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Helmel Engineering

Metrology

Helmel Introduces High-Performance CMM Specifically for 5-Axis PH20 Probe

High-speed Microstar platform takes advantage of infinite positioning and autonomous measuring of the Renishaw system

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 12:00

(Helmel Engineering: Niagara Falls, NY) -- Helmel Engineering, a 46-year-old American manufacturer of coordinate measuring machines (CMM), has introduced a new CMM developed to take advantage of the capabilities of Renishaw’s PH20 Probe concept. The Microstar Model 320-185 is an evolution of the company’s venerable Microstar line of durable mechanical bearing CMMs that are proven workhorses in labs, gauge rooms, and on the production floor.

Virtually all moving-bridge CMMs today were developed for slower probe systems that index between limited numbers of locked A-B position angles then measure with 3-axis moves. In contrast, the Renishaw PH20 Probe system with UCCT5 Controller provides true 5-axis functionality with infinite positions throughout the 230° × 360° head range in combination with the X-, Y-, and Z-axis motion of the CMM. The PH20 also includes “head-tap” mode where the probe rapidly acquires data autonomously while the CMM remains stationary.

The new design includes several advances. For improved accuracy, the Z-axis has a larger section for stiffness and stronger bearing separation, and the X-axis carriage employs an innovative dual bearing flexure stabilizer concept combined with new self-aligning mounts for linear bearings. Scales are upgraded to Vionic long-life stainless steel tapes mounted on steel surfaces with 50-nanometer resolution reading heads. Error correction is implemented at the controller, and temperature compensation is offered. These improvements make the 320-185 among the most accurate mechanical bearing CMMs available.

The drive system has been improved as well. The steel and Kevlar reinforced drive belts are larger, and the tach motors are stronger on all three axes allowing much more aggressive motion parameters. The result is a CMM system that can outperform most any other with throughput double to triple measuring speeds of traditional CMMs with indexing probes. Due to the rapid capabilities of this system, the company expects plenty of interest for in-production applications. Added protection for harsh environments is also available.

Initially offered with a measuring range of 20 in. × 30 in. × 18 in., the system includes CMM Manager CAD software as standard. Renishaw’s MODUS software is an option. The system also includes a TCR20 six-port automatic stylus changer.

“To watch how the PH20 probe can fly, it seemed foolish not to have a CMM that rises to that same level of performance to go with it,” says Erwin Helmel, president of Helmel Engineering. “The 320 is our answer. It’s like getting two CMMs for the price of one.”

For more information on the CMM PH20 Probe Kit click here.

Helmel Engineering Products Inc. is a manufacturer of coordinate measuring machines and systems built in the USA.

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