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Wenzel Brings Sustainability To CMMs With Its EcoLine Series

As a family-owned company, WENZEL has been thinking long-term and across generations since its founding 55 years ago. “We want to make things better through our actions and then pass them on to our descendants.” This applies to the company just as much as it does to the environment.

But how can this spirit be transferred to innovative products? Of course, WENZEL are working to ensure that its consumption of raw materials becomes more sustainable, that the energy required for production increasingly comes from renewable energy sources, and that all involved keep reminding themselves in everyday life “we must use all the resources that nature provides us efficiently.”

But what does this mean for WENZEL products? The fundamental basis for WENZEL CMM machines is granite, an ancient natural product and almost indestructible. On this foundation WENZEL pack modern technology such as drives, scales, measuring heads and probes, lots of electronics and then the whole machine is neatly packaged with aesthetic sheet metal and plastic cladding. With these machines, customers can then perform high-precision measuring tasks for 20-25 years, but at some point – despite retrofits etc., – the life cycle of all machines is also reached. And then?

The New EcoLine Regenerative CMM Series

This is where the new WENZEL ECO-Line product line comes in. The idea behind it is as simple as it is convincing. WENZEL take machines back from customers at the end of the product life cycle and continue to use everything that makes ecological and economic sense. “We remanufacture the granite parts (base plate, crosshead and quill) as well as the cladding parts and assemble these ‘indestructible’ parts with the latest measuring technology, resulting in a completely new machine, with the same CMM performance and accuracy compared to a new machine and with a significantly reduced consumption of resources and CO2” states WENZEL Group CEO Heike Wenzel.

“With our new EcoLine CMM series, we are making a significant contribution to protecting our environment. Our new sustainable concept relies on the indestructible basic structure of our coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) made of the natural hard stone granite. Thanks to the stable structure, the old machines have the right basis to still play in the first league in terms of quality. By reusing the basic components, we save up to 50% of the CO2 consumption. We have thus created a new regenerative business model and are making the most of natural resources.” confirms Heike.

With an EcoLine coordinate measuring machine from WENZEL, users invest in a fully-fledged new machine at the best price/performance ratio, including new sensor technology, new control system, new electronics, and new software – including new machine warranty and a CE mark. Due to a shorter production process WENZEL are able to deliver the EcoLine measuring instruments up to 50% faster while protecting the environment and the buyer his investment budget – by up to 30%.

Precision and Durability Through Granite

The use of the natural hard stone granite plays an essential role in the EcoLine concept which has already proven itself in 3D coordinate measuring technology for many decades. With its natural properties, no other material meets the requirements of metrology and sustainability as well as granite.

Granite Made For High Precision

For many decades, coordinate measuring machine manufacturers have relied on the quality of granite. It is the ideal material for all components of industrial metrology that demands high accuracy. The following properties speak for the use of granite:

  • High long-term stability – Due to the millennia-long formation process, granite is free of internal material stresses and thus extremely stable over the long term.
  • High temperature stability – Granite has a very low coefficient of thermal expansion. This describes the material expansion with temperature change and is only half that of steel and only a quarter of aluminum.
  • Good damping properties – Granite has optimum damping properties and can therefore minimize vibrations.
  • Wear-free – Granite can be machined to produce a virtually non-porous, flat surface. It is the perfect base for the use of air bearing guides. A technology that guarantees wear-free operation of the measuring system.

Metrology: Highest reliability is a decisive criterion for the 3D coordinate measuring machine. The use of granite in the machine design ensures that the measuring system is long-term stable and accurate. Compared to metals, the coefficient of thermal expansion is very low. Because granite is a material that has  evolved over millions of years, it is free of internal stresses and thus the long-term stability of the machine base and its geometry can be ensured. In addition, the fact that granite is corrosion-free and has no magnetism speaks for the use of granite in measuring machines. Wenzel manufactures all relevant components of its measuring machine from granite. The fact that the base plate, the crosshead and the quill are made of the same material ensures a homogeneous thermal behavior of all axes.

Sustainability: Compared to other materials such as aluminum, steel or ceramics, the energy requirement and thus the CO2 emissions og granite are very low. No energy is required for production, only for extraction, transport and processing. Granite also performs excellently in terms of long-term stability. Granite can be processed again and again without problems by grinding and lapping, so that nothing stands in the way of its reuse.

Perfected Production from A to Z

WENZEL has perfected the production process from the extraction of granite from quarries in South Africa to the finished micrometer-precise measuring machine. In cooperation with the stone factory in Groß-Bieberau, thighe hest precision and short delivery times are ensured. All processing steps from cutting to milling to grinding are coordinated.

Finally, very high basic accuracies are achieved by hand lapping. Reference surfaces can be lapped with long-term stability to accommodate bearing arrangements down to accuracies of less than 1 µm. Lapping is a carefully handcrafted process for smoothing surfaces to the tightest tolerances. This requires a high level of skill and many years of experience on the part of the employees. This work step cannot be performed by any machine. This is to maintain the accuracy of manual work, the processing machine would in turn have to be ten times more accurate than the result. This is simply not possible.

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