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Upgraded machine tool performance monitoring device receives worldwide acclaim

Renishaw's QC20-W telescoping ballbar was launched in November 2009 to address customer requests for a revised and improved product. Since then it has had a significant impact on CNC machine testing around the world as reflected in customer feedback and increased sales.

March 2011

QC20-W ballbar with Bluetooth logoLaunched in November 2009, Renishaw's QC20-W telescoping ballbar which incorporates Bluetooth® wireless technology has had a significant impact on CNC machine testing around the world. Many customers have found that the new QC20-W ballbar offers significant advantages over Renishaw's QC10 product, which was for many years the industry standard test for machine tool performance.

One of the very first customers for QC20-W was NC Service, a Swedish machine tool service and maintenance company, who work with many important CNC machine users. Speaking recently about his experiences of the new system, Peter Jönsson, Managing Director of NC Service, said that, “since switching over to QC20-W ballbar the setup-time has been greatly reduced, speeding up our operations. We no longer have trouble with the cable anymore which ensures a safer operation as we can operate the test from outside the closed safety doors”.

At the time of purchasing the QC20-W ballbar, Peter Jönsson remarked how much he was looking forward to using the ‘volumetric analysis' function and he confirms that NC Service is now utilising this functionality in most of their testing. He also explained that “Ballbar20 software is very easy-to-use and my operators found the transition to the new software very smooth due to its similarity with the QC10 software”.

UK-based service and maintenance provider, Dave Wigmore of Wigmore CNC, is also impressed with the new ballbar system. “As a CNC maintenance service provider, the ballbar is considered crucial to machine tool servicing. The QC20-W data is analysed by the software to find machine errors that would normally go undetected, such as the loss of ballscrew preload, and therefore gives you the option of a repair instead of a costly ballscrew at a later date. If you are serious about CNC machine tool maintenance then using QC20-W ballbar is a major tool in machine tool servicing, helping to foresee costly major repairs that can be avoided with corrective maintenance.”

A key feature of QC20-W is the use of Bluetooth® wireless technology which allows simplified and consistent ballbar testing in 3 orthogonal planes. A single, simple hardware set up gives quicker testing and the ability to produce a representative volumetric measurement of positioning accuracy. As always Renishaw's ballbar enables the user to quickly diagnose and quantify machine positioning errors and give an overall 'circularity' error value as per ISO and other standards. Language support is currently being extended to cover, Portuguese, Romanian, Turkish, Swedish and Hungarian; a demonstration of QC20-W's worldwide appeal.

Both software and key hardware features ensure backward compatibility for the thousands of QC10 system users worldwide by providing stress free upgrades and minimising the costs of moving to the new system, or working alongside existing QC10 systems. Renishaw offers an exchange QC20-W upgrade kit to QC10 ballbar users at a very competitive price. The upgrade kit is supplied as standard with an insert for fitting into the current QC10 case, with options for a new system case and for carrying out the new 3 plane testing.

Additional product testimonials have also been received from satisfied customers:

“The new QC20-W wireless ballbar allows me to rapidly assess the volumetric performance of a machine, without compromising safe working practices. As the only AS 9100 certified company in the USA for on-site laser alignment, laser interferometry and calibration of machine tools services, we are committed to using only the best equipment available. I cannot imagine trying to do my job without QC20-W” - Michael Schraufnagel, Owner and Chief Technician, Quality Tech Services, Georgia, USA (service and maintenance provider)

When I asked my maintenance team and production engineers what they thought of their new QC20-W ballbar, they replied “QC20-W wireless ballbar is simple to use and always gives straight forward no nonsense results. Just Brilliant” – John Curtis, Assistant Maintenance Manager, Spirax Sarco, UK (manufacturer industrial plant)

“The QC10 ballbar has been an invaluable tool in assessing a machine's condition and has become the corner pin in our service and quality program. The cordless feature of the QC20 and its improved test features has not only made the instrument easier to use but also safer” - Robert Monkhouse, Machine Shop Maintenance Engineer, Sandvik Medical Solutions, UK (manufacturer medical products)

“I am so happy that the cable is not there anymore. From a safety point of view, not climbing into the machine is much better and not having to move the PC about when testing a CNC machine with a length over 11 metres is also a big advantage. This is down to the wireless communications which works perfectly” - Roelof Domine, Maintenance Engineer, Fokker Aerostructures BV, Netherlands (airframe manufacturer)

“Having used a QC10 ballbar for over 10 years, when it failed we asked Renishaw for a repair but we were pleased to find that the price of an upgrade to QC20-W was only slightly higher than the repair so we decided to invest in new technology. Our first experience with QC20-W ballbar exceeded all our expectations. QC20-W ballbar is easy to use and set up is quick and seamless as well. We no longer have problems with the cable wrapping. Our safety officer is also very happy as we are now able to perform measurements with the machine doors closed” – Mr Tomas Sykora, Maintenance Engineer, Knorr-Bremse Systémy pro užitková vozidla, CR, s.r.o, Czech Republic (truck brake systems manufacturer)

“At PAMA we build very large machine tools. The wireless operation of our new QC20-W ballbars allows the operator to run tests standing by the controller keyboard, making operation easier and safer” – Maurizio Chini, PAMA SpA, Quality and Test Manager, Italy (machine tool OEM)

More information about Renishaw's calibration and performance monitoring products can be found at

The Bluetooth word mark and logos are owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Renishaw plc is under license. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners

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