Companies with micro precision applications in medical, aerospace, electronics, and many other industries depend on micro tool manufacturing specialists like Hassay Savage (Turner Falls, MA). The company manufactures and supplies the smallest of micro cutting tools, including broaches, round tools, and micro reamers and drills and is the exclusive agent to the French tool manufacturers Magafor and GMauvais.
Measuring and inspecting micro tools is a significant challenge, one that led Robert Savage, owner of Hassay Savage to begin searching for a new methods of qualifying tools. “We looked at six or seven different companies and many could do most of the things we needed, but not all,” said Savage. Meeting Alexander Zoller, CEO of Zoller Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI), at an American Gear Manufacturers Association event, Savage watched a demonstration of the Zoller pomBasicMicro inspection machine. Soon after, Savage purchased the pomBasicMicro as the solution he was seeking.
The pomBasicMicro is a compact and process-oriented inspection machine for inspecting and measuring micro tools. It is suitable for use in the metrology room for incoming tool inspection or directly next to CNC grinding machines. Hassay Savage uses the pomBasicMicro to inspect tool geometries, including tolerances during incoming, in-process and final tool inspection.
Jim MacDougall, Hassay Savage production manager, said that though there are other ways to measure and inspect tools, they leave out some very important features. “Using a comparator only allows you to check the external features [on the OD], but not everything the pom can. Comparators don’t work for such small tools and the use of a dial indicator or micrometer can break the tool,” he said.
The pom measures in incident light with a magnification of 400 in correlation with a 24″ monitor and, therefore, delivers a high resolution and crystal clear picture of the end of the tool. “It takes 20–30 minutes typically to fully inspect a tool depending on how many parameters are checked. I check for radii, cutting distances, angles, surface finish, and quality of the cutting edge,” said MacDougall.
“One of the great things we can get is a comparative image of the quality of the finish grind—a side-by-side comparison. We can send pictures and data reports to customers and to Magafor. Using the pomBasicMicro has made us a better company because we can qualify to tighter tolerances. In general, we can make and supply better tools to our customers,” said MacDougall.
Hassay Savage labels tools and packages them with tool reports they run from the pomBasicMicro so they can send all relevant information to customers regarding size, angles, and distances—all verified to nominal and tolerances. They can also inspect competitor tools and provide information to customers regarding those dimensions as well. Inspecting their own tools and those of their competitors allows Hassay Savage to provide comparative information to Magafor and GMauvais for quality purposes.
The pomBasicMicro is equipped with a video microscope system, a monochrome camera, and a 12× macro zoom lens for inspecting even the smallest tool geometries with a magnification of 400× on a 24″ monitor. The individually customizable software, pomSoft, found on all pomBasicMicro machines provides numerous measuring and evaluation algorithms.
“We have a wide variety of tool sizes, so it comes in handy to have all levels of magnification for any drill or reamer we’re checking,” said MacDougall. “Auto edge detection works really well. You move the cursor over the edge for the tool being measured and the software finds the angle or feature and automatically recognizes it. It’s faster, repeatable, and operator independent. But with micro tools, sometimes you may manually adjust—it’s just part of the process,” MacDougall said.
The automatic light adjustment on the pomBasicMicro is an important feature. Due to the size and fragility of micro tools as small as 0.01–3.00 mm in diameter, there are several challenges—breakage being one of the biggest. Contactless measurement of the pomBasicMicro is similarly important. “Even touching the micro tools with the cleaning putty can snap a drill so now we use a very fine putty. I have a lot of control of the light settings. There are eight different LED segments around the lens on the pomBasicMicro and I can turn each off separately to see different details on the sections,” MacDougall said.
The pomBasicMicro interface layout of pomSoft software can be configured and saved based on specific needs of the operator or special application requirements. When the pomBasicMicro was initially set up for Hassay Savage, three training sessions took place and the software configuration was adjusted for their requirements. During a recent software upgrade, Zollers’ Michael Stepke, inspection product specialist, revised the user menu options and shortcuts ensuring all frequently used functions are quickly accessible.
“Michael explained that since we have special requirements due to the size of our tools, it was important to be able to address the issues regarding micro tools on a software and hardware level,” MacDougall said. “We can even measure the tools that make our tools. This helps in the quality process. We can even measure and document the tolerance on tools. It forces everyone toward more quality.”
“The key thing about the Zoller pomBasicMicro is that we can get very accurate information on small, precision cutting tools in our market. We can answer a lot of questions quickly that really speeds up the process of evaluating and quoting new items,” said Bill Fletcher, VP, sales and marketing. “It also gives us the true picture of what we make, and what our competition is supplying. With Zoller, we get a clear picture of what is really happening with our business at the tool specification level.”
For more information from Zoller Inc., go to www.zoller-usa.com, or phone 734-332-4851.