Case Studies: Retrofitting a CMM
Many coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) in operation today are obsolete with respect to the needs of today’s quality standards and production requirements, according to Keith Mills, president of Xspect Solutions Inc. (Wixom, MI). “In most cases, the original CMM hardware has the built-in precision to accurately provide the ongoing sophisticated measuring demands,” says Mills. “The problem is that the software and even most of the upgrades provided with the original machines need replacing. No longer do operators want to know if a part is merely good or bad, they need information for process control. They need to take measured data, integrate it with CAD data to compare the theoretical data with the actual data. Sometimes, however, we find that the CMM is not working properly at all, and that requires the replacement of components over and above the software.”
This is what Standard Die Supply (Indianapolis), a designer and builder of die sets, mold bases and mold components, as well as a supplier of die supplies, faced when they determined that the CMM they purchased was not working correctly and needed some serious upgrading and retrofitting.
In 2001 Standard Die Supply purchased a Summit 115 CMM demo unit from Sheffield Measurement’s Dayton showroom facility and, from the onset, had difficulty with it. They undertook a comprehensive search in the CMM retrofit community, and through a number of references, settled on using Xspect Solutions Inc. to help with their CMM. “What we discovered was that most of the service groups we contacted were exactly that, and gave us the impression that they lacked the confidence to provide the level of sophisticated retrofitting that we required,” says Fred Wolfred, president of Standard Die Supply. Xspect Solutions had Mike West, their service manager and ex-Sheffield technician, perform a site survey and recommended replacing the laser scales with the industry standard Renishaw tape scales, adding a new Wenzel 2030 CMM controller and upgrading the software to OpenDMIS.
As part of the retrofit process, the CMM base casting had to be fully machined to accommodate for the casting irregularities. A ‘Y scale’ had to be mounted on a specially designed spar and shimmed to ensure the required accuracy.
Wolfred adds, “It is essential that we use a CMM to verify and certify to customer specifications the accuracies of the die sets and mold surfaces and features of the tools that we supply. The CMM is an essential part of our manufacturing process; we cannot afford downtime either mechanically or functionally, and that certainly focuses on the software.”
The electronic transfer of data from determining part feasibility to the review and approval of die and mold design is one of their standard procedures. The company has found that the OpenDMIS software upgrade provides the level of power they need, and a level of graphics capability that is easy to view and understand. Standard Die Supply also gets regularly scheduled software upgrades that are automatically loaded electronically off-site.
The Sheffield Summit 115 CMM has a measuring volume of 1,200 millimeters by 2,000 millimeters by 750 millimeters. The Wenzel 2030 universal CMM controller combines the latest CNC technology with the integration of all Renishaw heads touch-trigger probes.
Standard Die Supply was able to take advantage of their CMM after Xspect Solutions’ retrofit. Once again, the company is able to use the product to the fullest.
Xspect Solutions Inc.
OpenDMIS software upgrade provides a level of graphics capability that is easy
to view and understand.
- The menus are user-friendly-allowing the operators to see the solid model.
- Standard Die Supply gets regularly scheduled software upgrades that are automatically loaded electronically off-site.