The new mirror command in Delcam’s PowerInspect 2012 saves programming time for symmetrical components
CAM developer Delcam’s “hardware independent inspection software” PowerInspect is available in a new 2012 release that includes several extra options to make inspection easier and add basic reverse-engineering functionality to the point-cloud module. PowerInspect is a "hardware-independent inspection software," stated Philip Hewitt PowerInspect product manager for Delcam, who added that the new 64-bit version provides "exceptional calculation speeds … especially when large CAD files need to be manipulated, or very complex or parts with multi-component need to be inspected” .

PowerInspect is a quality-control link from finished products to the CAD models that are their source, supplying accurate geometric definitions for complex curved surfaces and defining accurate nominal values for simple prismatic shapes. “CAD files contain ever-richer additional information,” according to the developer, “including detailed structure information for assemblies and GD&T.” PowerINSPECT can read all mainstream CAD formats, and using the CAD file simplifies graphical reporting and allows more effective collision detection for automated measurement.

In addition to working on all types of inspection device, the new software release gives operators a comprehensive range of measurement routines for making simple measurements, for inspecting geometric features, and for checking complex surfaces. The resulting reports present detailed information in easy-to-read formats that can be understood by all engineers, not just inspection specialists.

A new option in the PowerInspect 2012 release is “mirror command” available for symmetrical components, offering significant time savings to the operators, and is easy to use. It makes it possible for the inspection sequence to be mirrored from one half of a component to the other half, or from the left-hand version of the design to the right-hand copy. The new feature also reduces the possibility of programming errors and improves the consistency of the results between the two halves or parts.

The range of dimensions that can be displayed on the model has been increased to include more types of distance, angles and diameters, and radii. The options to display the various dimensions from the increased range have been made more versatile, to ensure the reports remain easy to read with only the required dimensions shown.

Also added to PowerInspect 2012 is a point-cloud module for laser scanners and other point-cloud devices. STL export provides basic reverse-engineering functionality for scanned data and, if needed, files can be used within Delcam’s PowerShape Pro design software, for more advanced reverse-engineering operations. To identify quickly any discontinuities in the data, including gaps or other problem areas, the Point-Cloud Display function is enhanced with an option to show any back-facing points in a second color. This will highlight any irregularities that may need re-scanning to capture the complete model.

Of more general benefit is the ability to measure edge points directly; it is no longer necessary for users to measure the surface first, so the process is both easier and faster. However, it is recommended that both the edge and the surface should be checked if there is any likelihood of the part being distorted, for example, when checking sheet-metal components.

The inspection of castings, forgings, and similar near-net shapes, has been improved with the addition of a new best-fit option. This centers the component within the measurement data collected with PowerInspect so that the largest possible minimum stock is located around the part. It ensures that positive material exists in all areas of any semi-finished part before it is sent for further machining. The option can be used in combination with the PartAligner software to minimize set-up times.