Tubematics in Unterensingen near Stuttgart recently launched the highly versatile Tubematics T50Drive linear measuring system, which is highly flexible. With this new product our company implemented development results, which were achieved within a project funded by the „Zentrale Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand des Bundes„ (or in short: ZIM).
As a SME, Tubematics received a subsidy for two and a half years for its project. "Thanks to ZIM's support, we were able to drive the development forwards focussed and even got to explore different development directions," says Stephen Gardner, founder and CEO of gardner ag. "The ZIM project has helped us to develop an alternative to the massive design, which is traditionally customary in production measurement technology and which we originally wanted to follow. After a fundamental revision of our plans, we chose a completely different approach by using available semi-finished products for the development of new measurement solutions in a very cost-effective lightweight design. Pipes made of carbon composite material with a 50 mm outer diameter have proven themselves as perfectly suitable basic elements. We were surprised at how accurately and quickly we can measure using these components."
Incubator for new Tubematics developments
In order to examine the potential of measuring technology in lightweight construction, gardner ag designed a coordinate measuring system as a reference to conventional solutions within the framework of the ZIM project. The design of the granite-based construction consists of driven Tubematics components, which are connected via 3D-printed CFK mounting elements. Optical and tactile sensors can be used in the system.
"Our goal is to achieve a repeatability of less than 2 μm with the system for all axes, which has already been achieved with the Z-axis. Because of our design and components, we have drastically reduced production costs compared to conventional coordinate measuring systems, "says Stephen Gardner. "In addition, we move a considerably smaller mass, which is an advantage in terms of acceleration and deceleration as well as cycle times. Another advantage of the Tubematics concept lies in the possibility of simple conversion or adaptation of an existing installation to new requirements."
Gardner ag successfully completed its first ZIM project in mid-August 2017. The new findings and solutions will be reflected in further developments in the Tubematics product family. These include the in-line measurement of workpieces in production environments or conveyor systems and the continuous monitoring of the position of standard industrial robots, which are used for measurement applications.