When Cotta Transmission Compan,y LLC determined their old CMM was beyond its useful life, Xspect Solutions provided a unique proposal that combined a new Wenzel bridge-type CMM equipped with OpenDMIS software and a level of basic gear measuring capability that optimized Cotta’s current needs.  

Beloit, Wisconsin-based Cotta Transmission Company LLC, a leading industrial and specialty transmission manufacturer recently purchased and had installed a new Wenzel LH 12.30.10 CMM, Fig. 1, equipped with OpenDMIS software with a special gear checking module.

Fig. 2 Cotta's Wenzel CMM is equipped with OpenDMIS software with gear measuring module.

Todd Wells, Cotta quality manager, explains, “When I joined Cotta as the quality manager, the organization was already extremely discontent with their current CMM equipment. Actually, the CMM operators were using the DCC CMM as a manual machine because of fears it would crash, and they would often re-inspect product multiple times because they had little confidence in the results.  A team was assembled to rectify the situation. The 1970’s CMM that we were using had been rebuilt once already, and when we conducted an accuracy study it was obvious it was not repeatable any more. For example, we performed one study where the same part was inspected several times on a program that was written to run in automatic mode. The measurement results varied more than 220% from the required design tolerance.  With this new knowledge of the CMM’s inability to repeat, the team mandated sub-contracted CMM inspection for specific parts with tolerances too critical for the old CMM, and until a new CMM could be purchased.  We estimated that our work level would require an expenditure of at least $100,000 over the next 12 months to accommodate sub-contracting to an outside CMM service. We needed a new CMM to insure our commitment to meet the needs of our customers and to continue to deliver a competitively priced quality product on time. Our desire was to purchase a new Wenzel CMM, and we liked OpenDMIS software, Fig. 2, but we were not confident our budget or timing requirements would permit it. We contacted Xspect Solutions, Wenzel’s operation here in North America and discussed our situation with Nick Moceri, Xspect’s regional sales manager and Keith Mills, president there. After listening carefully, Xspect Solutions developed a program for us that took advantage of a combination of circumstances that ultimately gave us the machine we wanted within our budgeted cost, delivered on time…which actually ended up being ahead of time and included an offer that many other CMM manufacturers failed to beat.”

Keith Mills explains further, “Equipment suppliers like Xspect Solutions understand that manufacturers are ‘pinching pennies’ just like everyone else. They’re looking for the best quality product at a reasonable cost. Wenzel CMMs are considered by many to be the best constructed and most mechanically accurate CMMs in the world. Precision manufactured impala black granite bases and bridges, intrinsic precision and hemispherical-cylindrical air bearings, and standard Renishaw probing systems offer volumetric accuracy of 2.5 microns. As a result, Wenzel machines are typically not the cheapest CMM on the spreadsheet. However, for Cotta, we were able to put together a proposal that involved a special CMM that we had loaned to another customer while waiting for a larger Wenzel machine to be built for them. Because we already had the ‘loaner’ CMM being returned, we were able to make the necessary arrangements to tie-in the logistics and machine exchange as well as customize the CMM to meet the Cotta accessories and software needs. The new machine and software would be able to handle the entire range of products Cotta is producing.”

Wells adds, “We had been looking at machines equivalent in size to the Wenzel 12.30.10 that were 1995 vintage. We ended up with a 2008 Wenzel structure with new controller, probing, PC and software for a very attractive package price. In addition, we received software that included the gear measuring module allowing us to develop basic gear data right on our CMM. This also allowed us to move our small gear measuring machine out of the CMM room and into a location closer to our gear manufacturing department. Within a week of installation, our technicians had already successfully created part programs from CAD and inspected a number of part designs.  We duplicated the study we conducted on the old CMM on the new Wenzel and the results showed a 213% improvement in the measurement variation. In addition, our CMM operators liked the ability to preview machine movement with the OpenDMIS software. We also purchased an offline OpenDMIS software seat that allows us to develop new inspection programs while the machine is being used. The decision to purchase this additional seat was the result of some feedback we obtained from another Xspect Solutions’ customer who wished they had an offline software seat. Also, as part of our purchase package, we received four days of training for three of our people. ”

“We did another interesting thing,” Wells says. “Because our old CMM was not worth rebuilding again, we decided to dismantle it and use the granite base and bridge and turn them into inspection surface plates. We had them lapped and calibrated and have them in use again in our shop, Fig. 3.  Xspect Solutions also offered to take our old Renishaw PH9 probe in trade for the new PH10M that was supplied with the CMM, and also gave us a useful styli change rack that mounts directly on the base plate.”

The Wenzel LH 12.30.10 is a bridge-type CMM with a measuring envelope of 1200 x 3000 x 1000 mm which provides adequate table capacity for some of the larger transfer cases that Cotta produces. With this machine design the Y-axis guideway is machined directly into the granite base plate, providing optimal long-term accuracy and stability. The machine has a maximum 3D measuring speed of 700 mm/sec with maximum acceleration of 2,000mm/sec2. It is equipped with a Renishaw PH10M probing system and a HT400 teach pedant which eliminates the tedious keyboard interaction necessary with conventional CMM teach pendants.

Todd Wells concludes, “The installation and calibration of the Wenzel CMM was well within our needed time frame which was notable because the machine was configured when the installation was taking place. Communication with Xspect Solutions’ administrative and technical personnel has been seamless, including the coordination of any of the loose ends that normally occur with a project like this. We were even allowed to tour one of Wenzel’s other customers to get familiar with the same CMM prior to the arrival of our new machine. This has been a very successful supplier/customer project.”

Xspect Solutions, Inc. headquartered in Wixom, Michigan, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wenzel GmbH of Germany. Xspect Solutions is the Number 3 supplier of both traditional CMMs and GMMs(gear measuring machines) to the North American metrology market.

Wenzel GmbH manufacturers its products intrinsically accurate, negating the need for the huge error compensation files to achieve quoted accuracies which have become the norm for most manufacturers in past years. The black granite used by Wenzel is processed in-house at their impressive manufacturing facilities in Germany, not imported from China pre-finished…which in now the industry norm.

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