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Supplier Keeps a Steady Eye on Medical Device Parts

MD&M Midwest 2010 First-Time Exhibitor Coverage

Equipped with a contact and an optical sensor, the O-inspect CMM is suitable for medical device applications in which many components must be measured quickly with high accuracy.

For decades, Carl Zeiss has been known for manufacturing precision optics used in an array of products--from microscopes and cameras to electrooptical equipment and telescopes. But today, nearly 200 years after the birth of Carl Friedrich Zeiss in Weimar, Germany, the firm offers much more than lenses.

The history of Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology Corp. (IMT; Maple Grove, MN) dates back to 1919, when the company's founders launched a precision measuring business in Germany that designed and manufactured screw gauges, dial gauges, and other instrumentation. Over the next several decades, there were many milestones, including the introduction of the optimeter, the first universal measuring microscope, the first high-precision CNC coordinate-measuring machine (CMM), and VAST active scanning sensor technology, remarks Janelle Gregerson, marketing communications specialist at Carl Zeiss IMT.

After the Second World War, two Zeiss companies emerged across the Cold War divide separating East and West Germany: VEB Zeiss Jena in East Germany and Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, West Germany. Eventually, the western firm expanded internationally, laying the basis for the U.S. branch of Carl Zeiss IMT in 1989 by acquiring Numerex, a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of bridge-type CMMs. A few years later, Carl Zeiss IMT built its own 90,000-sq-ft facility in Maple Grove.

Carl Zeiss IMT informally got its start in the medical device manufacturing sector by helping the Zeiss medical division to produce quality inspection equipment. In its first forays into the industry, the company provided CMMs tailored specifically to the medical market, Gregerson says.

"Besides being the world leader in CNC coordinate-measuring machines, the company's industrial metrology business provides multidimensional metrology equipment for the lab and shop floor," Gregerson notes. Thus, the company offers bridge-type, horizontal-arm, and inline measuring machines, as well as form-, contour-, and surface-measuring machines.

Among the company's offerings are the F25 microsystem CMM and the Metrotom system, a CT-based CMM that enables users to perform tomography on parts and independently perform measurements and material inspections on the resulting 3-D models. The company also provides measurement services and hardware retrofits.

The O-inspect is an example of the type of CMM that the company will be highlighting at MD&M Midwest, according to Gregerson. Equipped with a contact and an optical sensor, it is suitable for medical device applications in which a large number of components must be measured quickly with high accuracy. "The bottom line," Gregerson says, "is that this multisensor CMM combines the best measuring technology with the best optics."
Carl Zeiss IMT Corp.
Booth #4307

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