Infrared Touch Probe for CNCs

May 3, 2010
Heidenhain wireless device can perform tool measurement inspection from anywhere on the worktable

The new Heidenhain probe is a simple alternative to laser measurement systems.

With its newly designed TT 449 tool touch probe, Heidenhain has introduced an infrared tool probe for use with numerically controlled machine tools. The TT 449 is suitable for applications where unlimited movements are necessary, such as with tilting or rotating work or rotary tables or with 5-axis machining centers. It will be on display for the first time in North America at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in September at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Heidenhain Corp. is the North American subsidiary of Dr. Johannes Heidenhain GmbH, a manufacturer of precision measurement and control equipment. Its products include linear scales, rotary and angular encoders, digital readouts, digital length gages, CNC controls and machine inspection equipment.

Without the need for a cable, this versatile new infrared touch probe offers increased mobility. For tool measurement and inspection right on the machine, it is a simpler alternative than using the complex laser measurement systems common on 5-axis machines.

One notable benefit of this wireless infrared touch probe is that the unit can be placed anywhere on a worktable. It is also possible for an operator to move and re-mount without the need to handle cabling. Once mounted and put into operation, the disk-shaped contact of the TT is deflected and the signals are transmitted to the control over an infrared light beam. Then, the generated trigger signal is transmitted via an SE 642 transmitter/receiver unit to the control, where it is further processed. The SE 642 can also be used for a spindle probe. The control then ultimately saves the measured tool length and radius in the tool memory.

The Heidenhain TT 449 tool touch probe has protection of IP 67 and boasts continuous duty at typically 200 hours with a lithium battery (included). A battery warning is sent if its capacity falls below 10%, and a rated break point protects the touch probe from damage due to operator error.

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