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Batteryfree, Infrared Touch Probe

Heidenhain Corp. has developed a battery-free touch probe for machining applications.

Heidenhain said its TS 444 infrared touch probe can be powered by an alternative energy source in the form of compressed air supplied through the spindle of the machine tool and can be used with all Heidenhain control systems.

Compressed air is introduced into the touch probe through a taper shank to power a turbine wheel. The turbine wheel generates electrical energy through changes in the magnetic field. The electrical energy is stored in high-power capacitors that power the probe for two minutes.

The company said the charging time for the probe varies depending upon the pressure of the compressed air: The higher the pressure, the shorter the charging time. A supply pressure of 5 bars or more is recommended to ensure that charging takes place in a reasonable time. For example, when a pressure of 5.5 bars is used, it takes about three seconds to completely charge the touch probe.

As with conventional Heidenhain touch probes, exit air is used for cleaning the probing point on the TS 444. That means that at the same time that the touch probe is charged with energy, the probing point is cleaned. The compressed air does not need to be specially cleaned.

As with other Heidenhain touch probes, the TS 444 features optical sensor technology for generating the trigger signal. The sensor endures a probing accuracy or ± 5 μm and a repeatability of 2 σ ≤ 1 μm.

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