Tool wear, material inconsistencies, and operator error are just a few of the obstacles to consistently perfect parts. Applied Automation Technologies in Rochester Hills has been developing software for machine tools to remove as many of those hurdles as possible.
A mechanical engineer with a knack for automation technology, Ray Karadayi was working on dedicated software solutions at General Motors Co. when, in 1987, he decided to start a business to create computer-aided design software.
Shortly thereafter, an aerospace company called and asked about using the CAD software for manufacturing automation.
“That made me very excited because my heart is into automation,” Karadayi recalls. “Then we started to invest in software and tools that would work in the manufacturing environment, always with metrology measurement as the heart of what we’re doing.”
Metrology is the scientific study of measurement and is the key to AAT’s flagship, computer-aided part-programming system (CAPPSNC) product, which is an advanced measurement software system that enables something that decades ago would have been impossible.
In the past, to measure a part, it had to be
removed from the machining center, which interrupts the manufacturing process and relies heavily on human intervention.
AAT’s software uses the measurements that are taken by noncontact lasers, which are built into machining centers to guide the cutting tool.
“Throughout the machining process the tool is wearing and bending, and sometimes the part moves in the machining center,” Karadayi says. “There are a lot of factors involved. In the old days, if a part came out of the machine out of tolerance, it would have to go back into the machine for more cutting or become waste.
“What we’re able to do with our software is make it possible to use the machining center itself as the measuring device,” Karadayi says. “The sensors that come with the machine tool do simple measurements. We’re making them much more functional with our software, which takes control of the machining center.”
Using those measurements, the AAT software adjusts the cutting process automatically to maintain tolerances and produce accurate parts longer.
While any company interested in making high-precision parts is a candidate to use the AAT software, Karadayi says he and his 25 employees have had the most success with enterprises in the aerospace, defense, and medical industries, and in automotive mold-making applications.
“Once you’re able to produce metrology data, then you’re able to do a lot of wonderful things with it,” he says. “Our software is doing the decision-making, and when a part is done you’ll know that it’s in perfect tolerance.”