Renishaw is launching the successor to its established QC10 ballbar system for assessing machine tool positioning and servo control performance. The all-new QC20-W ballbar features a Renishaw-developed linear sensor and Bluetooth wireless technology. This design offers benefits in ease of use and enhanced durability and enables the QC20-W to be used for testing even in 'closed door' manufacturing, where access for wiring can raise safety and procedural issues.
The new design also enables testing in three orthogonal planes through a single reference point. A single, simple hardware setup means quicker testing and the ability to produce a representative volumetric measurement of positioning accuracy. The QC20-W ballbar retains the principle of a simple CNC circular program, together with powerful software. These can quickly diagnose and quantify machine positioning errors including servo mismatch, stick-slip errors, backlash, repeatability, scale mismatch and machine geometry, as well as giving an overall circularity error value.
Renishaw has enhanced the Ballbar20 system software to give even greater flexibility for testing and reporting.
With many thousands of established users of the QC10 system, Renishaw has gone to great lengths to ensure backward-compatibility with the QC10 system. This minimises costs and disruption when upgrading or working alongside existing QC10 systems.
Ballbar lengths are identical to those of the QC10, so all existing test routines can be carried over, including test templates, CNC programs, and work and test procedures. Only minimal training is required when upgrading, focusing on familiarisation with the new features. The Ballbar20 software is also compatible with QC10 systems, as the test file format is unchanged. As a result, both old and new machine records can be reviewed using the same software.
An upgrade kit is available to QC10 ballbar users at a very competitive price, especially if users are considering the cost of an upcoming recalibration for their existing QC10 ballbar. The upgrade kit is supplied as standard with an insert for fitting into the current QC10 case, with the new system case and additional hardware required for carrying out the new three-plane testing available as options.
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About ballbar testing
Determining a machine tool's capabilities before machining and subsequent post-process part inspection can greatly reduce the possibility of scrap and machine downtime, leading to lower manufacturing costs.
Many thousands of Renishaw QC10 ballbars are used by machine tool manufacturers, end users, service and maintenance companies and resellers for pre-production tests, predictive maintenance programs, new machine prove-out, machine grading and comparison, and for checking machines after crashes. Indeed, testing with the Renishaw QC10 ballbar is so simple and effective that many users specify a ballbar test before beginning any new batch of components. Renishaw says its ballbar has become a vital tool in changing how users worldwide think about machine tool performance verification.
Early error detection with the ballbar permits optimum efficiency in scheduling maintenance and repairs. Besides isolating errors, the ballbar also aids process optimisation. In short, the QC10 ballbar has evolved into far more than just a tool for QA system 'compliance.'
There has been a rapid development in the use of widely recognised quality system standards, e.g. ISO 9000 and the implementation of 'Six Sigma' programs. These give rise to a need to define and measure process capability factors. A ballbar is practical for this purpose.
The current world economic climate and increasingly open markets mean that the requirement to lower production costs is more urgent than ever. Minimising scrap and rework is top of many production managers' agendas. Repair and maintenance needs to be carried out only when required, thereby reducing direct costs and production losses due to downtime. Renishaw's ballbar software automatically produces a diagnosis from the captured data, enabling non-experts to make informed decisions. This is very useful when the availability of sufficient skilled staff is an increasing problem.
Renishaw's QC20-W ballbar provides an answer to all these problems, with a key element being its ease of implementation and the value of the information it provides.