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New Ballbar Technology used for medical machinery tools by Renishaw

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article image New Ballbar Technology by Renishaw

Renishaw Ballbar technology facilitates wireless operations in small machining envelopes and allowing fast checks with minimal disruption, this volumetric accuracy testing adds a new dimension.

Ballbar analysis has been proven as reliable method for determining machine tool capabilities, it is practical, convenient and complete tool for assessing the contouring accuracy of CNC machinery.

Ballbars have been commonly used at precision machining operations for over 20 years, this new technology is able to do fast capability checks on small machines and also establishes a benchmark on machines' volumetric accuracy.

Nemcomed is supplier of implants, instruments, cutting tools, specialty instruments and casing and trays for medical device OEM's. Their strategy is to be a "one stop sho" for OEM providers in the orthopedic, spine and trauma sectors.

Having machine tools and processes capable of producing parts to specifications is a key strategy of Nemcomed's.

"Obviously, we have to meet FDA and ISO requirements," Eric Arnold, Manufacturing Engineer  for Nemcomed. "But we also have special customer requirements, as well a personal interest and pride, knowing that our products may end up in someone's body. As potential patients ourselves someday, we want to make the highest quality parts possible."

Being a manufacturer of medical devices, Nemcomed have to comply with regulatory requirements set by the Medical Device Standard.

For machines to qualify, a traditional QC10 wired ballbar from Renishaw was used. "We test the X-Y, Y-Z and X-Z planes and the QC10 required a setup for each, so our setup time was about 1.5 hours," Eric Arnold.

The use of Renishaw's ballbars had positive impacts on the quality of parts and achieving the company's bottom line.

This new ballbar uses the CNC circular program and power software to quickly detect and diagnose common machine position errors:

  • Servo mismatch
  • Stick-slip errors
  • Backlash
  • Repeatability
  • Scale mismatch
  • Machine geometry
  • Circularity error value
New capabilities include "The wireless ballbar requires just one setup – less than 15 minutes – for testing in all three planes," Arnold said. "More important, it doesn't disturb our production setup, so we don't have to re-set the machine when we go back to production mode. We remove the ballbar, insert a tool and get back to making parts in minutes."

This wireless operation is perfect for Nemcomed's small machine, "Machine tool makers understand how much ‘lean operations' value floor space, so the new machine tools are designed with smaller footprints," Mr Arnold.

"This results in less interior space to manoeuvre a wired ballbar, so wireless data transmission is a big advantage. Safety is also improved by the ability to fully close the doors on the machine during the tests," Eric Arnold.

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