Although the capabilities, accuracy and speed of Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) can often be similar, the diverse nature and the varied operating characteristics of CMM manufacturers' software means that the deciding factor for potential purchasers is frequently the CMM's software. This was the case when Wrate Engineering Co. recently purchased a CNC version of Aberlink's popular Axiom too CMM.
Having considered the offerings from several leading CMM manufacturers, company partner Chris Wrate decided that the ease-of-use and speed of Aberlink's feature-rich 3D measuring software gave the company's Axiom too CMM a major advantage over its competitors.
Established in London in 1973, A Wrate Engineering Co. is a busy BSENISO9001:2008 accredited, precision engineering business that specialises in manufacturing hi-quality components for a range of industries.
Explaining the business' need for a precise CNC CMM, Chris Wrate said. "Over the years we have built-up an impressive collection of highly productive machine tools and associated equipment, enabling us to perform a range of operations including CNC and conventional turning and milling and surface and cylindrical grinding. In addition we are able to undertake a wide range of second operations.
"As increased demand for our services and rising levels of production were beginning to create bottle-necks in our quality department, we recently viewed demonstrations of several CMMs from various manufacturers. As we were unimpressed by one or two of the machines on offer, we ended up with a short-list of just a couple machines. Although these CMMs were comparable in many ways, the functionality and ease-of-use of Aberlink's 3D measurement software set the company's Axiom too CMM apart, and we were happy to place an order.
"We purchased the CNC version of the Axiom too along with Aberlink's standard 3D inspection software and also invested in the company's easy to use CAD comparison software.
"Unlike the software of the other CMMs we considered, Aberlink's software was extremely easy to use, intuitive and logical. This simplicity shortened our CMM training time and meant that our operators became proficient very quickly. Aberlink 3D has many very useful features, for instance, when we perform an inspection routine using Aberlink 3D, an image of the measured component is automatically created on the computer screen. As the displayed dimensions between the measured features reflect those that appear on the component drawing, we are able to compare measurements as required.
"Also, every time a component is inspected using Aberlink 3D software, a programme for measuring identical components is automatically created. We are then able to store the program, recall it when required then inspect multiple components in a fast CNC mode.
"Following the inspection of a single part or batch of components, we are also able to generate inspection reports in the form of fully dimensioned graphical representations or tabulated reports that show nominal conditions, tolerances, errors, pass/fail status, geometric tolerances and other parameters."
Available in manual and CNC variants, the Axiom too is the best-selling CMM from the largest UK owned Coordinate Measuring Machine manufacturer. Aberlink's Axiom too CMM is ideal for use either in controlled environments or within less than perfect shop-floor conditions.
Explaining the philosophy behind Aberlink's popular 3D software and the company's CAD Comparison software, Chris Davies, Aberlink's Business Development Manager said. "Although we have ensured that our Aberlink 3D CMM inspection software encompasses all of the required features and functions, our aim when developing Aberlink 3D was to make even the most complicated of measurement tasks trouble-free and fast to complete. This built-in ease of use results in a significantly reduced software learning curve and makes Aberlink 3D equally rewarding when used by a novice or an experienced CMM operator.
"As Aberlink 3D delivers its depth of functionality in a very logical and intuitive way, it is ideal for use by either occasional users or full-time inspection professionals. In fact, in addition to quality personnel operating their Aberlink CMMs, as our 3D software is so simple some of our customers allow their production operatives to use their Aberlink CMMs to perform in-process checks and to verify their own work.
"Aberlink 3D has become the software of choice not only for Aberlink CMMs, but also for numerous global manufacturers of measuring arms, vision systems and other metrology devices. To ensure that Aberlink 3D remains at the cutting edge, we regularly release new, enhanced software versions, and unlike, most of our competitors, we issue all updated software free of charge to all of our existing customers.
"Aberlink's optional, CAD Comparison software module complements Aberlink 3D by providing the capability to compare measured points to a CAD model and can be used on a manual or CNC CMM. Often this is the only way to measure more complex components."