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ZEISS XENOS measuring machine is venturing into new dimensions of accuracy and dynamics

On to New Dimensions in Precision

With its new coordinate measuring machine, ZEISS XENOS, ZEISS is setting a new standard in precision: featuring length measurement error of just 0.3 micrometers, this measuring machine offers unparalleled accuracy in this class. ZEISS XENOS will be officially introduced at the CONTROL show in Stuttgart, Germany, beginning 6 May 2014. This coordinate measuring machine is used for applications that require maximum accuracy and in reference labs.


measuring machine

ZEISS XENOS measuring machine
Photo by Carl Zeiss IMT GmbH

“All standard measuring machines can only be optimized up to a certain level. Sooner or later, this potential is exhausted,” explains Konrad Werner, ZEISS XENOS Product Manager. This machine is therefore an absolutely new development. ZEISS XENOS stands for accuracy and future proofness thanks to the use of innovative technologies and materials. It offers a measuring range of just about one cubic meter. The engineers at ZEISS took a new approach in the development in order to set a new standard in precision with this measuring volume, while also increasing the measuring speed. Together, the weight reduction and constantly moving masses enable optimal coordination of the drives regarding acceleration and maximum speed.

Virtual central drive

Unlike other systems, the ZEISS XENOS uses linear drives on all axes instead of friction drives. “This provides clear benefits, such as very fast acceleration and generally high speed, as well as high positioning accuracy and shear force-free drives,” says Werner. Thanks to the overall concept, it was possible for the first time to decouple the force transmission of the linear drives of the guideways and measuring system. Taking into account the high-resolution scales on ZEISS XENOS, the new drive technology results in very high path adherence and extremely high positioning accuracy clearly below 100 nanometers. One benefit of the very high path adherence is evident when measuring curved surfaces: “The more reliably and accurately a stylus follows the specified path, the more precisely errors can be determined,” says Werner.

Material for maximum demands

For the first time, ZEISS used an innovative silicone-carbide ceramic for the parts of the machine structure relevant to accuracy. Unlike the white standard ceramic, the black silicone-carbide ceramic exhibits around50 percent lower thermal expansion, up to 30 percent higher rigidity and 20 percent less weight. Compared to steel, it delivers twice the rigidity at half the weight.

ZEISS XENOS also features many other innovations. This includes the enhancement of the ZEISS VAST gold reference probe and its optimal integration for better accuracy and repeatability. However, the basis of precision lies in the Zerodur scales with virtually zero thermal expansion. “Our approach with ZEISS XENOS was to uncompromisingly push the limits of mechanical precision,” says Product Manager Konrad Werner. The intention was also to eliminate hysteresis influences and to use the computer only for the last bit. “We are certain that we have achieved maximum precision with ideal repeatability.” 

Visit the online stand of Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology on EXPO21XX.com