Oct 28, 2009

Delcam adds PartAligner and Tubing modules to PowerINSPECT

Delcam has added two new options for its PowerINSPECT inspection software. PowerINSPECT PartAligner can be used with portable inspection equipment to simplify set-up operations for machine tools. It is similar to the automated position compensation provided by NC-PartLocator for machine tools with probing systems, but uses a separate measuring device. PowerINSPECT Tubing makes it easier to inspect pipework and tubing. Both of the new options will increase the range of applications for PowerINSPECT and so reinforce its position as the world’s leading hardware-independent inspection software.


PartAligner uses the alignment functionality from PowerINSPECT to find exactly where a part is located on a machine tool from a series of measurements. It will normally be used with a portable inspection device positioned on or beside the machine. Typically, this will be an inspection arm for medium-sized components or an optical device for very large tooling. The measured position is then compared with the datum used in the CAM system to program the component. The results can be used to update a project in Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system by adjusting the datum position and orientation. Alternatively the data can be applied directly to change the offsets in the machine-tool control so that they reflect the measured position of the component rather than the nominal value in the programming software.

Using PartAligner with an independent inspection device overcomes any concerns that might arise from using a machine tool to check its own performance. It is also very flexible as the same inspection equipment can be used on a number of machine tools, in addition to its normal inspection duties. However, an extra step is needed when setting up the system. Each time the device is moved, it must be referenced against an item having known machine-tool coordinates before being used to measure the part position.

The main benefit is in reducing the time and variability associated with fine manual adjustment of the part set-up. PartAligner allows independent inspection to be carried out and positional problems to be corrected much more quickly and easily, especially with larger and heavier parts.

PowerINSPECT Tubing

The new PowerINSPECT Tubing module makes it easier to inspect tubing and pipes, especially when these are part of a larger assembly. Specialist software is available for tubing inspection but this generally doesn’t allow the measurement of other types of geometry, so two different and potentially incompatible systems may be required. PowerINSPECT Tubing makes it easier to inspect this specialised pipe geometry together with other components using a single software program. The Tubing module can be used on the full range of inspection equipment supported by the main PowerINSPECT programme, including manual and CNC CMMs, and inspection arms and other portable devices.

To operate the tubing module, the user simply enters the number of straight sections and their points of intersection. The other features and nominal values are automatically calculated. The module creates the overall design within PowerINSPECT and sets the nominal values to be measured. The inspection can then be undertaken as usual.

The main applications for the module are expected to be for portable inspection solutions used in the oil and gas industry, where pipework is often combined with other components.