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!!

Why you should attend IMTS 2016

It is an interesting thought experiment to consider what the impact on a trade show is to your company. There are very few public resources that objectively present whether or not exhibiting at a trade show is worthwhile. As it happens, we will be exhibiting @ IMTS East Building, Booth E-5622.

"The International Manufacturing Technology Show is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring more than 2,000 exhibiting companies and 114,147 registrants. The event is held every two years in September at McCormick Place, Chicago."

To derive some possibility of determining the advantage of attending the IMTS show and or exhibiting, I plotted out four scenarios. IMTS attendance from 1990 to 2014 vs. a variety of other trends.

  • BLUE IMTS Attendance  vs.RED GDP 
  • BLUE IMTS Attendance  vs.RED NYSE 
  • BLUE IMTS Attendance  vs.RED Airplane deliveries Boeing+Airbus
  • BLUE IMTS Attendance  vs.RED US Auto sales (millions) 

What does this suggest?
While the data does not strongly indicate what the benefits of exhibiting at IMTS will have on your company directly, it does give an indication of the attendance and how many people, potentially, will be exposed to your product or company. One measure of whether to go or not could be how many people may attend so, in that light, let's consider the graphs.

The IMTS attendance as displayed in the graphs shows the impact of the events in 2001 IMTS off year. It also indicates when the recession of 2008-10 hit. This directly impacted the attendance of IMTS.
In the first graph, it looks as if the GDP doesn't correlate at all to the IMTS attendance. In the second graph, the DOW Industrial Index shows the explosive growth of that index in the last 25 years. When you consider the growth of the Dow, it doesn't correlate to IMTS attendance, when you consider the historical values of the Dow Pre 1990.

I would like to think that graph 3, the airplane deliveries, reflects the growing demand for more planes, jet engines, etc and that this is helping to drive some increases in attendance as the production and future production for airplane deliveries grows. Finally in graph 4, the auto sales in the US, really only has a hiccup leading up to the financial crisis and bailout and it would appear as that situation became clearer, attendance picked back up.

Should I stay or should I go (to IMTS)

Selling @ IMTS
I think that the attendance trends over the last three shows indicates that the attendance will still grow. Will it meet or exceed the nearly 20 year old highs of around 121K? I have no idea. There is a really good chance however that you will be in front of 110K+ attendees.

Buying @ IMTS
Will the generational change of the internet buyer start to attenuate the attendance? IMTS offers a one stop shop "to kick the tires" on new equipment and technology. 

Potential buyers may have a stake in the purchase, so I think those people will want to come and see, in person, the machines and technology they are considering to purchase.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It’s time to move on.

Changing jobs can be an interesting and sometimes a stressful time.

Moving to a different country is guaranteed to be exciting and stressful in equal measure.Try doing both the above at the same time! 

I did this almost 6½ years ago when I relocated from Wenzel UK to Wenzel America and I will be doing it again in September when I move back to Europe and start another exciting new job with Wenzel Group as their Marketing Director.

America was more different to the UK than I expected, there were many cultural differences to understand and I was surprised how often I was misunderstood with my new hosts and I both speaking “English”!

For me the change of job bit wasn’t so bad back in 2010 – at least the company I reported to and the products we sold were the same. The US manufacturing economy was still pretty bad though and I couldn’t believe the devastation caused by the implosion of the car industry in my new home state of Michigan. 

Detroit always seems to get the publicity but other cities like Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac and even the state capitol of Lansing also suffered greatly. But things started to move and by 2011 we had rebranded the company here, introduced exciting new lines of optical and CT products and got ourselves in good shape for the growth that was happening. 

I would say that 2011 was probably the only year when I experienced the US machine tool market in full flow as companies gained in confidence to make the investments they had been delaying for the last 3 years – we were so busy and it was thrilling to be a part of it.

So what did I learn about business behavior in the United States?

  • Americans are still entrepreneurial in their attitudes to business.
  • Americans want everything done yesterday (even if it doesn’t need to be).
  • Americans are (mostly) very pleasant to deal with.
  • Americans have an enormous amount of respect for German machinery builders.
  • Americans like the idea of buying from a family owned company, especially when they are family owned too!
  • Americans are pragmatic when selecting equipment, but will buy a machine for $100,000 without seeing it!

I look back over those 6½ years with a great deal of affection and I don’t mind saying, a fair amount of personal satisfaction. 

But of course our success in my time here is down to many people. 

I would personally like to thank all those North American customers who trusted me and my team with their business, our excellent partners (Renishaw, External Array, LeDuc Creative, our bank, insurance agent, lawyers, CPA, IT support and many others) and most of all the team at Wenzel America who grew in capability, responsibility, confidence and success during my stewardship.

Many members of the team have taken on more responsible jobs and one of them, Drew Shemenski will take over my job as President from September. 

It’s always positive to promote people from within if you can. It can give encouragement to others and continuity to customers. I wish Drew and the team here continued and even greater success in the future.

Andy Woodward
President, Wenzel America

Monday, July 18, 2016

Shop Floor Inspection – Simple Solutions That Add Value

A few months ago we covered the topic of moving your CMM inspection to the shop floor, and some of the things to consider when doing so.

How will you monitor performance? 
How will the workflow be affected? 
Are there any limitations in space or environment? 

These are only a few of the items to be considered when planning a project of this nature, so now let’s dig a little deeper.

Anytime you are reshaping your plant floor, the first consideration is typically floor space. How much room do I have, and how best to use it? One strategy to make this planning process simple with a CMM is to put the machine in an enclosure.

A close fitting enclosure provides a stable environment for your machine, while also giving you a simple footprint to work with on your floor that has nearly the same footprint as the CMM itself. This makes planning floor space straightforward and easy while also providing some other benefits.

The manufacturing floor is a busy place and safety of people and equipment is always a priority. Therefore, placing your CMM in an enclosure provides protection for both your machine, and your staff, ensuring that you can maximize your up time and protect the longevity of your investment. 

In many instances, shop floor CMMs are introduced in areas where staff may not be well trained in working on or around such equipment. A simple enclosure can provide a layer of safety in this instance which ensures that your people and equipment can work at maximum productivity, giving you the best ROI on your investment.

Over time, the environment of your shop floor can change significantly. You may have seasonal changes in temperature and humidity, or even changes to the ambient levels of dust, coolant, and debris. These changes are not always accounted for when purchasing equipment, and can often affect the performance on your CMM. An enclosure can help you eliminate the effects these changes have on your system and ensure consistent output, performance, and accuracy now, and for years to come.

The single biggest benefit to a CMM enclosure, is the fact that it can allow you to re-purpose a tool you may already own. Let’s say you want to build a new cell on the floor, with a CMM to handle inspection. Looking for a new “Shop Floor CMM” may add a level of cost that makes the project unrealistic for you. 

But what if you could simply take your existing CMM, and move it to the shop floor? This would avoid the cost and lead time of buying new capital and help you realize the ROI of the cell even faster. 

Simple, right? So what’s the catch? Many times when designing a CMM enclosure, people can over complicate things; building in automated controls, complicated power solutions, and levels of environmental controls beyond what you would do if you were putting the machine in your Inspection Room. 

This can lead to the perception that CMM Enclosures are expensive and a big hassle, when in reality it may simply mean you are working with a vendor that doesn’t have a good solution for you. After all, the enclosure only needs to do two things: 

  1. Provide a barrier between the machine and the shop floor environment
  2. Help you measure your parts with ease and confidence.

Any feature of the enclosure that doesn’t advance these two points is adding unnecessary cost and complexity, and should be avoided.  A CMM enclosure can be a simple, cost effective solution to help you realize the benefits of shop floor inspection. 

It can help you plan an effective workflow, protect your investment, and help you avoid buying specialized equipment that may not scale with your needs over time. 

At Wenzel America, we pride ourselves on our ability to help you make the best choices for your business when it comes to inspection. 

So next time you are planning a new work cell, avoid the maze of specialized solutions and let us help you find a simple, cost effective inspection solution that will support you for years to come.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Measuring Round Parts

Sometimes if you're searching for Wenzel, you may run into a picture like the one below. Especially during the summer, people are more likely to think about tents than measuring round parts. I, however, can't stop thinking about round parts!

There are many different strategies for measuring round parts. From basic touch trigger CMM’s, entry level roundness or form checkers, to scanning CMM’s, and all the way to dedicated high-end roundness checkers. Instead of just focusing on form, many times these parts have dimensional features that need to be checked. Ideally, one machine could measure everything.

Examples of round parts encompasses a wide variety such as, shafts, cylinders, and housings. These are just a few varieties of the round part family and they have different GD&T callouts as compared to prismatic parts.

Consider Runout - (Resource - GD&T Basics

Runout is how much one given reference feature or features vary with respect to another datum when the part is rotated 360° around the datum axis. It is essentially a control of a circular feature, and how much variation it has with the rotational axis. Runout can be called out on any feature that is rotated about an axis. It is essentially how much “wobble” occurs in the one part feature when referenced to another.

Gears present a challenging metrology task in that they are rotational parts and that they have a feature, teeth, that need to be checked with their own unique considerations.

For example, looking at a transmission, you can see a number of parts that are clearly in this family. Additionally, when you think of transmissions, you naturally think of gears.

So checking gears could be considered near the pinnacle of challenging parts to measure. They encompass all the rotational characteristics that are important, as well as the unique feature of teeth that need to be checked.

While all gears do not have tolerances that are tight, we can safely say that the tolerances for gears going into automotive transmissions need to be fairly high tolerance because of the immediate feedback the end user experiences, noise, feedback and performance.

So checking gears, instantly rules out all roundness checkers because they cannot measure teeth. It rules out a touch trigger CMM, because not enough data is collected for the roundness measurements. It leaves scanning CMM’s and dedicated gear checkers. 

Enter the Wenzel WGT Family of instruments

What if you could have a instrument that could check all the rotational features that are called out on your part as well as some dimensional features?

Features such as, Diameter, Distance, Axial and radial run-out, Perpendicularity and parallelism, Roundness, Flatness and straightness, Accumulated run-out (axial and radial), Position, Concentricity and coaxiality, Symmetry, Cylindricity, Run-out of interrupted contours. 

What is interesting about these characteristics is on a traditional roundness checker it cannot measure a simple diameter out of the box. While a roundness checker can give you very accurate results on all of the roundness characteristics, adding the capability to measure diameter usually entails a special engineered solution or a huge jump in price. These instruments are not built as multi-purpose measuring tools, rather they are for the most part dedicated to a specific task.

A WGT is built from the ground up with our knowledge on how to make 3-axis coordinate measuring machines. What does this mean to you? It can handle ALL the measurements your round parts require + it can measure gears.

The WGT family uses a scanning probehead to take hundreds, if not thousands of points. So you get all the advantages of CMM scanning. With a simple add-on it can also measure surface roughness, as well being able to detect grinding burn. 

Another important consideration is the rotary table capacity. In some CMM solutions, it is an afterthought. At Wenzel we realize that it is integral to measuring these types of parts. The capacity of the two types of rotary table are: the pneumatic goes up to 3,000kg, diamter of 750mm, the hydrostatic up to 30,000kg, diameter of 1800mm.

Gears + 

To summarize, a WGT is not just for measuring gears, it provides answers to multiple metrology questions.

Also, if you need to measure something, slightly larger, and it's round, we have answers for that too. Search for Wenzel America or the Wenzel Group and find pictures like those below, instead of tents.