Helmel Introduces High Performance 5 Axis CMM

Helmel Engineering, a 46 year old USA manufacturer of Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM), has introduced a new CMM developed to take advantage of the capabilities of Renishaw’s PH20 infinite positioning 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 laboratories, gage 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 its UCCT5 CMM Controller provides true 5-axis functionality with infinite positions throughout the 230° x 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 PH20 infinite positioning capability guarantees optimal feature access, minimizing stylus changes, especially when probe-extension clearance is small. 5-axis simultaneous motion allows larger parts to be measured on the CMM by minimizing the space required around the part for head rotation and the PH20 automatically aligns itself with the part coordinate system, avoiding stylus collisions and the requirement for accurate fixtures.

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 CMM drive system has also been improved. The steel and Kevlar reinforced drive belts are larger and the tachmotors 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. Added protection for harsh environments is also available.

Initially offered with a measuring range of 508 mm (20”) x 762 mm (30”) x 457 mm (18”), the system includes CMM Manager CAD software as standard with Renishaw’s MODUS software available as an option. The system also includes a TCR20 six-port automatic stylus change rack.

Erwin Helmel, President, comments that, “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. The 320 is our answer. It’s like getting two CMMs for the price of one.”

For more information: www.helmel.com