Carl Zeiss 3D Automation, part of the metrology division of Carl Zeiss, first visited the GM Casting Engine and Transmission Center in 2010 and introduced new probe extensions with rotary joint systems. GM liked the thermal stability and carbon tube design, but was looking for fixed machined extensions for more control at their remote inspection labs. They also wanted some interchangeability if a probe configuration change was needed. For this next generation project, the CMMs they purchased were specific to the lifecycle of a particular component. Since the lifecycle could be 5, 10 or more years depending on the product line, they also wanted durable probe systems that would last and that could potentially be reused at the end of the project. After collaborating and testing probe tooling samples with GM, Carl Zeiss 3D Automation completed development of and launched their next generation probe tooling, called ThermoFit Pro, in 2011.
The GM Casting Engine and Transmission Center started using their first ThermoFit Pro modules in June of 2011. The new product line enables GM to build up even the most complex stylus system using the CALYPSO stylus simulator without the need for typical custom designing in CAD. Generic angle blocks can be modified in the software to the desired angle by simply choosing the according angle values. The real angle blocks are then quickly manufactured from semi-finished parts. The finished angle blocks can be machined either by Carl Zeiss or if desired by their own tool shop, as the semi-finished parts are available from stock. Each piece gets a ZEISS part number for easy documentation and reordering.
No CAD engineer or drawing is needed and everything can be done by their own application engineer within the Stylus System Creator. “I'm very impressed with the development of the CALYPSO simulation and Stylus System Creator using ThermoFit Pro modules,” says Craig Wegienka, senior manufacturing engineer at GM Casting Engine & Transmission Center. “I was able to use the Stylus System Creator to create the entire set of block and head tooling for our project. I simulated each individual probe configuration in CALYPSO to verify the tooling. The simulation proved that all tooling would work correctly.”