Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Manufacturing Fun

Last month Wenzel America participated in our first Manufacturing Day, an event designed to expose high school students to the world of manufacturing, and hopefully build their interest in a manufacturing based career.

It was a great event for us, bringing 15 local students to our office for in depth demonstrations on metrology principles, GD&T, CMM mechanics, and CT scanning technology. The students gained an appreciation for what the world of metrology has to offer, and how it fits into the ecosystem that is Manufacturing.

For us, it was a refreshing event. Often in our daily working lives, we interact with customers, vendors, and partners; all of whom are very well versed, if not experts in their respective fields. Because of this, it is easy to take for granted the amazing world of manufacturing that we get to be a part of.

Sharing our knowledge with a group of students is a great reminder that what we do can be an exciting and fascinating job. For example; showing them how a CT system can scan a medical implant used to treat degenerative diseases, highlights not only our technology, but the amazing work being done in Manufacturing to advance the quality of life in a patient.

Teaching the students about the language of GD&T provides not only an insight into how the Engineering and Manufacturing communities communicate, but also gives an opportunity to discuss how large-scale manufacturing can be done around the world with a level of quality, consistency, and speed that was unthinkable 30 years ago.

Demonstrating the the principles of how a CMM works, and basic maintenance techniques is also an interesting experience for the students. Increasingly our lives are filled with disposable items, or “Black Box” items like the phones in our pockets.

We may have an understanding of how they work generally, but we never get our hands on the inner workings. Pulling back the covers on a machine, gives insight into how elegantly these type of systems work; the balance of strength, accuracy, and fluidity that makes a CMM so good at what it does. This type of insight, can be increasingly rare in our modern world.

What we found at the end of #MFGDAY16 was that sharing what we know with these kids, helped us remember that what we do can be very cool sometimes. We are fortunate to work with some very talented people on some very exciting projects, and taking a moment to appreciate that, can add a little fun to the day.

Hopefully, we’ve planted some seeds among the next generation so they can bring their talents to the table and help our Manufacturing community stay strong and resilient.

So what does this have to do with you, the reader? I’m guessing, each of you plays an interesting part in this Manufacturing world as well, or you wouldn’t be reading this. Whether you are making chips, or checking parts, you each touch some part of this web that is our industrial base.

I would encourage you to reach out to the organizers of #MFGDAY and see how you can participate next year, to help build a stronger future for us all. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Find out more here.

A taste of AUKOM

At times, a good team of metrologists must sharpen the axe to cut down some of those precious microns. Strengthening our understanding of the basic concepts of metrology will only allow us to expand our thinking and, thus, our knowledge base.

A team of employees in an organization should have no ambiguity when discussing even the most trivial of topics. This ensures efficiency, communication, and, what we’re all here for, quality. Luckily, an organization has been formed that helps metrologists stay on their toes on the basics of metrology while demonstrating the latest developments in the field. That organization is AUKOM.

AUKOM was a result of a three-year research project (1998-2001) of the Quality Research Association (FQS in Germany), financed by the German Ministry of Labor and Economy, in cooperation with the most important manufacturers, some of the more prominent users of coordinate measuring machines, and from research at the QFM - University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg.

Its aim is to provide an up-to-date, comparable, controllable, comprehensive, and certifiable training regarding industrial production metrology, particularly in the area of coordinate metrology. This will result in three crucial aspects that should be inherent to anyone who cares about the quality of their products as well as their customers: to reduce costs, to minimize waste, and to make effective decisions.

The members of the organization have certified trainers which are responsible for the delivery of said training and also help promote the organization while ensuring that the standard and compatibility of the courses stays current. Overall, the courses help spread “good measurement practice” among production engineers, managers, design engineers, and, of course, metrologists.

There are currently seven different possible courses available from AUKOM, although certain courses would only be needed depending on the student’s need and job. They provide a machine-free, manufacturer-neutral training that cover simple mathematics and physics concepts that relate to different CMM types and also metrology practices followed by worldwide standards.

The classes are carried out in a classroom environment, either on-site or at the partner company’s facility, for up to 12 students. Classes are in presentation format and students also receive their own training manual. Instructors also enhance the lectures with hand tools and CMM and software demonstrations, if possible. Another great aspect of the courses is the open discussion that is encouraged between the students which is natural given the different backgrounds of the students that attend.

AUKOM Level 1 is the most common starting point and is aimed at production metrologists, although those with a close relationship with metrology-related tasks or those who wish to get a basic introduction into the basics of metrology should start with this course.

This course covers basic dimensonal tolerancing, unit conversions, geometric elements, programming basics, machine and sensor technology, evaluation of measurements, uncertainty effects, and the importance of documentation and quality management.

AUKOM Level 2 is a continuation of Level 1 and has been split into three different categories depending on what type of tasks are carried out. The students can choose between a CMM, Form, or Computer Tomography tailored class.

Still, it delves more into form and positional tolerances, the measuring strategies of tacile, image processing, and distance sensors, freeform surfaces, evaluation methods, reduction of errors on the measurement results, documentation of results, and equipment monitoring.

AUKOM Level 3 is an advanced course that should be taken by those who have an extensive background in metrology. It challenges the students to think about digital filtering and evaluation methods, monitoring of CMMs to the ISO standard, measurement uncertainty and measurement, quality management, and process monitoring.
AUKOM Levels 1-3 courses consist of four days of instructional material followed by an examination on the fifth day which, if passed with a 67% or above, results in a certificate for the participant demonstrating their ability in the concepts covered by that course.

AUKOM 2 and 3 have the preceding level course as a prerequisite although the course content may be skipped and the examination alone can be taken. However, this is not recommended so as to not miss any thorough content that would be provided with the actual course.

There is also an AUKOM GD&T course which consists of three days of material with no examination and covers the GD&T symbols along with how the evaluations work with a heavier influence in the ISO standard. Differences between the ISO and ASME standards is also covered.

Finally, an AUKOM Management Workshop is also offered, which also consists of three days of material with no examination, for Quality Managers, inspection planners, vendor managers, and others. This course helps those in supervisory roles manage and monitor their production process through measurement control analysis while also explaining some of the more basic concepts like measurement strategies and the golden rule of metrology.

In summary, AUKOM is here to help you establish measurement results that can be compared worldwide. The biggest names in the industry have realized the importance of establishing and maintaining such standardized methodologies.

The Wenzel Group in Germany is proud to be a certified AUKOM partner and holds classes regularly! Keep an eye out for AUKOM courses in the US from Wenzel America.

For more information, please visit AUKOM’s website here or if you have any other AUKOM related questions, contact us here to see how you can get certified with AUKOM!

Mariano Marks

Life Lists

I have met 2 types of people in my life. The first are people that are organized and always seem to know what needs to be done next. The second (people like me) are seen as scattered and can barely remember where their office is.

Ok I know that is a simple view but looking at the extremes of human behavior can lead all of us in the middle with helpful tools to navigate life.

cockpitchecklist.jpgWhy make Life Lists in the first place? It is human nature to forget little things that are done repeatedly and the little things are what make people successful. As a pilot, I recall watching a plane land without the landing gear down.

The plane was totaled but the pilot was thankfully OK. I asked him what had happened and his reply was classic. “I was so focused on the landing that I forgot the checklist.” This event cost that pilot $390,000 in damages and it could have been worse. Have you ever been so focused on something that you forget the details? Yes we all have!

Just as pilots have a great responsibility for lives we also have a reasonability to be the best people we can be. Forgetting the CEOs name or showing up late to a meeting can cost your company money or you your job. Missing a birthday because you forgot could destroy a year's’ worth of dreams. Below are some examples of Life Lists and how to start making them so you can be the best you.

success.jpgStart simple and make a life list for your morning routine or one for before you go to bed. Try a before a customer visit or what you do when you get an order. Any task that has steps can benefit from life lists.

While you are doing the task just document the steps. When this opportunity comes again pull out your draft and see if any steps need to be added.

After one or two tries you will have a reliable life list. Remember they do not need to be paper notes. They could be reminders on your calendar or a bookmark folder with all the websites you need to visit Daily.

As you implement more life lists your time will not be wasted with repeated mistakes and you brain will be free to work on the tough problems without the danger of forgetting the little things. As manages you lists can be used to delegate tasks without the need for your direct oversight.

Make life lists fun and embrace them. After a little effort you will be free to succeed!

“I'm high maintenance, but I'm worth it.”

Does anyone know who that quote is from? I sure didn’t. It was said by Lara Logan, CBS correspondent. High maintenance: the idea of needing a lot of work and attention. It sounds daunting, time consuming and costly: surely people should want LOW maintenance! 

As I scoured the internet to try and solve the enigma that is maintenance (or maybe the lack of it?), I read quote after quote about how to become lower maintenance, or higher maintenance, or why high is better than low, or visa versa… this phrase “but I’m worth it” stuck out to me.

IMG_0307.JPGEveryone seems to be declaring one or the other as something that adds value to their individual qualities. So which is it? What has more worth? High-maintenance, or low-maintenance? The answer is likely to be different for everyone, but what if we add a third option?

“Prevention is better than cure” or to borrow the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. We’re all familiar with this concept. Both the high maintenance people (who absolutely have to fit their diet and gym routine into a day), and the low maintenance people (who might diet and exercise just to feel better), can probably agree that they are engaged in the prevention of future unknown, painful, and costly health risks.

Why then is it, that we in the manufacturing and industry might have such a hard time applying the same preventative concept to the tools and machines that we use?

Why do we frequently allow our equipment to go without the cleaning, lubrication, testing and adjustment that, while we may consider it “high maintenance”, will assuredly prove to prevent future complications… Worth it.
I work for the manufacturer of highly precise, measuring instruments (yes I said “instrument” not machine), whenever I hear stories of dirty Y-axis rail, or wet and dirty air being fed to our equipment, I can’t help feeling a little despondent.

As a violinist and guitar player, I was taught to take the utmost precautions to protect my instruments from moisture, dirt and other damages, ensuring their longevity, tonal accuracy and precision.

Should not the same principles be applied to instruments that are used specifically because they assure the user the highest accuracy and precise measurement? Isn’t a simple daily wipe down of your machine, worth the effort to keep your machine air-bearings functioning at their highest level for as long as possible?

IMG_0296.JPGNext time you are standing next to your Wenzel CMM, I challenge you not to view it in the way that so many of us view mills and lathes: as machines. Instead, look at it for what it truly is: a high performance, precision measuring instrument, capable of incredible accuracy…. but also, requiring some routine care.

Clean your probes, clean (and dry) your air supply, and if nothing else, PLEASE (I’m begging you here) clean your air bearing and granite surfaces. If you do not, then we risk proving Kurt Vonnegut right when he wrote: “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

Trust me, your instruments will thank you.
If you don’t feel prepared to tackle your CMM’s maintenance, I and the staff at Wenzel are always happy to help. Keep an eye out for our release of a more in depth user-guide to your CMM maintenance.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Learning a new language is as easy as G-D-T

Learning a new language is as easy as G-D-T

Have you ever tried to assemble IKEA furniture and found yourself giving up halfway through the instructions? 

It’s a good thing those that build our airplanes, cars, printers, implants, and every other device in between don’t. This probably has something to do with the standardization of engineering tolerances in drawings.

Since we live in the real world, no part can ever be made perfectly! This means that we allow some manufacturing error into each part that comes out of the production line. 

But how do we demonstrate how much error is allowed? In order to make parts correctly that spin at 10,000 RPM or can fit inside of your hip, a set of rules needed to be established so that there is no ambiguity in stating where each hole should be located from a particular datum or how round a bore should be.

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing is the system that defines and communicates engineering tolerances. It tells the manufacturing staff what degree of accuracy and precision is needed on each controlled feature of a part. It doesn’t just help define how much variation a specific feature on a part may have, but also the variation between features as well.

There are multiple standards available worldwide that describe the symbols and define the
rules used in GD&T. One such standard is American Society of Mechanical Engineers Y14.5 whose latest and active standard is the one from 2009. 

By comparison, another widely used standard which is growing in popularity are those used by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Although ASME provides all of their information in one document, this means that it is not updated as often (the last standard was in 1994). 

This is different from ISO who typically addresses one topic at a time (i.e. ISO 10360 – CMM accuracy testing and performance verification) but receives revisions more frequently. Even though ISO is understandably more prevalent throughout the world, ASME is more dominant in the United States.

It is important to remember that the standards serve as a complete method to deliver design intent of parts through symbolic language between designers, manufacturers, and quality control. This means that communication and collaboration between all departments is vital for the production process not only due to reduction in cost, time, and energy but most important of all, for the customer. 

This is because GD&T can help you solve one of the most important problems in manufacturing: to make tolerances as wide as possible. A tighter tolerance does not equal a better part; it equals a more expensive part!

It is the same issue when two people speak a different language. An interpreter is needed which slows everything down and increases costs. If a problem arises with the manufacturing of a part, any two employees should be able to agree unequivocally on the information at hand with no ambiguity so as to not risk delays, confusion, and frustration. Many a time have I seen prints where True Position has been incorrectly applied or other controls have been applied just because they can be.

In the example below, note how the original callout is illegal since it is ambiguous as to how the total width tolerance zone should be applied. Two solutions are offered but note how the 0.3x0.3 mm square tolerance zone that is made with the second solution is larger than the 0.3 mm diameter cylindrical tolerance zone made by the first solution. 

Typically, however, it is more functional to use the cylindrical tolerance zone so an understanding of the function of the part or assembly is necessary. A little knowledge can go a long way.

Original -Illegal           



If you already use GD&T daily in your workplace and you’d really like to demonstrate your technical know-how with this language, you are able to get certified by ASME to a standard. ASME established the Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing Professional (GDTP) Certification Program which provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing principles described in the Y14.5 standard. 

Those who would benefit best from this certification would be production/manufacturing engineers, design/process/quality engineers; tool or gage engineers, managers, programmers, and anyone who might work or develop CAD, CAM, or CAE software. Even then, this is still a limited list.

There are two levels of examination available. The Technologist level examination is a maximum of four hours in duration consisting of 100 to 150 questions. It tests the ability of an individual to understand technical drawings and definitions. The Senior level examination is a maximum of six hours and contains questions that are slightly higher level than the Technologist level exam testing the ability to select and apply geometric controls to drawings. The examination is structured as a closed book, multiple choice, computer-assisted examination and ASME membership is not a requirement.


At the time of this writing, the exam for the 1994 standard is available although the exam for the 2009 standard is just around the corner. Certification for both levels (to the same edition of Y14.5) may be renewed without retaking the exam upon verification by ASME of involvement with GD&T for at least 24 of the previous 36 months.

At Wenzel America, we pride ourselves in finding the best metrology solutions for you by following the most up-to-date standards in the field which means that we provide the best value since nothing gets lost in translation! If you’d like more information, check out ASME’s website here or go directly to their GDTP applicant information here.

I’m proud to say that I am an ASME Technologist GDTP certificate holder to the 1994 standard. Throughout my preparation for the exam, I can recommend this guide by  Robert H. Nickolaisen for great practice problems. If you would like additional practice problems that I’ve found, or have any GD&T related questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here and speak some GD&T-ese with us!

Mariano Marks




Thursday, September 22, 2016

IMTS, Robots and…. Ice-cream?

IMTS, Robots and…. Ice-cream?

Not surprisingly, every (and I mean EVERY) industry has a trade show: cars, boats, home-goods, medicine, I.T., energy, education, and yes… even knitting. The list is exhaustive. All over the world, trade shows small and large provide an opportunity for businesses to network and display their product to consumers and enthusiasts alike.          

I’ve been on both sides of the tradeshow experience for nearly a decade now. As a Detroiter, car events like the North American International Auto Show and the Woodward Dream Cruise are traditions that have benchmarked the enormity shows can reach. 

When I began working in aviation, exhibiting at Sun ‘N’ Fun and EAA Oshkosh, I experienced the concept of massive tradeshows being taken to new heights. With 800+ exhibitors and thousands of attendees sprawled out over 2000+ acres of airport, they are certainly a sight to behold.

IMTS 2016 was a whole new experience for me. As I walked through the convention center halls unable to see all four walls, the sheer size of this show floored me. Two thousand exhibitors packed into a mere 30 acres all showing off the latest manufacturing and industrial technologies, from drill bits to massive 5-axis CNC mills. Some of the most impressive demonstrations, however, were in the robot manufacturers exhibits.

Kuka and Yaskawa were in neighboring booths, displaying their latest in precision robotics. 

Two large Kuka units worked together to demonstrate movement and accuracy for spot welding on an automotive component, while other smaller Kuka models demonstrated the impressive speed that can be achieved while tending a CNC machine tool. 

Yaskawa took an innovative approach to their booth, highlighting two of their customers that “are doing a particularly impressive job of putting the features of Yaskawa motion automation components to use” (Yaskawa Press Release). 

These two customer demonstrations, one robot arc-cutting and another robot laser-etching, provided a live and first-hand look at how these robots are used in industry.

The largest, and possibly most impressive robot demonstration was the Fanuc M-2000iA. This massive robot lifted, dipped, and pirouetted a brand new, bright yellow (of course), Corvette demonstrating its precise, long-reach, heavy payload ability. 

This robot was certainly the highlight of the show for most attendees as they crowded around the safety enclosure for the opportunity to take pictures or video for social media. 

Collaborative robots were winning over the hearts and stomachs of thousands of people a day. Kuka, once again displayed immense precision with a KR AGILUS HM food grade robot that handled the order-taking, brewing, and delivery of a Keurig-brewed cup of coffee… Much to the delight of caffeine-craving exhibitioners.

Kawasaki Robotics pleased crowds looking to fill another craving while showcasing their own collaborative robot technology, the duAro. 

The new dual arm (SCARA) robot would receive an order, gently grab a sugar cone (loaded in a pedestal by the customer), and proceed to fill the cone with the soft-serve of choice, even rotating the cone as the ice-cream poured, creating the traditional soft-serve shape. 

To work correctly and within such precise environments, these hi-tech robots require their components to be designed, manufactured, inspected, and assembled to exacting specifications. Wenzel provides the contact and non-contact measurement solutions to enable that precision for companies, in all industries, around the globe.

As a new member of the Wenzel America team and first time IMTS attendee and exhibitor, it was fascinating to see such quantity and variety of cutting-edge technology crammed into one building and get a glimpse into the future of manufacturing. I am certainly looking forward, not only my future here at Wenzel, but also seeing what IMTS 2018 has in store.

Stuart Nichols

Monday, August 15, 2016

IMTS 2016: Where, What, & Why

In less than a month, the focus on the North American manufacturing community will turn to Chicago for IMTS 2016. As you are likely aware, IMTS is the one of the largest manufacturing focused trade shows in the world, and commands the attention of thousands of exhibitors and attendees. It is estimated that over 2000 exhibitors will fill the booths with their latest and greatest technology; with everything from cardboard boxes, to 3D Printers on display. So with that much density of people and products, how do you stand out? 

Same Show, New Booth
First, for 2016, we will unveil a new booth design that highlights our specialties and raises the Wenzel logo to new heights, literally. Large color graphics, backlight design, and a new hanging banner, will all help you find us in the heart of all things Quality, Hall E. So when you are planning your trip around the show, make sure to visit us at E-5622, and check out our new booth. Here’s a sneak peek:

A 3D Scanning Hat Trick
When you visit us next month in E-5622, you will be treated to a trio of the latest 3D Scanning Technologies.  We will feature:

Shapetracer II - A new laser line scanner, for faster more accurate data collection. More Info Here

CORE DS – A unique scanner that combines the speed of optical scanning, with the reliability of a CMM.  More Info Here

exaCT – The exaCT line of industrial CT scanners provide high resolution, ease of use, and the reliability of a Wenzel CMM.  More Info Here

We’re in That Booth Too…

If you don’t make it down to see us in E-5622, don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered. Visit us in the Liebherr Booth, N-6930 and check out our latest gear inspection system, the new WGT280. More Info Here

And of course, you can see the latest 5 Axis Scanning system featured at the Renishaw Booth, E-5509. Our LHG CMM will be featuring the REVO-2 system, combining speed, accuracy, and reliability for unprecedented throughput and efficiency. More Info Here

So whether you are looking for a traditional CMM, or the latest in non-contact scanning, we’ve got something interesting to show you.  Stop by for a personalized demonstration on any or all of these systems. We promise you won’t be disappointed!!