Inspection and Measuring on Threaded Tools

The measuring machine, ThreadCheck, offers precision for complex geometries, automation, seamless documentation, and production integration.


Increasing product varieties, shortening of production cycles, and a growing demand on quality are just a few of today’s many production requirements. Flexibility is also necessary, as well as cost-effective solutions for efficient processes, optimization of setup times, and measurement solutions for new tools, materials, and processing technologies.

With the demand for thread-cutting tools increasing exponentially over the last few years, the measurement and inspection of specific geometries have become a challenge for conventional measurement technology and could only be done with large and expensive measuring systems. Particularly with small and complex geometries, mechanical or tactile measuring methods are imprecise, and a resource-intensive process is needed to record these geometries.

Zoller shows that complex measuring tasks and tool database management is not just for specialists — challenging tasks are easy to handle and can be implemented economically.

The universal measuring machine from Zoller, ThreadCheck, allows measuring of helical threading tools and hobs without distortion. It’s capable of measuring any type of metal-cutting tools in a precise and automatic manner, starting from the outer contour of tools to the user-independent complete control and thorough logging of measurement results.

With ThreadCheck, Zoller is introducing a “thread professional,” which is an extra feature that takes measuring a step further. Beyond simply measuring of all metal-cutting tools to the renowned Zoller quality standard, ThreadCheck’s new feature — a sixth axis — enables thread-cutting tools with a tapered pitch to be measured without distortion. This makes ThreadCheck a universalist and a specialist in a single system at the same time.

Figure 1

ThreadCheck continues the well-known and proven functions of the globally established Genius series, and with its sixth axis, masters the specific requirements involved in eliminating distortion related to pitch on tapered threads.

With its functional, streamlined design and with total encasement to protect it from dirt and external light sources, ThreadCheck can be placed in a production environment. Manufactured using high-quality components, with six CNC-controlled axes and a fully automatic pivot-mounted optic carrier, ThreadCheck is able to record even highly specialized tooth flank geometries independently of the operator, inductively (i.e., without physical contact), and at the click of a mouse button. Thread geometries and a vast and diverse array of flank relief parameters can be recorded without distortion and without physical contact.

Figure 2

The automatic detection of contour and form as well as the profile on the radial relief involves a fully automated search, focus, and output process involving just three steps — all to the highest standard of precision in the micron range, even with complex flank geometries.

Seamless Documentation
Demands on grinding and sharpening businesses as well as tool manufacturers are rising, and 100-percent checking, traceability, and process safety are becoming required standard features. ThreadCheck records all measuring results seamlessly, and detailed protocols (i.e., reports) are available as a standard feature.

Moreover, the measurement of every single tooth or specific group of gear teeth is summarized and documented in a compiled protocol. When remeasuring individual parameters, it is not necessary to measure the entire tool once again. Instead, the data of individual measuring processes can be accessed in a targeted manner.

Figure 3

The Software Makes the Difference
Precision goes without saying, and the ability to implement complex measurements in an easy-to-use manner must also represent a clear economic advantage. With a high level of automation and with clearly laid-out software that is intuitive, using ThreadCheck for measurement work is simple, reliable, and cost-effective. With a large selection of Pilot 3.0 measuring programs, ThreadCheck is able to contend with a tremendously versatile range of demands.

The measurements of individual thread variants are performed in accordance with the relevant standard. Regardless of the type of thread-cutting tool that was used, the threads can be measured using ThreadCheck. The image processing system Pilot 3.0 features universal measurement programs for measuring threaded bores, milling tools, and shaping tools. It also includes measurement programs for special-purpose types of thread.

Figure 4

ThreadCheck can also record the details of unusually small and complicated flank geometries, whereas previously, it was only able to record imprecisely by means of mechanical or tactile measurements.

Integration in the Production Process
The measuring of tool parameters in a precise and fully automatic manner is one aspect; the process of reliable and efficient transfer of that data to the production process is another. These seamless operational processes are achieved through the Zoller database and through interfaces to all commonly used third-party systems, reducing time and cost, preventing machine downtime, and eliminating data input errors.

This is because ThreadCheck is not a stand-alone solution but instead is one that provides interfaces to CAD and NC programs and, by using the GDX data exchange format, to all machines as well.

Future-Proof System
To archive and administer grinding wheels and grinding wheel packages efficiently for machines and for all types of tools, ThreadCheck can be supplemented at any time by a tool management system. This means that detailed information about grinding wheel packages can be stored conveniently and merged virtually in a graphic tool assembly program, making it easy to compile and define measuring parameters for the grinding wheel packages from an office desk, in conjunction with a Zoller TMS connection.

Figure 5

With its five-plus-one axes, ThreadCheck not only delivers Zoller precision, but also takes a further step into measurement technology with seamlessly certifiable quality. Integration in the existing production process and the scope for modular expansion make ThreadCheck a system fit for the future. 

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is a measuring technology expert at Zoller Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He studied measurement engineering with specialization in industrial measurement at University Anhalt in Dessau, Germany. Stepke has been located in the U.S. since 2003, and in 2008, he started working for Zoller as service engineer, then as regional sales manager, and now as product specialist for tool inspection machines.
has been marketing manager at Zoller since 2010, and she is currently based in Pleidelsheim near Stuttgart. She has worked in numerous countries, most recently as conceptionist at a marketing agency.