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Next generation 5-Axis machine tool metrology

The advantages of five-axis machining are significant. Along with the ability to machine complex parts it can save time, money and reduce risks on set up and fixturing. Monitoring and control of the accuracy of your 5-axis machine is critical to deliver such performance benefits. The Rotary Inspector has been developed by IBS to determine (and correct) critical performance parameters. Measuring according to ISO 10791-6, it provides a simple approach to ensuring the geometric and dynamic performance of the machine.

From product to process measurement

With the Rotary Inspector, IBS has pioneered technology for the kinematic quality assessment of 5-axis machine tools which addresses the limitations of current techniques. As part of the RvO funded project 'Van product naar process meten' IBS has worked with leading high tech machined parts manufacturer KMWE to develop this Industry 4.0 technology.

Based on standard ISO measurements it delivers fully automated measurement in under a minute to derive the total 5-axis machine tool accuracy. It also calculates the pivot line offsets and squareness errors. A standard measurement report is produced for each machine simplifying in-house quality management of machines as well as providing an auditable document of the machine status.


A factory wide solution

To aid in management of large numbers of machines, two quality figures are derived from the machine measurement.

The Q value is the maximum geometrical error. It provides a boundary for the product form accuracy that may be achieved under 5-axis machining.

The P value is a measure of the largest measured dynamic error of the machine, resulting from issues such as backlash or worn bearings. Such errors will be seen in the surface finish of the machined product.


A management module provides an overview of the current status and machine history for all machines integrated into the Rotary Inspector quality procedure. Machines can be monitored at a group, cell or factory level. This provides instant feedback on the status of the installed 5-axis machine base.


Historyand current status available per machine, group or factory 


Of course, with the geometrical and dynamic error data available, manufacturers wish to have the option for compensation.  Figure 1 below shows automatic compensation of a 5-axis machine with a Heidenhain 640 controller. In this example, the Q value was reduced from 129 to 16 microns in minutes. Also shown are the underlying maximum individual axis errors (Sx, Sy and Sz).


Green Data

Industry 4.0 means smart decisions enabled by the right data. At IBS we have created what we call a Green Data approach to our solutions. This means providing the critical results needed and no more, to avoid data pollution. In the Rotary Inspector data is transformed to the relevant parameters and this alone is stored.


Integration and testing at KMWE

KMWE is already a customer of IBS for measuring tools. KMWE is high tech supplier for mechatronic systems and complex machined components, with over 50 state-of-the art machining-centres. KMWE’s strategy is to be ahead in innovation and technology. In machine-equipment but also in processes. Therefor KMWE was looking for a measuring tool which enables them to conduct quick performance tests on machining-centres in as well static as dynamic behaviour. In cooperation with IBS KMWE started a project of integrating the Rotary Inspector into the machine for measuring. At this moment a pilot is running on 5 different types of machining-centres and the results are very promising. A measuring cycle, in only 1 minute, during normal production runs, results in a statement about the accuracy-status of the machine-centre.

Marc Evers (Board KMWE) and Berry Geven (Board KMWE) quoted: “This will help us to monitor the accuracy from first manufacturer pass, in process behaviour and qualification after re-allocation. Furthermore it will be a big help in process control (variation management) in our production which can be described as high mix – volume production. Basically it helps us being more pro-active and reliable in our production process. This experience will be very helpful at re-qualifying our processes when we are going to move our production-facilities mid 2017-2018.

About KMWE

KMWE is high tech supplier for mechatronic systems and complex machined components. Our core-competences are in Engineering, Machining, Sheetmetal (Fabrications), Assembly and Special Processes with customers in the following markets: Aerospace, Medical, Semiconductor and general machine building & equipment. Production is located the Netherlands and Malaysia and a strategic partnership in Turkey.

Always on the cutting Edge of Excellence


IBS will be launching the Rotary Inspector at METAV 2016 (Industry 4.0 Theme Park, Hall 17/A37). Our goal was to make 5-axis intelligence simple. We hope you will like the result.

Spindle performance is a further key factor in the output quality of any machine tool. SpindleCheck, also at the booth, is designed to determine critical performance parameters including: radial and axial error motions, thermal drift and distortion due to environmental vibrations.

See more on the Rotary Inspector  >>>