Affordable Standard CMMs Gain Extra Accuracy

Manufacturers wishing to inspect components machined to tight tolerances, but unwilling to invest in an expensive, ultra-high-accuracy coordinate measuring machine (CMM), now have the option of selecting an ALTERA C HA (high accuracy) from LK Metrology. Available in five sizes.

The ceramic-bridge machines are constructed from the same component parts as the standard ALTERA C range but are optimized during build at the company’s Derbyshire, England production facility to deliver 16 percent higher accuracy during a measuring cycle, with 13 percent better repeatability and 50 percent more accurate scanning. Volumetric accuracy is from 1.3+L/350, repeatability from 0.0013 mm and scanning accuracy from 0.002 mm.

When implementing design improvements to the ALTERA C HA, particular attention was paid to upgrading the moving bridge. The spread of the air bearings supporting the main drive leg has been widened to increase the stiffness of the bridge assembly by 17 percent overall, which is particularly beneficial during high-speed movements. Advantages to the user are considerable, as measuring uncertainty when chasing tolerances down to microns is significantly better. For the same reason, the bearing mountings have been further stiffened and their alignment improved. Due to the increased dynamic forces in play when measuring on the fly, the new design is especially helpful when using a scanning probe.

The pre-loaded, wrap-around air bearing configuration runs with a reduced air film thickness for low energy consumption and gives repeatable measurement results, even at fast axis speeds. Friction drives provide smooth motion together with exact positioning at continuously varying speeds, as well as zero backlash and overload protection.

LK Metrology
The largest new 15.9.7 ALTERA C HA high accuracy coordinate measuring machine.

Multi-sensor capability is provided, with the Renishaw PH10M motorized probe head able to deploy a touch-trigger probe, scanning probe or laser scanner. LK’s proprietary, DMIS-based, multi-sensor CAMIO software enables programming and measurement based on 3D CAD data as well as comprehensive reporting.

The five sizes of ALTERA C HA have a measuring envelope above the granite table ranging from nominally 700 x 650 x 500 mm for the smallest CMM up to 1,500 x 850 x 650 mm for the largest. The machines are compact for the size of their respective measuring volumes and are also fast, accelerating at up to 1,390 mm/s/s for high inspection efficiency. They are equally at home in an inspection department or on the shop floor, especially as pneumatic anti-vibration mounts can be specified to isolate the CMM from nearby sources of low-frequency vibration, such as large machinery. Maintenance costs are low, and all models carry an unrivalled 10-year accuracy guarantee covering dimensional stability.

About LK Metrology

LK Metrology is renowned for innovative metrology solutions and services. The company’s products, including coordinate measuring machines (CMM), portable measuring arms and metrology software, are used worldwide to control and improve the quality of manufactured components. Its precision technology underpins the process chain from design, development, production and assembly through to quality assurance in global industries such as automotive, aerospace, defence, motorsport, energy, medical and contract inspection.

Established in England in 1963, LK Metrology has an impressive heritage in metrology dating back to the birth of CMM technology. Founded by CMM pioneer Norman Key and his father-in-law Jim Lowther, LK Metrology is credited with many of the CMM industry’s firsts including the first bridge-type design, first OEM to integrate computers, first to use a touch trigger probe, first to develop inspection software, first to use all air bearings and granite guideways, first to use carbon fibre composite spindles, first to use microprocessor-controlled drive systems, first to produce a truly thermally stable CMM and first to produce a high-accuracy horizontal-spindle CMM.

In 2018, LK Metrology was relaunched as an independent CMM manufacturer after several years as a division of Nikon Metrology. Headquartered in the UK, LK’s CMM development and production are at the company’s facility in Castle Donington. Sales and support offices are located in the UK, North America, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and China, supplemented by a worldwide distributor network.

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