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Renishaw has announced the launch of a successor to its QC10 ballbar system – a tool used for the assessment of machine tool positioning and servo control performance.

The QC20-W ballbar features a Renishaw-developed linear sensor and Bluetooth wireless technology.

Its design is said to offer ease of use and enhanced durability, as well as allowing the QC20-W to be used for testing even in ‘closed door’ manufacturing, where access for wiring can raise safety and procedural issues.

The design also allows testing in three orthogonal planes through a single reference point.

A single hardware setup means quicker testing and the ability to produce a representative volumetric measurement of positioning accuracy.

The QC20-W ballbar retains the principle of a simple CNC circular program and includes software.

The system can quickly diagnose and quantify machine positioning errors including servo mismatch, stick-slip errors, backlash, repeatability, scale mismatch and machine geometry as well as giving an overall circularity error value.

The Ballbar 20 system software has been enhanced to offer greater flexibility for testing and reporting.

The QC20-W kit is supplied in a redesigned, robust system case, which includes spaces for popular accessories.

Renishaw has ensured backward compatibility of the QC10 system.

This minimises costs and disruption when upgrading or working alongside existing QC10 systems.

Ballbar lengths are identical to QC10, so all existing test routines can be carried over, including test templates, CNC programs, as well as work and test procedures.

Only minimal training is required when upgrading, focusing on familiarisation with the new features.

The Ballbar 20 software is also compatible with QC10 systems as the test file format is unchanged.

As a result, both old and new machine records can be reviewed using the same software.

An upgrade kit is available to QC10 ballbar users.

The upgrade kit is supplied as standard with an insert for fitting into the current QC10 case, with the new system case and additional hardware required for carrying out the three-plane testing available as options.

Determining a machine tool’s capabilities before machining and subsequent post-process part inspection can reduce the possibility of scrap and machine downtime; resulting in lower manufacturing costs.

Several of Renishaw QC10 ballbars are used by machine tool manufacturers, end users, service and maintenance companies and resellers for pre-production tests, predictive maintenance programs, new machine prove-out, machine grading and comparison, plus machine checking after ‘crashes’.

Many users specify a ballbar test before beginning any new batch of components.

Early error detection with the ballbar permits optimum efficiency in scheduling maintenance and repairs.

Besides isolating errors, the ballbar also allows process optimisation.

Renishaw said that the QC10 ballbar has evolved into more than just a tool for QA system ‘compliance’.

There has been a rapid development in the use of widely recognised quality system standards, for example, ISO 9000 and the implementation of Six Sigma programmes.

These give rise to a need to define and measure process capability factors.

A ballbar offers a practical solution to these needs.

Renishaw’s ballbar software automatically produces a diagnosis from the captured data, enabling non experts to make expert decisions.

This is useful when the availability of sufficient skilled staff is an increasing problem.


A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

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Renishaw’s Raman spectroscopy products exploit the Raman effect to identify and characterise the chemistry and structure of materials. A diverse range of analytical applications include pharmaceutical, forensic science, nanotechnology, biomedical and semiconductors.

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