10 PC-DMIS Features That You Need to Start Using Todayby April Lemois on September 15, 2017 From Technology
PC-DMIS is known as one of the most widely used metrology software solutions across the globe. The reason is the software’s flexibility and ease of use. In fact, a survey taken by active PC-DMIS users, showed that the simplicity of the user interface has reduced the amount of time dedicated to the creation of measurement routines. Have you ever wondered what features in PC-DMIS the experts at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence use while developing their measurement routines? In this post, find out what our Application Engineers consider the best features in PC-DMIS.
1. QuickFeature/Auto Feature Creation
The QuickFeature functionality enables the user to create Auto Features from a single click on a CAD model without using any menu options or dialog boxes. If models contain point features, and PC-DMIS is in curve mode, the user can use QuickFeature to box select and create multiple point features at a time. When using QuickFeature, dialog boxes with feature lists (such as for constructions or dimensions) can remain open. When adding new features into the measurement routine, PC-DMIS automatically adds them into the feature list and selects them for the current operation. QuickFeature gesture works with vector, edge, angle, and corner point features, plane, circle, ellipse, cylinder, cone and sphere shapes, also line, round and square slots, notch, and polygon features.
2. Quick Alignment Utility
With a simple click of the QuickAlign button, users can automatically create a manual and Direct Computer Control (DCC) alignment based on the features currently selected in a measurement routine. PC-DMIS uses an algorithm based on geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) datum precedence principles found in ASME Y14.5.1M to create the most common alignment types. Alignments are automatically created directly in the Edit window in both summary and command modes.
3. Xact Dimensioning
Xact Dimensioning allows the user to insert valuable dimensioning information in the form of Feature Control Frames (FCFs) into the inspection routine. FCFs are special, rectangular boxes that house standard GD&T symbols and information. PC-DMIS also provides users with a variety of reporting tables and templates to help speed measurement report generation. FCF Reporting tables are divided according to different sections of the callout, allowing for a cleaner looking report. The Xact dimensioning feature also allows the user to match the Feature Control Frame preview directly to their drawing to confirm they’ve created it correctly.
4. Path Optimizer
Path Optimizer is a feature that rearranges the user’s features in the most efficient way, speeding up their programs. When choosing features for the software to measure, PC-DMIS adds those feature commands into the Edit window. It adds them in the order the user selected them. However, this may not be the most efficient path to take. With the Optimize Path menu option, the user can have PC-DMIS create the most efficient path.
Tip: By combining Path Optimizer with Auto Insert Moves, you can ensure that no collisions will take place after reordering.
5. Model-Based Engineering
Model-Based Engineering (MBE), otherwise known as Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI) or Model-Based Definition (MBD) is simply digital tolerance annotations embedded in a CAD model. The idea is to remove both the paper and the interpretation from the manufacturing and quality processes. The types of information included are geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), component level materials, assembly level bills of materials (BOMs), engineering configurations and design intent. Learn more about how PC-DMIS utilizes MBE in this blog post.
The Change Management capabilities of PC-DMIS allow the user to ensure that their inspection routine, created from a previously imported Inspection Plan or CAD model, is updated to the latest revision. Double-clicking a feature name from any list will expand the display of parameters for that feature. This allows the user to compare values before updating the part program.
Introduced in PC-DMIS 2014, this tool allows users to set up portions of the measurement routine for measurement, based on operator selection. The Mini Routines tool also enables you to measure a selected dimension or group of dimensions from a long part program. With Mini Routines, you can automatically remeasure out of tolerance features when completing part-setup operations.
8. Auto Feature, Measurement Strategies and Measurement Strategy Editor
PC-DMIS provides a library of functions and routines to facilitate the automatic measurement of parts. These functions and routines allow PC-DMIS to easily program a variety of part features and add them into the measurement routine as ‘Auto Features’. In many cases, this automatic feature recognition is as simple as single-clicking with your mouse on the appropriate feature in the Graphic Display window. While Auto Features have their history in measuring sheet metal or other thin-walled materials using PC-DMIS’s Direct Computer Control (DCC), today you can use them in both DCC and Manual mode to measure parts constructed from a variety of different materials.
The Measurement Strategy Editor makes it easy to modify the default settings (number of hits, depth, void detection, strategy types, and so on) for all Auto Feature types. PC-DMIS writes these changes to the registry whenever you modify and then save settings in the Measurement Strategy Editor. PC-DMIS queries the registry and uses those settings when you create an Auto Feature.
9. Adaptive Scanning
Not every user with access to scanning hardware is an expert and understands how to configure various controlling parameters that affect accuracy and throughput such as scan speed, point density, and offset force. With Adaptive Scanning, users don’t need to be an expert, since it removes the guesswork out of configuring such scanning parameters. Adaptive Scanning uses a system comprised of expert knowledge to calculate those parameters based on known inputs, such as tolerance, feature type and size, stylus length and surface finish. The user only needs to supply the information known to them. The Adaptive Scanning algorithms perform the work of choosing the other settings. Adaptive Scanning is also controller aware. This means that if a certain capability exists on a controller that will improve the scanning accuracy and throughput, the software automatically uses those capabilities as needed.
10. Section Cut
Section Cut, a newer technology from Clip planes, allows you to specify a cut plane that intersects with a CAD model. To see this dialog box select Insert > Scan > Section Cut. Along the intersection line, you can define a start and end point between which points are created. From these points, you can choose to create vector point features or a Linear Open scan. This process does not visually cut the CAD model in any way like the clipping plane functionality does; instead, it acts as a tool to help you create Auto Vector Points or a Linear Open scan along the intersection line of the cut plane and the CAD model.
Bonus Tip: The Section Cut Tool also allows users to take cross-sectional photos to apply onto their reports.
To learn more about these features or to schedule a demo of PC-DMIS, please reach out to your local Hexagon representative.
April Lemois is a Product Marketing Manager for Bridge and Shop-Floor CMMs at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Lemois has written numerous articles and blog entries for both technical and nontechnical industries. Before joining Hexagon, she served as a marketing coordinator for a global analytical instrumentation manufacturer with experience in marketing, social media management, public relations, and digital marketing. Lemois holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing Communications from Johnson & Wales University.