Fowler High Precision has introduced what it calls the world's first truly portable direct computer control coordinate measuring machine (DCC CMM) -- the zCAT. Weighing only 30 lbs., the zCAT can take automated, repeatable measurements while being extremely portable. This combination makes the zCAT a natural fit for deployment directly in the manufacturing process.
Every inch of the zCAT has been designed to ensure portability, ease of use and accuracy. The DCC technology, which sets the zCAT apart from any manual portable CMM's today, enables operators to teach the machine what they want to measure and then permit the device to take over with accuracies that rival larger, more expensive, non-portable, conventional CMM's. Complex 3D measurements for quality control can be taken quickly and automatically at the point of production.
The zCAT stands 620 mm tall and 420 mm wide with a 172-mm-diameter base. A rotary encoder in the base supports 360-degree rotation, allowing parts to be nested around the device's perimeter and measured all at once. An industry standard Renishaw TP20 probe system rotates 360 degrees as well and the horizontal stylus can rotate and orient to the part, so the zCAT can go right where it is needed.
The completely wireless zCAT is powered by a 10.8 volt lithium ion battery that provides enough energy for up to 4 hours of use in the field before needing a charge. In addition, WiFi capabilities let the zCAT automatically and wirelessly transfer data to a PC in whatever format the user requires, including an Excel spreadsheet.
With an intuitive icon-driven touchscreen and built-in ControlCAT geometric measurement software, most users can take simple measurements within 15 minutes of training and put together more complicated programs within a couple of hours. To expand measurement capabilities and lower training time even further, an optional zCAT MK4 3D measurement software is available as well and includes free upgrades and zero licensing fees.
The revolutionary zCAT was invented by Homer Eaton. Eaton, known for his invention of the articulated arm, was looking for a way to bring a highly portable, automated, easy to use, accurate measurement system right to the manufacturing area.
After several years in development, the zCAT was born and promises to change the industry, saving companies significant time and money in the quality control process by reducing inspection backlog and streamlining processes.
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