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Metronor and Tetrafix introduce revolutionary prototype tooling method

To quickly and cost-efficiently bring new products to the market, the automotive and other industries require rapid ways of building stable and accurate prototype tooling. Metronor and Tetrafix now introduce a novel approach that sets new standards in terms of tool alignment speed and accuracy combined with excellent mechanical stability while using only a few standard components to create a wide variety of geometries.

While flexible and reusable, the currently most common "Lego" principle is costly, requires a large inventory of components, is time consuming to configure accurately and sensitive to temperature expansion issues. When used as a checking gage, accuracy and stability is essential. It is equally important that the tools are light weight and easy to reconfigure as quality verification needs dictate.

Considerable savings could be achieved if such tools and fixtures met the following criteria:

• Precise alignment of all critical tool features in minutes, not hours or days

• Cost-efficient and completely reusable with no need to cut or machine components

• High strength and excellent stability to enable care-free handling and lifting

• Light weight for easy, manual handling

• Insensitive to temperature variations to ensure accuracy on the shop floor

• Ability to create a wide range of geometries with a limited number of standard components

Tetrafix and Metronor are proud to introduce a novel approach that meets all these requirements.

The required tool geometry can be built in minutes using a patented concept with structures made up of modular carbon fiber tubes and adjustable joints. The Tetrafix structure permits free movement of the detail adapter in space, making the positioning process quick and efficient, and the structure is simply locked in place using a hex key once the correct position is achieved. Thereafter, the LED cluster is removed and the tooling detail is clamped in its place. Once locked, the entire structure is extremely stable and fully able to withstand the shop floor.

To align tooling details like clamping devices, net blocks and indexing pins to within 0.1 mm accuracy, a special tetrahedron cluster with a number of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are clamped onto the tool detail adapter. These LEDs are monitored by a Metronor DUO portable coordinate measurement system, providing continuous feedback on position until the detail is in the required position. The DUO system can measure the position of several LED targets simultaneously and is therefore the only affordable system able to measure the position and orientation of the tetrahedron, with sufficient speed and accuracy in the volumes required.

Press release issued by Metronor AS on April 9, 2008


 Contact details from our directory:
Metronor AS Electro-Optical Systems & Equipment, Weapons Sights, Portable Coordinate Measuring Machines, Dimensional Inspection Equipment


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