaw’s laser interferometer and ballbar measurement systems assess, monitor, and improve the static and dynamic performance of machine tools, CMMs and other position-critical motion systems.
The process setting layer deals with sources of variation such as part location, tool size, and machine offsets. The In-Proccess control layer tackles sources of variation that are inherent to machining, including tool wear and temperature variation.
At the post process monitoring layer, finished parts are examined against specifications. Other functions include logging process routes and outcomes. Measurement systems, such as Renishaw’s 5-axis technologies, transform the capability of CMMs, supporting fast, flexible measurement with the option of multi-sensor function.
As additive technology grows into a more manufacturing role, you can expect to see further developments from Renishaw.