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The Only Portable DCC CMM on the Market Saves Money at Every Turn

The Only Portable DCC CMM on the Market Saves Money at Every Turn

The zCAT brings portable, automatic measurement directly to the shop floor while offering significant savings on total cost of ownership.

Newton, Massachusetts - Sept. 1, 2015
- Leading high-quality inspection, leveling, control and calibration equipment supplier Fowler High Precision, announced the zCAT to the world as the very first truly portable direct computer control coordinate measuring machine (DCC CMM). With its introduction to the industrial market, the zCAT makes it possible to take automated, repeatable, accurate 3D measurements anytime, anywhere in a highly portable 30-lb., completely wireless package. The device is distinct from anything else on the market and allows customers to save substantially on total cost of ownership over competitive CMMs, beginning at initial equipment price of the device, and extending through setup, training and maintenance.

Efficient manufacturing requires customers to consistently reduce shop costs and the zCAT is uniquely positioned to do just that without compromising accuracy, performance or processes. Because the zCAT is manufactured as a compact, self-contained unit and fundamentally different than existing CMM technology, design and operation, the machine is less expensive than a conventional CMM, yet extremely versatile.

The zCAT stands 620 mm tall by 420 mm wide with a 172-mm-diameter base, and is portable enough to take measurements inside or outside of a part, on a conference table or even a desk. With rotary motion as the zCAT’s primary axis, the base of the device rotates 360 degrees, allowing for parts to be nested all around the device’s perimeter to conduct multiple measurements at one time.

As a true, out-of-the-box DCC CMM, companies can take measurements within minutes. No lengthy calibration is required with the zCAT, while calibration, setup and training time for a traditional, non-portable CMM can mean waiting 8 weeks or longer to be up and running. Additionally, a manufacturer can own 2 or 3 zCATs for the cost of a single, typical conventional CMM without compromising accuracy and repeatability versus a standard CMM of comparable range.

High-quality Measurements Made Easier and Less Expensive

At less than 30 lbs, the incredibly portable zCAT can be used anywhere. The zCAT runs on 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. An intuitive, icon-driven touchscreen streamlines operations. WiFi capabilities allow for automatic downloads of data collection in any format the user requires—even an Excel spreadsheet with the included zCAT Wedge Excel export software.

One of the most significant cost-savers of the zCAT, aside from its versatility and lower price point, is training time and training costs. A lower threshold of training, along with the zCAT’s portability, means companies do not need to dedicate specific employees or specific square footage in the building to handle CMM operations. The same person making the part can now measure the part, reducing inspection backlog and fixing problems faster at the point of manufacture. With accuracies 3 to 5 times higher than many manual, portable CMMs on the market, users can save themselves from the expenses brought on by user error or incorrect measurements, as well.

Any operator with reasonable experience can be completely trained on the zCAT within 1 or 2 days. Most users can take simple measurements within 15 minutes of training and put together more complicated programs within a couple of hours. Training also is done on-site, saving customers money otherwise spent on costly off-site training classes, daily travel fees and expenses.

Lower training time is made possible by the zCAT’s revolutionary, patented teach and repeat programming mode. Operators simply move the probe manually around the dimensions to be measured and the zCAT can save and repeat the measurements at machine speeds of up to 150 mmps. Not available on any other competitive CMM today, the teach and repeat mode is an inherently different and simple way for operators to write complex 2D or 3D measurement programs on the zCAT and single-handedly lower the training threshold immensely compared with the complexity of programming conventional CMMs.

Savings Continue After Acquisition

The cost savings of the zCAT do not stop with acquisition, set-up and training, however. While companies typically pay for yearly licensing, maintenance and upgrades for a conventional CMM and its measurement software, the zCAT further sets itself apart from others in the industry by offering its built-in ControlCAT geometric measurement software without licensing or upgrade fees. In addition, the zCAT’s open architecture I++ software interface gives it the capability to communicate with many industry standard CMM software packages. Fowler will offer the powerful and easy to use MK4 zCAT 3D software as an optional item. Along with its modules it will allow customers to do 2D and 3D sophisticated measurements. As the zCAT measures the MK4 will draw the part on the screen. CAD programming module, Offline programing, CAD Comparison, Statistical Analysis and Reverse Engineering will all be available.

While customers can benefit significantly from zero license fees and upgrade charges alone, users can save money on the actual maintenance of the zCAT itself. The portable DCC CMM arrives to the customer in a reusable shipping container, which can be shipped back to the manufacturer for service. Due to the zCAT’s size and weight, shipping is simple, and users do not have to lose valuable production time waiting for in-house service calls to be scheduled and completed.

Every aspect of the zCAT is unique in the measurement industry, from its lower cost of ownership, to its portability, to its accuracy and ease of use. Now, for the first time ever, companies can bring affordable, automated, repeatable quality control anywhere the application calls with an incomparable device fundamentally different than anything else on the market today. Fowler High Precision is currently accepting orders for the U.S.A.-made zCAT, expected to ship in September 2015. 

About Fowler High Precision 

Fowler High Precision is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts. The company is globally recognized as a leading supplier of high-quality inspection, leveling, control and calibration equipment. Fowler High Precision has been in business since 1946, and represents well-known brands in the industry such as Wyler, Sylvac, Bowers and Trimos throughout the United States and Mexico.