CMM gets to work on low-volume components

Xtreme CMM
Aberlink’s Xtreme co-ordinate measuring machine in action

Faced with a growing order book and rising pressure on its quality-control facilities, West Yorkshire-based Holtex Engineering solutions decided to automate as many of its inspection tasks as possible.

The precision engineering firm, which was launched in 2014, and specialises in high-quality prototype and low-volume production components, turned to UK CMM manufacturer Aberlink for a solution.

Following an in-house demonstration of Aberlink’s Xtreme co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) the firm decided to take the plunge and invest in one of the machines.

Designed with a novel non-Cartesian structure this stand-alone measuring system uses advanced linear motors and precise mechanical bearings. According to Aberlink, this configuration ensures that the CMM maintains its accuracy at very fast measurement rates and doesn’t suffer from the accumulative inaccuracies that occur in conventional 3-axis Cartesian arrangements.

The system uses Aberlink’s renowned 3D software, a key feature of which is that a simultaneous picture of the measured component is created on the computer screen. Dimensions between the measured features, mirroring those that appear on the component drawing, can be simply picked off as required. In essence this ‘smart’ software represents an intelligent measuring system that is able to automatically recognise and define the various features being measured.

Holtex director Ben Robinson said that the system has increased inspection precision capability and speeded up both production and inspection routines.

“The  Xtreme CMM has proven very easy to use, extremely accurate and, due to its CNC nature, extremely fast. As our machine operators have responsibility for the quality of their own output, they have quickly mastered the use of the Xtreme and make regular use of the new CMM.”

He added: “Typically, our personnel will use the Xtreme to measure first-offs before commencing on production runs, and to make occasional in-process checks.”

Aberlink will be demonstrating the Xtreme CNC Coordinate Measuring Machine
on stand C63 at the forthcoming Advanced Manufacturing Show (NEC, Birmingham, 6-8 June)