SMAC- Optimized Contact Measurement

Whether you need the full control capability of our linear actuator products to dial in your measurement requirements; speed, Soft-Land, force control or need to take advantage of our precision USA made encoders used in all our Linear actuators or measuring probes for micron positioning and the longest range of measurement (maintaining both accuracy and repeatability), or even a customized fit in your existing real estate with our “MCA inside” design program, SMAC has a best cost solution that measures up to exceed your exact requirements.

SMAC measurement system can be programmed with variable force/displacement that duplicates human hands and fingers with data feedback. Quick measurement of force or diameters/depths and locations to submicron accuracy for Quality Assurance.

SMAC inline quality control solutions are used for automotive parts and industrial components; thread check and quality measurements for casting parts, airbag components, automotive switches, touch screen, latch assemblies, and many more.

  • 100% inspection
  • Increased quality
  • SPC data acquisition
  • Process control feedback
  • Increased throughput

SMAC Measurement Tool

MLA System Data Sheet

The SMAC Measurement Tool addresses the limitations of using a traditional Height Gauge. Shop floor part measurement is often made using traditional height gauges. These typically have numerous drawbacks such as manually zeroing or adjusting a dial indicator by moving it up or down with one hand while struggling to hold the part with the other hand. This dial indicator has a spring-loaded measuring tip that must be tapped slightly in order to get a good reading and the reading is only to 2 decimal points (metric), requiring measuring finesse by the inspector/machinist. Further, using a traditional Height Gauge, parts must all be measured top down. Sometimes it may be easier to measure part features horizontally. This means a certain level of skill is required in order to correctly use a height gauge. More complex and costly digital height gauges have entered the market improving measurability with additional features making measurement easier but only increasing the need for more technical competency to operate. In these cases equipment alone can exceed $5,000-$10,000 in initial cost.

By contrast, the SMAC Measurement Tool has a direct drive linear motor and hence has no backlash to effect measurement accuracy and repeatability. SMAC’s exclusive “Soft-Land” technology means that an actuator can move slowly - gently bump (gram level forces) into the surface to be measured - stop and even apply a desired push or settling force to be used during measurement. In terms of measuring uncertainty, contact measurement using tactile sensors is considered more accurate than non-contact types. There is no manual operation involved to dial this in, thus removing all human error. The SMAC Measurement Tool uses a built-in encoder with 1 micron resolution. This translates to 3 decimal point measurement resolution (mm) or better. Further, the device can measure both in vertical or horizontal orientations from respective datums. Measurement data can be automatically uploaded to data collection devices via standard serial communication. Other communication protocols; CANOpen, EthernetIP and EtherCat will be available in the near future (consult factory). Machine operators can be quickly taught to make measurements in the Imperial or Metric system using a simple human machine interface (HMI) - no high degree of technical expertise is required.

Measurement of Critical Parts with SMAC

Muti Axis Measurement with SMAC

Form, Follow, or Press to a Profile

Gage Actuators

SMAC electric gage actuators provide you gaging solutions with consistant, fast and precise control of the process. Gage actuators are easy to install and eliminate problems associated with the conventional pneumatic solutions. They reduce maintenance time and cost. These actuators are designed based on SMAC proprietary moving coil technology and include SMAC’s own encoders.

What is a Soft-Land™?

The Soft-Land™ is a patented unique routine which allows the actuator rod or gripper jaw to land on the surface of a component with a low programmed force. It gives extremely accurate sensing of product location or dimensions. This is particularly useful when measuring delicate or high value components.

The routine consists of a controlled low force approach in velocity mode, while the position error is constantly monitored. Once contact is made the position error builds up until a pre-programmed figure is reached - resulting in the rod maintaining position on the surface of the component.

Replacing LVDTs

Comparison Chart: LVDT vs SMAC Gage Actuators



SMAC Gage Actuator

Output Force LVDTs require a spring or air. If a spring, it is a set force determined by the spring rate. If air pressure, the LVDT requires additional pneumatic components and manual adjustment of air pressure to change force. Force is programmable.
Extension to Part The LVDT or the part must be moved to each other. Contains motor - can program position, velocity, soft-land, and force, preventing witness marks being left on part surface.
Cost LVDT alone is under $1000 but other required components and amplifiers drive costs must higher. SMAC Gage Actuator is priced comparable to an LVDT alone.
Accuracy Accuracy can improve as window of distance decreases. For SMAC high resolution is constant through the entire stroke.
Direct Drive Touch on Surface Being Measured LVDTs require mechanical assembly, no direct drive touch. No need for mechanical assembly; uses direct drive touch on surface being measured, making the job 100% accurate.
Compressed Air LVDT pneumatic systems make linear movement possible only through mechanical assembly. SMAC Gage Actuators are electric and do not require compressed air.
Mechanical Adjustments LVDTs mechanical assemblies require occasional mechanical re-adjustment, especially if there are varying part change overs. No need for mechanical adjustments and can easily handle change overs via previously programmed parameters.
Recalibration LVDTs construction requires constant recalibration. No need for actuator recalibration. If calibration is desired it is a simple task.
Pneumatic Drop Installations LVDTs require mechanical and pneumatic assembly. No need for pneumatic drops from building. This is an all-electric solution.
Periodic Maintenance LVDTs need periodic maintenance, replacement. No need for periodic maintenance.
Durability LVDTs cannot handle sideloading or shock / impact loading. The internal guiding is weak. This causes them to be damaged easily. Motion is controlled by the actuator, there are cross roller guides for high rigidity and a nose bushing for additional sideload supporting.

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