retrofit program includes new Renishaw tape scales, Wenzel 2030 CMM controller
and Xspect Solutions OpenDMIS software. Source: Xspect Solutions Inc.
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
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
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
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