Kennebec Technologies has applied CMM (coordinate measuring machine) technology for many years as its business expanded into the aerospace industry. The Maine company’s ability to machine thin-wall, exotic-alloy, complex-geometry castings is in high demand by its customers.
“As an AS9100-certified aerospace supplier, we produce parts for almost every commercial and military engine or airframe,” said Harvey Smith, Kennebec Vice President of Operations. “We stay right on top of the new developments, technologies, and materials used in the global aerospace industry. CMMs are a necessity for maintaining the strict aerospace quality levels, and the Wenzel equipment has helped do just that.”
Kennebec purchased its first Wenzel CMM in 2006. It was an LH 8.10.7 bridge-type machine equipped with Xspect Solutions’ OpenDMIS software. The machine was “ideally suited for the 18-in envelope that we knew would meet the majority of sizes of parts we typically produce,” said Mike Craig, Kennebec Quality Manager. “Originally, we were sold on the high degree of craftsmanship that the Wenzel CMMs possess. We particularly like the fact that the machines use Impala black granite as the base.
“We’re well aware of the thermal stability, low moisture absorption, load-carrying capacity, natural vibration damping, and high modulus of elasticity that the black granites have. In addition, we have been extremely pleased with the OpenDMIS software. Our technicians have commented on how easily the software integrates CAD data with the CMM programming and measurement process. The software has easy drag-and-drop features from the database area that lets the user move that information into an adjacent programming window that automatically generates the underlying DMIS 5.0 code, together with the probe and alignment definitions. With the kind of complex part programs that we work with, the OpenDMIS software helps us to significantly reduce our programming time while allowing us to first visually simulate the measurement process and avoid any possible collisions.”
Early in 2009, Kennebec considered adding another CMM to its quality department. “Coincidentally,” Craig said, “that was just about the time we received an email blast from Xspect Solutions about a Wenzel X-Orbit 10.20.7 CMM that another customer had decided not to purchase. At the time, we did not have adequate space to accommodate the larger machine, but we couldn’t pass up the price … and in the long run it would give us measuring capability for larger parts. As a result, we ended up building the bottle around the ship. We retired our other older CMM, expanded the inspection facility in the plant, and standardized on the Wenzel CMM equipment with OpenDMIS software. Currently, our one CMM technician is operating both CMMs with ease.”
The X-Orbit 10.20.7 is one of the new economical lines of Wenzel CMMs and has been designed and built to intrinsic accuracy and to exacting and rugged machine tool standards, according to the CMM company. It has a measuring range (X-Y-Z axes) of 39.4 x 78.8 x 27.6 in and a measuring speed of 700 mm/s with maximum acceleration of 2000 mm/sec2 . The product uses the industry-standard Renishaw TP 20 probing system and offers volumetric accuracy of 2.5 µm.
Xspect Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wenzel GmbH of Germany. Xspect Solutions claims it is the third largest supplier of both traditional CMMs and GMMs (gear measuring machines) to the North American metrology market.
The black granite used by Wenzel is processed in-house at its manufacturing facilities in Germany; it is not imported from China prefinished, which is the industry norm.