2021 Westec has come and gone, but for many it was the first major industry get together in almost two years. Everyone we spoke with was pleased to be face to face with partners, clients and potential new customers. The masks could hardly contain the big smiles from seeing old friends and making new ones. Quality was at the forefront of the show, with booth after booth offering software, measurement devises or both. Lots of vendors were showcasing hand held devices and touches scanning features. There were big CMM’s, small CMM’s and anything your quality lab or shop floor could desire. We hit up a couple of the most respected names in quality to get a quick take on how their show was going and what they had in their booths. We spoke with: Todd Johnson of Total Quality Systems – Exclusive Distributor for Zeiss in Southern California and the Four Corner States, Devon King – Regional Sales Manager & Jeff Seliga – Marketing Manager Renishaw Inc., and Ingo Helmel – West Coast Sales Manager & Art Whistler – Vice President of Sales and Marketing Helmel Engineering Products Inc.
CNC West – What are you most excited about seeing here at Westec and what excites you most in your own booth?
Todd Johnson – It is great to be back at a show for sure. So much has changed since the last time we were here, but it is exciting to see and talk to people again. By the looks of it hand held scanners are pretty popular this year. And walking around you see a lot of the larger booths are geared towards quality. No surprise since quality has been important since the dawn of time, but we are seeing a lot of new tech to speed up the processes. I feel PMI is where the industry is headed in the future. Basically, PMI is embedding things like the GD&T directly into the CAD model. All the dimensions are part of the CAD model, but PMI isnt just limited to GD&T. Lots of different data can be part of the PMI from surface finishes to proprietary/legal notices and material specs. So if we are just talking about having the GD&T as the PMI, all the information associated with a print is now embedded. By embedding the GD&T into the CAD model the programming is 80% done when you bring it. Boeing and all the big aerospace companies are already pushing this and even smaller shops are having to adapt. This is a huge time saver. Something that might have taken you 4 hours to program before can be done in half hour or so.
The other wave of tech is CT scanning. Lawrence Stricklan is the CT manager for Zeiss and can explain it a little. “The ZEISS METROTOM 1 is basically an x-ray machine that can measure your part inside and out without tearing it apart,” explains Lawrence. “In the old days if we wanted to measure your phone we would have to tear it apart to do so. That sometimes could actually destroy details you were trying to find out. With the METROTOM 1 you basically put the part in the machine and it will scan it with an x-ray and you can measure the components that you want to.” “This is the way the future is heading in my opinion,” continues Todd. “This technology is still in its infancy, but 10 years from now we will see a lot of this technology. The METROTOM 1 takes up very little space in the QC lab, is easy to use and is precise.”
CNC West – What’s it like being back in person after a long time between shows.
Jeff Seliga – Face to face will never go away and is a part of our marketing arsenal. It’s good to get out and see customers and colleagues and grow our brand on the west coast.
Devon King – It is great to be back at Westec. Collaboration with people I haven’t seen in a long time is so nice. Getting in front of people from partners, customers and potential customers is fantastic. Plus we have the Equator™ 500 gauging system in our booth to show off.
CNC West – Well the next question is perfect then. What’s in the Renishaw booth that people really need to check out?
Devon King – Our Renishaw Equator™ 500 gauging system is one of the highlights this year in the booth. It is a shop floor gauge aimed at larger parts like an engine casings or differential housings. It’s meant to go right out on the shop floor next to the machine tool. The Equator™ 500 has 500mm in X and Y and up to 400mm in Z. The platform can handle parts over 200lbs. It is a bump up in size from our 300 series and has all the same features and accuracy.
We are also excited about the continued evolution of our REVO platform. Right now it is a 5 in 1 measurement system and growing. The 5 axis REVO 2 head does all the quick work while the 3 axis CMM rolls along at a reasonable speed. The removable probe system means you can go from one form of measurement to the next without changing machines and moving your part. So for example surface finish measurement and dimensional inspection can all be done from the same machine. It is a huge time saver, but also increases accuracy and repeatability.
CNC West – How is it being back at a trade show?
Ingo Helmel – Exciting to get back out on the show circuit after two years off. Great seeing existing customers and after a day and a half here we’ve already generated some good leads. I’m looking forward to the rest of the event.
Art Whistler – I was at the Eastec show before coming here and it was like crawling out from under a rock. It was old home week seeing everyone in the business.
CNC West – Tell me a little about the company and what you brought with you to Westec.
Ingo Helmel – All we do is CMM machines. Our large machine is 6’x10’ but the one we have on display here at Westec is 8”x12”. We design and build everything at our factory and headquarters in Niagara Falls, New York. We are the only remaining American independent manufacture of moving bridge CMMs. Vertical integration is key for us from design right down to manufacturing and assembly. All our machines are mechanical bearings, while most of the competitors are using an air system.
Art Whistler – We brought with us the shop floor ready PHOENIX 216-142 that features a Renishaw probe and the popular and powerful CMM Manager software. The Renishaw head is the only true 5 axis head on the market and something not all the CMM manufacturers offer as an option. This is a great system to exhibit at a trade show. It is a small footprint machine, but doesn’t lack any features, and really showcases everything we have to offer.