As many people reading this already know, a digital readout (DRO) on a manual machine offers its users a simplified method of measuring and machining while at the same time optimizing the accuracy and profitability of that piece of equipment as well as their business. What the reader may or may know is how ACU-RITE, a U.S. manufacturer providing DROs for nearly 60 years, is the most well-known brand in the industry and is often the best choice and longest lasting choice for use in many applications, both common and uncommon. And for those in the manufacturing industry, understanding the very latest ACU-RITE DRO options and improvements can help them take advantage of even newer opportunities possibly never considered before.
Owned and supported by parent company HEIDENHAIN since 1985, ACU-RITE’s current product line is inclusive including entry-level basic DROs providing measurement for a single-axis machine all the way up to an advanced DRO with programming function capabilities providing measurement for up to six axes! The technology has even been adapted into new options for those ready for the next step up to entry-level CNC products for both milling and turning (noting with its MILLPWRG2 and TURNPWR controls).
Today’s machining applications for DROs seem endless as ACU-RITE customers over the years have commonly included tens of thousands of those handling milling (on standard and universal horizontal/vertical boring mills and jig bores), turning on lathes and those working with surface grinders, but also those managing more uncommon applications. These include ACU-RITE DRO use on machines with an unusually high number of axes or inspection machines such as on optical comparator as examples.
One of the reasons that many continue to turn to ACU-RITE DROs is because of its established reliability and shop-tough rugged hardware, as well the large amount of both standard and optional special features that are available to its users. For example, today’s new patented Dynamic Zoom feature is extremely helpful in any shop and is now standard on all new ACU-RITE DROs.
The Dynamic Zoom feature offers a significant improvement in position value readability. Once activated, the display value for the axis currently being moved is maximally enlarged. This occurs in four steps depending on the number of digits in the respective numerical value. For small numbers (i.e., numbers close to zero), the character height can be increased from 17 mm (standard height) to 25 mm. The operator immediately sees which axis is currently moving and can also easily read the numerical value from a greater distance. When the axis stops moving, the display returns to its standard size after a second has elapsed. See video.
Some other newer standard ACU-RITE DRO features include an Access Highlight feature where the axis in use appears in a darker bold font for clearer review, as well as a Multiple Language Support feature offering over 15 languages on each DRO as standard.
Some of the other ACU-RITE DRO “favorite” functions include a sophisticated Help Function that is built right into every DRO and accessible with a simple soft key bringing the user directly to the User Manual and is proving to be a quick-move favorite. And when paired with an ACU-RITE linear scale, Position-TRAC is another favorite as it recalls last data after a power loss. Also, users retrofitting a DRO to their machine themselves appreciate the Installation Guide. See video.
All of today’s ACU-RITE DROs feature a standard 7” TFT color flat panel display that shows the actual axis position clearly, and the context sensitive graphical user guidance makes the work easy. The three models now available are:
With its sturdy housing and splash-proof membrane keyboard, the DRO100 is built for the workshop. The DRO100 displays position values, status information and additional useful data. The most important functions are available quickly and directly via function keys. If the DRO100 is connected to a lathe, the user can simply switch from radius to diameter display. For lathes with a separate top slide, the sum display feature on the 3-axis version of the DRO100 allows for display of the saddle and top slides either together or separately.
Besides being commonly found on milling, turning, and grinding applications, this DRO is also sometimes found paired with height gages/scales in inspection rooms. This might be as part of an inspection table system for checking part tolerance offering the user a much larger readout option for example.
The DRO203 digital readout is designed as a sturdy upright unit with splash-proof full-travel keypad for use in a workshop and is distinguished by its conversational dialog guidance. Its distance-to-go display facilitates positioning tasks, and special functions are available for producing hole patterns (linear patterns and circular patterns). For turning, the user can easily switch between radius and diameter display when the position display is configured for such.
The ACU-RITE DRO300 is a versatile digital readout supporting all operations with intuitive interactive menus on its large color display. A separate I/O unit provides switching input/outputs for simple tasks in automation. This DRO300 allows for storage of up to eight programs, each with up to 250 working steps. And equipped with the same functions as the DRO203, the DRO300 also offers a connection for the KT 130 edge finder. This allows the user to define presets and datums with speed and precision. The DRO300 also offers programmability making it ideal for small-batch production on conventional machine tools. Four axes can be measured.
It is also important to note that the option to measure six axes with the DRO300 is possible with the simple addition of ACU-RITE’s IB2X box. This makes it highly effective for large machine tools. And the use of an IOB610 box offers the ability to switch inputs/outputs, where the user can look at the spindle speed of a milling machine or to control constant surface speed in a turning application for example.
Overall today’s ACU-RITE DROs make manually operated machines more profitable, improve productivity and raise the quality of the machined workpiece. Together with the linear scales from ACU-RITE, these DROs form an economic and effective package solution for initial setup or retrofitting machine tools and more. And the fact that these guaranteed high quality DROs are made in the USA. in an ISO facility supported by a world-renowned leader in high precision measurement continues to maintain and create jobs in the U.S. This also ensures that ACU-RITE support is available easily by phone, appointment and/or online in local time zones.