Carl Zeiss were recognised by Lockheed Martin for the completion of the large volume MMZ-B Plus gantry coordinate measuring machine (CMM) project. During the official ribbon cutting ceremony that was held at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Texas, Carl Zeiss and other suppliers that contributed to this project were recognised by Lockheed Martin officials Bob Fiorentini, Vice President F-35 Global Production and Larry Pike, Vice President of Quality.
The ceremony marked the completion of the installation project of the largest gantry CMM that Carl Zeiss ever built. For Lockheed Martin, it signified the completion of a measurement facility optimised for F-35 composite parts achieved by application of Lean manufacturing practices. The F-35 Lightning II is a super-sonic stealth fighter designed to replace a wide range of existing aircraft worldwide.
In 2006, Lockheed Martin selected Carl Zeiss as supplier of a gantry CMM that would be capable to measure sub assemblies of the F-35 wings. In addition, Carl Zeiss were assigned responsibility for the overall project management that included a pallet shuttle transportation system from DST and MSB, an enclosure from Western Environmental Corporation and installation services provided by Industrie-Team Service GmbH.
For the project, Carl Zeiss developed the MMZ B Plus gantry CMM with a measuring range of 5m x 16m x 2.5m. At a length of 16m, the MMZ B Plus is able to accommodate and measure the wing skins of the F-35 with high accuracy and is also suited for the measurement of aerodynamic tools, wind tunnel models, 1:1 modules and other elements of the airframe.
Many of the parts measured by the MMZ B Plus are critical to the assembly process and will play an important role in fine tuning the composite part manufacture for the F-35 production line. The F-35 production system is based on a strategy of Lean manufacturing where elimination of waste and optimising resources are important.
This type of installation supports the fundamental concepts of Lean manufacturing by integrating machine and measurement process. It is the first installation of this kind and magnitude in any of the facilities and for Lockheed, the beginning of a new era in optimised parts inspection. Carl Zeiss have built a complete system solution. Lockheed Martin has been using ZEISS CMMs for the past ten years.