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Why Optical Probing is the Best Way to Probe Your CNC Machine

The global market for CNC machines was worth almost $76 billion in 2021. Analysts expect the sector to continue its ...

SYIL Editor

SYIL Editor

The global market for CNC machines was worth almost $76 billion in 2021. Analysts expect the sector to continue its rapid growth.

Market growth means more competition. Your customers demand tighter tolerances and faster turnaround times. You can give your business an edge with a CNC probing system.

Probing systems for CNC machine tools can improve how you align and measure workpieces. An optical probe can also help you track tool wear.

You can improve quality and productivity with an optical probing system. You can reduce scrap and lower your costs.

Learn more about how optical probing works and how a CNC probing system can benefit your business.

 

What Is an Optical CNC Probing System?

An optical CNC probing system is a type of touch probe system. The main types of probing systems for CNC machines are:

  • Radio
  • Optical
  • Cable
  • Manual

Touch probes collect data about the position of components or stock materials. This information helps you update machine settings, offsets, and position data in the CNC control software or CAM model.

Optical Probing

Optical probing systems use infrared technology. Infrared light transmits information between the probe and the controller or interface.

Optical systems need a clear "line-of-sight" between the probe and the receiver. They're best suited for small- to medium-sized machines without complex fixturing.

 

How Does an Optical Probing System Work?

Machine-mounted touch probes are also called touch-trigger probes or triggering touch probes. They work by touching a workpiece or tool to collect data.

The tool changer can insert the optical probe automatically. You can also insert the probe manually.

Once the probe is in place, the machine moves over the probing area. It lowers itself in the Z-axis until the probe tip triggers the internal switch in the probe sensor.

The probe sends the signal to the control using optical infrared technology. The machine control records the X, Y, and Z-axis locations.

The probe then moves to the next position and repeats this process. The minimum number of points to measure different types of features depends on the feature's degree of freedom.

For example, a circle needs at least three points. A plane needs three points, and a pocket needs four points.

 

Applications for Optical Probes

Touch probes are well-suited for several applications in the manufacturing process. They can improve processes for workpiece alignment, workpiece measurement, and tool measurement.

Workpiece Alignment

Aligning the workpiece parallel to the axes is very important for accurate machining. Optical probes speed up this process and make it more accurate. The probe determines any alignment problems so the CNC machine can correct them.

Workpiece Measurement

A CNC probing system support program-controlled measurement. These position values can show the dimensional accuracy of the workpiece. They can also indicate tool wear and other machine trends.

Tool Measurement

Optical probing can measure tools on the machine. This data is important for tracking tool wear. It helps you maintain better machining accuracy.

 

What Are the Benefits of an Optical Probing System?

An optical probing system has many benefits for your operation. You can improve quality and productivity while reducing costs, rework, and scrap.

Improve Quality

On-machine optical probing lets you check features that need tight tolerances during the manufacturing process. The operator can address issues immediately or have the machine automatically bring the parts into tolerance.

You get better control over parts with variability, like castings or forgings. You can probe and offset the part to hold tolerances.

Increase Productivity

Probing systems for CNC machine tools help you produce more with the machines you have. Manual part setting and inspection take time. They require machine downtime.

Automating your manual setting and measurement processes reduces production time. A CNC probing system lets you perform quality control checks on the machine. You don't have to remove the part and take it to the lab for measurements.

You can machine more parts in less time.

Reduce Scrap and Prevent Tool Damage

Small errors in the tool offset can throw off a machining pass. You may have to scrap the workpiece. Even minor errors can potentially damage the CNC machine or tooling.

On-machine optical probing ensures that the workpiece and the tooling are in exactly the right position. In-process touch probes will detect problems in the tool settings or tool wear patterns. Catching issues early helps you avoid expensive repairs and wasted material.

Reduce Costs

CNC probing helps you reduce costs in several ways. You save on materials by reducing scrap. You reduce the need for expensive emergency machine repairs by identifying issues before they get worse.

A CNC probing system means you need fewer skilled operators for each machine. You can better utilize your workforce to avoid overtime.

 

The Best Optical Probing System for Your CNC Machine

Many CNC probing options are available. Choosing the right system depends on the type of probing you want to do and the machine tool you have. You can find a CNC probing system for vertical, horizontal, and gantry machines.

Optical probing systems are ideal for small and medium-sized machines. They're very accurate and have high repeatability.

The signal transmission for optical probes is wireless. Wireless is for machines with an automatic tool changer.

Optical probes have very good accuracy and repeatability. Not all probes meet the same standards, though. For example, the length and material of the stylus can affect the probe's accuracy.

Be sure to verify the specifications of the CNC probing system you're considering.

 

Pioneer OPS-30 Optical CNC Probe System

The Pioneer OPS-30 CNC probe system should be a top choice for your small or mid-sized CNC machine. Pioneer has specialized in CNC machine tool probes since 1999. The company is a leader and innovator in the CNC touch probes market.

The OPS-30 probe system is a compact optical 3D touch-trigger probe. The infrared optical signal has a sending and receiving distance of up to 5 meters. The system has a repeatability of 2 µm or less.

 

Choose SYIL, an Official Partner of Pioneer

An optical CNC probing system has many benefits for your manufacturing process. You improve quality and productivity while reducing costs. The Pioneer OPS-30 CNC probe system is one of the leading optical probing systems on the market today.

SYIL is an official partner of Pioneer. You can add the Pioneer OPS-30 to our machines. We'll help you get the most out of your CNC machine.

SYIL is ISO 9001 certified. You can count on our quality and our personalized customer support.

Browse our selection of CNC mills and get a quote today.

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