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Keynote Papers

Geometric Error Measurement and Compensation of Machines

S. Sartori ( I ) , CNR, Institute of Metrology 'G. Colonnetti', Torino, Italy; G. X. Zhang (11, University of Tianjin, China


Methods for geometric error measurement are classified in direct and self-calibration, according to the use of calibrated or uncalibrated standard and to the strategy for the generation of information about errors. A vectorial equation for geometric error description is presented, which is independent from the machine structure. The evaluation of measurement effectiveness is discussed and error compensation methods and strategies are examined. The reasons why software compensation techniques are applied at production level to CMM and not to machine tools are discussed. Some topics for implementation are proposed. Kevwords: Machine, Geometric modelling, Compensation

With contributions from [ = member of CIRP]: A. Balsamo*/ P.C. Cresto, IMGC-CNR, Torino, Italy J. Bryan*, Pleasanton, USA J. Corbet', Cranfield University, United Kingdom G. Costelli, DEA, Torino, Italy c. Evans*, NIST, Washington, D.C. USA R. Hocken", University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA J. Jednejewski*MI. Modnycki,Technical University Wroclaw, Poland S. Kikuchi,Mitutoyo, Japan W. Knapp", Schleiieim, Switzerland J.P. Kruth", Katholiike Universiteit Leuven, Belgium H. Kunzmann*/E. Trapet, PTB, Braunschweig, Germany P.A. McKeown*l R. May-Miller, CranfBld Precision Engineering, United Kingdom H.J. NeumannlR. Ohnheiser, Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Germany G.N. Peggs*,NPL, Teddington, United Kingdom J. PettaveWC. Fleury, SIP, Geneva, Switzerland F. Rehsteiner", ETH, Zurich, Swiherland H. sate", Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan P. Schellekens*/ H.A. Soons, Universii of Technology, Eindhown, Netherlands G. SpufVC. Sanft, Technische Universitat Berlin, Germany D.C. Thompson, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,

E.G. Thwaite*, CSIRO, Lindfield, Australia

H.Weber, Leb Mefitechnik,Wetzlar, Germany

1977. Since then there has been an explosion of activities: key concepts have been introduced by a number of authors [26, 27, 36, 44, 47, 52, 131 and implemented in a variety of commercially available machines. The reason for adopting geometrical error measurement and compensation by software techniques is summarised by Thompson in [46] who states that The availability of modern computational tools makes the application of active and precalibrated error compensation an economical alternative to designing and building for absolute accuracy. Thus the mechanical accuracy of the machine need only be sufficient to allow error compensation to the desired level of accuracy, with the proviso that the error characteristics (e.g. repeatabihty, spatial rate of change) be compatible with the error compensation system (e.g. resolution, spatial correction frequency, servo perfomance): Through an analysis of the state of the art of geometric error measurement and compensation, often referred to as software compensation, in the present paper it is the intention: 1. to compare different techniques, to define the limits of their validity and costs, and to discuss other remaining unsolved problems; and 2. to describe software compensation in CMMs as an example of intelligent instrument implementation and to derive general concepts for intelligent instrument design, from this example. 1.1. To establish a common language An e m r is defined as the measured difference between the measuring instrument indication and the known value of the measurand it is measuring. The numerical value of an error changed in sign can be applied as a correction. A definition for error, specifically related to the discussion of machine tool deviations from accurate performance, is stated in reference [28]: "the difference between the actual response of a machine to a command issued according to the accepted protocol of that machine's operation and the response to that command anticipated by the protocol*. Any result of measurement, as well as errors and corrections, has an associated quantifiable uncertainty. For the definition and the expression of uncertainty in measurement see reference [8]. Calibration is an experimental procedure which permits the determination of errors with respect to system indica-

Compensation for systematic errors in machine tools and measuring machines (CMM) has a long history which is described in a book by Evans [23]. Widespread application of these ideas is more recent. Some time before 1830, Edward Troughton used a look-up table (literally) of previously measured, repeatable, displacement errors to correct the position of the slideway on his linear dividing engine used to manufacture scales. Troughton's contemporaries Maudslay and Donking - were using leadscrew correction of the type popularised by Thury at SIP more than 50 years later. The mechanical correction of machine errors dominated for well over 100 years. Interest in software based error compensation schemes blossomed in the 1970s, the first practical implementation perhaps being on a Moore N.5 CMM - work which earned Prof. R. Hocken [27] the ClRP Taylor Medal in

Annals of the ClRP Vol. 44/2/1995


tions. These system indications, when corrected, are required to be traceable to recognized reference standards. Traceability is therefore an attribute of a result of measurement and it is achieved within a stated uncertainty. Of course, any calibration result is valid only under specified conditions. Error measurement, or error mapping of a machine, when performed to map a specified category of errors under defined operative conditions, is used here as a synonym for calibration. Error measurement is not only made for error compensation of a CMM or machine tool, when an entire error mapping is necessary, but also to discover problems in the design in the development stage, for readjustment and reworking in the manufacturing stage, for acceptance testing, for periodic reverification and for renewing the data for error compensation during the life of the machine. In this paper attention will be concentrated on error measurement made for their subsequent compensation. &or compensation2 is here used as a label to describe the procedure, generally implemented by the manufacturer after the calibration procedure, which applies corrections to the measurement system. Calibration (error measurement) and software compensation (error compensation) are therefore carried out at significantly different times (non-real-time error compensation). Phase A: Geometric error measurement Nominal position Actual position

tions of measured variables -will be computed. The ideal mathematical model, stored in computer memory, and the error functions represent conceptually the metrology frame for the machine in an open-loop compensation technique doing, at a lower cost, the job done by the built in metrology in the active error reduction closed-loop technique.
1.2. Diffemnces between the application of software compensation to machine tools and

When we look at the development of machine tools and CMMs we see some essential differences. Machine tools have many specialised mechanical structures (for turning, milling, boring, grinding, lapping, etc.); statistical analysis of the dispersion of the geometrical characteristics of the manufactured components is applied, which is conceptually similar to an uncertainty evaluation. Error reduction is made mainly by applying mechanical compensation (by cams, counteweights, etc.) or AER techniques. Despite being very advanced mechanically few machine tools have taken full advantage of the latest developments in computing technology. Some of the earlier CMMs were originally derived from co-ordinate drilling (boring) machine tools; similar CMMs are used in all industries: shoe makers and aeroplane manufacturers use basically the same CMM structure. Even though the CMM is unequivocally the more advanced measuring instrument, no facilities for uncertainty evaluation are provided by the manufacturer, only indications of the limit of error, related to specified measuring tasks. On the other hand, error compensation by software techniques is fully implemented. We have a very versatile system, where mechanics, electronics and CNC are closely integrated and frequently much more advanced than the metrological characterisation of the instrument. The differences between machine tools and CMMs, often more in the degrees than in the substance, come about because of the different tasks they perform. Different forces are involved; important internal heating sources are present in machine tools and thermal problems are less easy to model; wear and thermal effects of the tool need to be considered in machine tools. (Spur and Sanft [I remind us that thermal influences, which can be attributed to different temperatures between the probe and the workpiece, to temperature variations during probe calibration and the measuring process, to internal sources of heat, are also present in CMM probes. They also point out that thermal and wear effects in high-speed scanning CMM should be investigated.) Air bearing are quite often used in CMMs, seldom in machine tools. Functional differences between machine tools and CMMs explain the reason why different compensation techniques are adopted. For example, in a CMM the contact point between the stylus and the piece is the measuring point: therefore the error compensation vector is only a three component vector. In a machine tool a point (position of a reference point of the tool) and an attitude (tool attitude) must be considered. Therefore the error compensation vector is a five or six component vector. Of course there are exceptions. In a CMM with a TV camera as probe, a five component error compensation vector is necessary. In a machine tool a compensation system for machining errors in turning has been realised [3] by using a scalar function and modifying numerical control commands. Machine tool error compensation must be a real time operation which actually affects carnage and tool positions; in the CMM the operation can be used to correct the values of the co-ordinates measured. There are exceptions: Knapp [*] points out that a pre-compensation on num-

Figure 1: The two phases of geometric error measurement and compensation. When the two phases are considered together, the control loop is closed.

A special class of error compensation called reabtime active error reduction (AER) is a closed-loop technique with the need for built in metrology (the metrology frame [37]). The advantage of AER is that all errors - systematic and random - can be compensated. There are two fundamental different ways to compensate errors in machines; for instance, a straightness error of a carriage guide can be compensated, either by purely hardware techniques, e.g. scraping the guide, or by software techniques, modifying numbers indicating the carriage transversal position3. In this paper we will deal only with error compensation by software. Software compensation techniques require that error descriptions are stored in the computer memory. To reduce the number of points where errors must be measured it is necessary to have a mathematical model of the ideal machine behaviour. From few measurements either the coefficients of the model or the error components - funcThe word calibration is generally used with reference to a measuring instrument, while error measurement is applied to a non measuring system, like a machine tool. Also historical reasons must be recalled to explain the use of the three different words - reduction, correction and compensation which describe nearly the same concept. Catchwords for the two techniques described could be error lapping and error mapping and compensating.


bers (tool path) is possible in a machine tool. A questionnaire was sent to six CMM manufacturers: five of them answered and three of the five stated that their CMMs are corrected as well by modifying signals to sew0 systems. The robustness and reliability of machine tool error compensation must be higher than that for a CMM for reasons of safety; but Knapp ["I has remarked that potential dangers associated with fast scanning CMMs are quite similar to the dangers of machine tools. The relation between design and the possibility of error compensation for machine tools is summarised by McKeown and May-Miller ['I: "the development of machine tools to today's ultra-precision performance levels has been heavi7y dependent on the continuous refinement and improvement of machine sub-system such as spindles, guideways, servo drive actuators and temperature control systems to greatly reduce asynchronous (spindle errors), "apparently-random"and driff errors; error compensation can then be applied to the remaining systematic error element". A difference in levels of accuracy and repeatability required in machine tools and CMMs is debatable. Without doubt a CMM which has to prove conformance or nonconformance with a specification of geometrical characteristics of a workpiece produced by a machine tool, must have an accuracy better than the machine tool's. It is also unquestionable that with a repeatable machine tool it is easier to produce products with constant quality than with the aid of a traceable machine tool, if its traceability is only assured within a large uncertainty. Bryan ["I consulted a number of his colleagues concerning the need for machine tools to be accurate or just repeatable: 'they all think that machine tools need to be both accurate and repeatable. But the exceptions are interesting: David McMurty, Chairman of Renishaw, thinks that for his special purposes at Renishaw there is no need for machine tool accuracy, only for repeatability. He says that his finish cuts are also his roughing cuts and that the deflection of the machine due to cutting forces dominates the error budget. He says he would need to make corrections even if he had a perfect machine, so why pay for a perfect machine. He depends on a traceable CMM to provide the necessary corrections to the machine toor. Some facts seem to support McMurty's opinion: AER techniques, able to compensate also random errors and consequently able to improve repeatability, are used in a few machine tools, while software compensation techniques are in practice confined to CMMs. The CMM numeric control is generally made by the CMM manufacturer, as it is easy to integrate error compensation; the machine tool numeric control is usually purchased and the machine tool manufacturer can only modify signals to the numeric control.

ing of geometric error measurement and compensation by software techniques and only limited application of these techniques in machine tool production. As a conclusion we may mention Schellekens' opinion [']: "error compensation of machine tools is not common and, as far as we know, only limited error compensation of machine tools is available". McKeown and May-Miller agree ['I: "soffware 3 0 error compensation is now widely applied to higher accuracy CMMs but much less in CNC machine tools". It seems that little progress has been made since Hocken's 1980 conclusion [28]: "there does not exist a quantitative technique to translate machine tool errors into part errors and the reverse".
1.3. Conditions for error compensation Only systematic errors can be compensated. It is worthwhile compensating them if the following conditions apply: I . The systematic error to be compensated should be significantly greater than the random errors; i.e. the machine must be repeatable. 2. Expected advantages, i.e. accuracy improvement, must justify compensation costs. 3. Spatial rate of change of errors must be low compared to dimensional standard intervals used to measure them. This point highlights the differences between continuous standards, like laser interferometers, and discontinuous standards, like ball bars, step gauges and ball-plates, used for error measurement. 4. The machine must have an absolute co-ordinate system; the uncertainty in its origin must be lower than the spatial rate of change of errors. 5. Servo and/or computer performance (resolution, spatial correction frequency, calculation speed, ..) must be adequate. 6. A suitable machine model must be available, from which an error mathematical model, establishing the functional relation between source errors and final errors, is derivable and for which model parameters can be experimentally measured. A SimDlified error model can reduce the number of measurements that must be made to collect information about errors in the machine working volume. With a significant error change at intervals of 50 mm and a working volume in the range of 1 m 3 , 27 thousand measurements of volumetric error components are needed if no error mathematical model exists. Moreover results are valid only under the prevailing environmental conditions. Considering only geometric error sources, the geometric error model makes it possible to determine the volumetric errors from the measured geometric errors - later on called geometric error functions. This process is reversible. By measuring the volumetric errors along certain lines or planes, it is possible to determine the geometric error functions. It is also possible to determine volumetric errors within the whole working volume or measuring volumetric errors along certain lines or planes. This is the foundation of both direct and self-calibration methods for error function measurement. The cost of compensation needs to be examined in relation to how it is to be applied: 0 individual application (errors are measured for each individual machine): a careful assessment of measurement and compensation costs is needed in this case. Geometrical errors are different from one machine to another. Their measurement should require no longer than one day. The need to limit the time spent on measurement explains the large number of methods being studied.

Nominal position

Actual position

Figure 2: The active error reduction in a machine tool. When the i ia delay is equal to one sampling step of the dgt l control system and references are the internal metrology frame, then the machine is rewtable and traceable. When the delay is equal to the machining cycle and references are external, e.g. a CMM, then the machine W is required to be repeatable only and the traceability is entrusted to the CMM.

It is the sum of all the listed differences, including costs, that explains the general application in CMM manufactur-


0 class application (the case of thermal error compensation): the measurement costs are reduced because they can be spread over all the machines of the same model.

2. Geometric error measurement and comwnsation

Software compensation is a three step procedure: The complex machine structure is described by a kinematic model which should be simple but reproduce adequately the real machine behaviour and performance of the machine. The geometric aspects of this simplified description are expressed in a mathematical model, the geometric error model. An experimental procedure is established to measure, directly or indirectly, the parameters of the geometric error model. Experimental results are processed, when necessary, to calculate the parameters charactensing the geometric error model, to finally obtain the error functions4. The effectiveness of results, i.e. how they reproduce machine behaviour, is evaluated. Error compensation tables or functions are constructed and then applied to the machine during its use for enhancing its accuracy.

2.1. The choice of a machine geometric e m r model The principle of superposition is universally assumed when models for software error compensation are applied. Errors due to different causes, for example position, direction, speed, acceleration, temperature distribution, load distribution, time, measurement strategy, software programs, etc., are studied separately and their effects are finally added, with the implicit assumption that they are independent. The machine is viewed as a linear system: each error component has causes that can be isolated and controlled or measured. The basic assumptions outlined by Donaldson in his contribution to [28] are still valid. To the authors' knowledge all the geometric error models used in industrial practice have constant and independent equation coefficients throughout. Some studies are in progress in CMM industrial production to allow real-time compensation of coefficients for machine temperature to be appliedJ. Similar prototype applications in machine tools will be described later. A convenient vectorial equation6 for geometric error de2.2. E m r function measurements8 scription (machine geometric error model) is: Any e = 6 x + 6 ~ + 6 ~ + x ~ h x + ~ ~ h , + ~ ~ ~ h ~ method for error function measurements should (1) meet the following requirements: where 1. Identity: the machine should be calibrated in the same way as it is used. Cutting tests for machine tool meet this requirement, but it is difficult to deduce the geometric error functions from those tests. Jedrzejewski [I notes: "but as the most useful the thermal ' 6i (j), with i and j = x, y, z, are nine translation error and dynamic displacement components of final geofunctions, where subscript i refers to the error direction metrical error transformed on workpiece should be taken into consideration, what evidently is difficult to The computation process is sometimes called the do: identification process. 2. Completeness: measurements reveal machine erTrapet notes [*] that thermal correction including gradirors in the whole working volume and under all specients has been implemented commercially, together with fied working conditions. geometric error compensation, since 1988 on CMMs. Other forms for equation (1) have been proposed, for example in reference [60]where reference is made to Here a classification of error function measurements in table co-ordinates, while here tool/tip co-ordinates are direct and self-calibration methods is proposed. It is used. The different choices can produce differences of partially arbitrary, because other intermediate methods sign of some kinematic functions. or other classifications are possible. The proposed The symbol A represents the vector product; when the classification points out conceptual aspects of fundaequation is applied great care must be paid to signs of mental experimental techniques. However a direct such products. IS0 230-1 suggests notations different method can use self-calibration techniques to determine from those here used. some kinematic functions.

and j to the moving axis; squareness errors are implicitly included in three 6, (j) functions ( i # j); E, (j) are nine rotation error functions, with i the axis around which rotation occurs. 6, (j) and E~(j) are often called kinematic error functions. Vectors hx, hy, hz have been called effective Abbe offsets [4, 591 and are formed by the probe offset components ( p , p , p,) and by the probe tip co-ordinates (x, y, z). Equakon (1) describes geometrical errors of a three coordinate machine, where four rigid bodies are kinematically linked to one another: a machine base and three carriages moving in orthogonal directions; one of the bodies supports the workpiece and another the probehool. It is possible to describe with this same equation any machine structure if the sequence x, y, z used is the intrinsic axis order [57] (not necessarily axis names chosen by the machine manufacturer). The intrinsic kinematic sequence considers by convention that: body one supports the workpiece and x is the direction of the guide connecting it to the adjacent body; z is the direction of the guide connecting the body supporting the probehool to its neighbour; y is the direction of the remaining guide. According to equation (I), the kinematic functions (positioning errors) describe the motion of bodies 2,3 and 4 in relation to body 1. The assumption of rigid bodies and kinematic links is necessary if each of the 18 error functions is to be considered as a function of only one variable; all the other assumptions that apply to equation (1) are summarised in [7]. The kinematic link assumption is easily applied to CMMs, less easily to machine tools. Equation (1) can be applied also to machines which suffer elastic deformation of their guides due to machine component mass (gravity), provided each deformation is a function of only one motion variable. The name quasirigid model is used to describe this situation and when the assumption of strict rigidity is confined to the probe system and to the table supporting the workpiece. The description by only one equation for any machine structure behaviour is very important because this allows the realisation of computation software programs which are transportable from one machine type to another, reducing development costs considerably. A generalisation of the error model equation to multi-axis machines can be found in references [43, 21, 501. Non rigid body effects are described in reference [45].



3. Simplicity: instruments used for measurements should be inexpensive and require simple operations which can be performed quickly without specific training. When measurements have to be done on site portability of measuring equipment also becomes important . 4. Accuracy and traceability of results: because errors are measured for subsequent machine compensation, the uncertainty within which errors are known and traceable to accepted standards must meet the required machine accuracy. Because the machine accuracy must be guaranteed in its environment and during its entire life, error measurements should be performed after the machine is properly installed and repeated at regular intervals. 2-2.1. Direct methods Direct methods, sometimes called parametric methods, of geometric error measurement use specific experimental set ups to measure each individual error source. These techniques are fully exploited by machine manufacturer~~ mainly because they give direct evidence of mechanical accuracy. Practical applications can be classified into two categories: Use of a different reference standard for each type of error function: a length/displacement standard is used functions, when i = j; to determine short to measure 8,Q) period errors, such as subdivision errors of scales, continuous standards like laser interferometers are best used (however, in this case CMM probe errors are not included), but to reduce costs and avoid some difficulties, material discontinuous standards can be used. A straightness standard is used to measure ijI(j) functions, when i f j; and so on. In the figure 3 different types of error functions and instruments used to measure them are listedlO. Methods and instruments are described for example in references [54, 21. The main advantage in applying direct methods is that well established methods are employed. Disadvantages are: first, the need to maintain many different and expensive standards/instruments; second, when compared with other methods, the close attention to be paid to sign conventions of error functions when combining them to calculate corrections as well as the need for a skilled operator. The capability to measure automatically is not used and identity and simplicity requirements are not fulfilled. Two serious problems are inherent in this technique. First, the error measurement procedure is essentially different from the situation when the compensation is applied, i.e. the machine interacts with fundamentally and structurally different objects. Second, the uncertainties in error function measurement are combined together when compensations are calculated, without any statistical averaging. These problems are the consequence of pulling the machine inside the measuring length or volume of external instruments, contravening the identity requirement. To simplify procedures, to reduce the.cost of the periodic calibration of instruments and to increase measurement

accuracy, some manufacturers do not use laser interferometers for measuring position components of 8,(j) functions (i = j). Consequently problems connected with wavelength calibration, index of refraction of air and alignment of the interferometer are avoided. The total length of each machine scale is calibrated by comparing it to a material length standard (PettavellFleury [*I). Some scholars treat this method as an application of the concepts of self-calibration and scale factors we will consider later.
Type of geometrical error

Positioning errors (8Jj) when i=j; 3 error functions)

Straightness error motions (SJj) when i#j; 6 error functions)

Angular error motions ( ~ ~ 3 jroll components ( ); when i=j; 3 yaw components and 3 pitch components when i+j)



References and devices Laser interferometers 0 Set of gauge blocks / end bars 0 Stepgauges 0 Ball arrays Straightness references: 0 tautwire 0 mechanical and optical straightedge 0 wing reflector 0 laserbeam Displacement indicator: 0 capacitance gage 0 electronic gage and LVDT 0 plane mirror laser interferometer 0 photodiode 0 Autocollimator 0 Angular laser interferometer 0 Mechanical level 0 Electronic level 0 Straightness measuring devices separated at certain distance 0 Mechanical square with collimator 0 Diagonal measurements 0 Collimator with optical square 0 Laser interferometer with optical square

Figure 3: References and devices used to measure geometric errors in machines. Use of a single calibrated material standard for measuring any error function: one, two or three dimension calibrated material standards can be used and will be reviewed later. The difference between machine indications and known values of the artefact co-ordinates or distances can provide both error functions and error maps directly. In this case the external standard is set inside the machine measuring volume. An interesting and widely tested variant of this technique was proposed by Physikalisch Technische Bundesantalt (PTB) researchers [49, 341 and is now codified in a Deutscher Kalibrierdienst (DKD) recommendation: a ball plate, or another equivalent 2-D calibrated artefact, is measured by the machine under test in different positions, all with the plate co-ordinate frame parallel to machine axes. By comparing results of measured errors, for example of points having the same y and z co-ordinates, it is possible to separate error functions depending only on one co-ordinate, which is x in this example. The fundamental difference between using a calibrated 2-0 artefact and self-calibration methods (described later) is the use of information derived from the variation of machine indications in any one plate position for error function

All the CMM manufacturers answering the recently circulated questionnaire use direct methods for geometric error measurement with laser interferometers, electronic levels, and so on. Two of them also use artefacts, one probably in a direct measuring method and the other for self-calibration. loaddition to the 18 error functions there is the need to In measure three angles, expressing the deviations from squareness of the three motions. In direct methods the squareness errors show up explicitly, while in selfcalibration methods they are implicitly included in three straightness error functions.


calculations. Self-calibration procedures require only the processing of variations from one position to the other. The main advantage of the PTB method is the very simple mathematics. A person having no experience in the solution of large systems of non linear equations can apply the technique on a very small computer. It is fast to apply and the standard can be tailored to the machine to save time. The disadvantage is that the experimental procedure must be followed precisely. The plate positions in the machine working volume and sphere positions on the plate must be within a few centimetres. There is also the need for a calibrated artefact, having long term stability, and a suitable infrastructureto calibrate it.

2.2.2. Self-calibration methods This technique consists of measuring spatial co-ordinates of an artefact when it is placed in different positions in the machine working volume. It is assumed the artefact point co-ordinates or distances between points are invariant with artefact position and during the time required to perform the whole set of measurements. Using an artefact where N points are defined, measured in P positions (P23), 3.N.P error equations in co-ordinates can be written, while P.N.(N-l)/2 is the total number of error equations in distances. i.e. of equations like (2). Looking at the Euclidean distance between any two artefact points A and B, geometrical invariant quantity with position Pi ( i =1, 2 ,it is possible to write a set of equa) tions in the following form, where '2 means equal in the least-square sense:

machine tools and CMMs the following aspects are relevant: 0 self-calibration is the predominant part of error measurement; self-calibration can be carried out automatically; 0 self-calibration is largely independent of the mean temperature of the environment; 0 only a scale factor need be measured using an external standard as reference, which also could provide the necessary correction when measuring consistently under conditions which differ from the standard reference conditions. Self-calibration is a procedure that minimises the cost of artefact calibration and reduces dramatically the need for long term dimensional stability (consequently production cost). The most important aspect of the self-calibration concept is separating operations connected with error measurements, which can be made automatically by the machine with no external reference, from those connected with scale factor measurements. These concepts are the basis for designing systems that are optimised for efficient calibration.

Combining the total set of these equations with equation (l), written in scalar form for each co-ordinate, we have a set of non-linear equations which have first to be linearised and then solved by classical least square techniquesll. The mathematical details have been described by many authors; see for example [41, 401 and for a more complete reference see 1161. Some recent mathematical descriptions of the procedures can be found in references (33, 18, 141. Two approaches have been proposed: The artefact is partially calibrated: distances between any two points are known and the right-hand of equation 2 can be substituted by the known value. If we use five degree polynomials for describing the 18 error functions, we have 87 unknowns [4]; using an artefact with 25 points, measured in 6 positions, 1800 equations (2) can be written and used to find the unknown coefficients. The artefact is uncalibrated:. a metric or scale factor is assumed1* and applied for the purposes of the computation, for example the uncorrected metric represented by the machine scales. In a separate procedure a scale factor is determined to give traceabiltty of machine scales to the SI metre.

2.2.3. Self-calibration and scale factors Self-calibration is a calibration procedure where, apart from traceabiltty considerations, only local standards are used as references [6]. In applying of self-calibration to
unknowns in those equations are the coefficients of the polynomials describing geometrical error functions. l2 Without a metric, if we use equation (1) directly in equation (2) will get a false minimum, corresponding we to the collapse of the machine working space into one point, because the inverse matrix is singular.
l1 The

2.2.4. Evaluation of measurement effectiveness Two years ago ClRP STCP" promoted a co-operative activity to compare the effectiveness of different techniques for measuring geometric errors in CMMs. Direct (PTB, Germany) and self-calibration (lstituto di Metrologia 'G. Colonnetti', Italy, and University of Leuven, Belgium) methods have been compared. Preliminary results referred to in the minutes of the STCP" meeting held on 199501-26 in Paris, indicate that all participants' results are compatible. The co-operative activity has allowed a study of methodologies for effective evaluation of geometric error measurement procedures and of software programs for error function computation and for geometric error compensation to be undertaken. Three points are important for effective evaluation: 1. A statistical analysis of residuals that are the errors not taken into account by the model. 2. The effect of compensating measurements made when the object is placed in positions, inside the CMM measuring volume, different from those positions used for geometric error measurement. 3. The calculation of the error map on a grid of points: compared with the error map of the same machine obtained by an independent process, can emphasise irregularities in error functions. When the effectiveness of an individual procedure is evaluated, the analysis described in point 2 above must be applied. This is the only way to close the loop compassing the error measurement and the error compensation, and so verify if the measurement process was effective. However this practice is seldom applied at manufacturing plants. For a CMM, residuals have a standard deviation approximating the machine resolution and maximum values in the range of 3 to 5 times the resolution; errors in compensated test measurements (point 2 above) are not greater than the maximum residuals. 2.2.5. 1-D, 2-D or 3-0 artefacts 7 If a two-dimensional square grid ball-plate with m2 spheres is measured in one position by a machine, the number of pieces of information contained in the differences between measured and known (or nominal) spheres distances is (2 m2 -3). Those measured distances can be grouped in (m-l).(m/2+1) classes of different lengths. To obtain the same amount of information with the use of gauge blocks or ball-bars, (m 1) (m/ 2 + 1) standards


of different length measured in (2 m2 -3) positions are ne~essary.'~ a ball plate with 5 x 5 spheres will give 1.e. 47 independent measured distances, which can be grouped in 14 classes. The same amount of information is available from 14 gauge blocks or ball-bars of different length, the shortest as long as the plate grid pitch and the longest the plate diagonal, positioned and measured in 47 different positions: or by one 1-D ball array [58] with 14 spheres in 4 positions; or by a variable length ball-bar in 47 positions. Therefore increasing the dimension, i.e. 1D to 2 0 or 3D, of the artefact provides more information but increases costs, whereas transportability, handiness and stiffness decrease. A good compromise, at least for machines with working volume in the range of a few cubic metres, is in 2-D artefacts, plates with geometrical elements mounted into them. PTB researchers have demonstrated [34] that it is possible to calibrate a ball-plate by a traditional reversing system using an uncalibrated measuring machine; only a scale factor is required (self-calibration process). A cooperative round-robin was organised by CIRP STCP", during 1993 and 1994 years, to test the PTB calibration method with, by and large, acceptable results.
2.3. E m r compensation Corrections are stored in computer memory in the form

need to select the right degree of each polynomial and consequently no risk of overfitting or underfitting. The disadvantage is the loss of any averaging effect. Both in case 2 and 3, different probeltool offsets can be readily compensated, because this is done while combining error functions. McKeown and May-Miller note [*I that methods 2 and 3 lend themselves to post-process workpiece profile error correction by enabling a tool path to be compensated. Errors measured in the workpiece caused by such factors as imperfect tool geometry and in the workpiece deformation due to non-uniform stiffness, etc. can be corrected subsequently.
2.3.1. Strategy for implementing geometric error compensation on CMMs (Bryan contribution ['I) Most of the industrially manufactured CMMs have one of the following compensation systems built in: 1. Continuous Compensation to the Feedback (CCF): i.e. the trajectory is compensated at each control system update cycle.15 2. End Point Compensation (EPC): i.e. corrections are calculated and applied only to the end point of the trajectory. 3. Final Result Compensation (FRC): compensations are mad.e only on numbers, the fin,al.calculation results. As an added complication with touch trigger probes, the scale readings and the compensation effects become available only when the probe touches the object. These techniques could be defined as Probe Triggered Measurement (PTM) and Probe Initiated Correction (PIT) techniques. However, in most cases, position information from scale readings is available independently from any probe action. In the first two cases, i.e. CCF and EPC, generally compensations are calculated twice, first to take account of carriage positioning and second, when carriage positions have been read, to take account of geometric errors before the final result is computed. For this reason and because of the need for more sophisticated servo positioning, CCF and EPC are more expensive then FRC: in addition CCF needs a higher calculation speed.

1.An error lattice (described in the following way by McKeown and May-Miller ['I): in the case of fixed probehool offset, 'error magnitudes are stored for each of a large number of points spread evenly throughout the workzone. For n points per axis in a 30 lattice, the amount of data to be stored is 3d. When linear interpolation is used between the points for which errors are recorded, the data for the eight adjacent points must also be recovered and interpolated." This solution reduces the calculation time to a minimum. It is favourable when the error functions are not single variable functions, but strikes problems when it is necessary to compensate different tool (or probe) offsets. 2.An error table (errors are function of axis position): in the case of 18 kinematic functions, each of only one variable, which is by far the most common case, the table has 18 columns (one for each function) and for n points per axis the amount of data to be stored is thereforeq418-11.Linear interpolation between points is carried out and error functions combined to obtain corrections. 3.A coefficient table: where the error functions are in analytical form (e.g. Taylor, Chebyshev or Legendre polynomials, B-splines, ..) the coefficients of polynomial are stored: if o is the order of the polynomials ( 0 is generally between 3 and 6), in the case described at point 2 the amount of data to be stored is [18-(0 + 1)211. Calculations heavier than in cases 1 and 2 have to be performed in real-time for error functions and corrections. Advantages of solution 2 are: first, points in the table are accurately measured points, if the direct method for error function measurement is applied: second, there is no

applied to

1 Camages too Direct

Method used for geometric error measurement

How probe offset

2 3 Num- Cambers ages only too Direct Direct Selfcalib-

4 Camages too Direct Selfcalib-

5 Numbers

only Direct

By the

iscommunicated user to the computer

ration By the Running By the user user twice the rou-


Stored init



15days 110% 1-50% 15% compaware compensared to tion on production costs lapping



Note that in favour of gauge blocks and ball-bars, they can be oriented in any position in the machine volume, while when a ball plate is measured in one position the orientation of each definable distance is fixed in the plate plane. l4 Hocken and Knapp ['I observe that normally 36.n data points are required for a machine tool to take into account reversal errors.


In principle CCF resembles a AER method, where the reference is the information stored in the computer memory, playing the role of a metrology frame; information should be updated at intervals to be effective. 605

positioning is still affected by errors and this can be relevant in some applications; and second because with CCF the machine can be used as a generator of straightness and squareness and its performances can be directly compared with continuous external standards (like laser interferometers). It must be remembered that the magnitude of geometrical errors usually compensated in a CMM by the manufacturer is in the range of 30 to I 0 0 pm.

2 3 2 Geometric error compensation of ma... chine tools While a general methodology for machine tool accuracy enhancement by error compensation was established in 1986 [20, 251, only limited applications are commercially available. For this reason this paragraph is more a list of examples than a systematic review. McKeown and May-Miller observe [*I that in machine tools correction, values have to be used as on-line corrections to the tool path in 2D or 3D,by servo positioning. This demands very high speed data processing and high performance servo-drivers if the machining productivlty performance is not to be reduced. Frequently only single axis 1D linear translation or "axis compensation" is used (defined by Pettavel [*I as metrological errors), typically to reduce errors caused by leadscrew progressive pitch errors, rotary encoder or linear scale errors. The more knowledgeable machine tool manufacturers use the opportunity to reduce Abbe offset errors at the same time along one, two or three carefully chosen and specified tool paths, one in each linear axis of the machine. The method of applying error compensation depends on the numerical control technique used. Examples of applications have been presented in 1986 [38, 221 and in 1989 a good summary of the compensatory control techniques was published [56]. Some very high precision diamond turning machines have been built in laboratories using active error reduction (AER) principles. These machines used "metrology frames', straightness references, laser scales and sophisticated temperature control [I 19). 0, A commercial example of AER application is given in reference [15]; X and Z linear axes are controlled by drive actuators and closed loop servo positioning based on laser interferometry (resolution 1,25 nm). The possibility of optimising the geometrical accuracy of this type of machine tool by improving the measurement of the linear motions, was investigated by incorporating a "metrology frame'. This ensures total compliance with the Abbe principle for pitch and yaw in the X Z plane at the height of the work spindle axis (see reference [37] Fig.1). The technique also enables axes straightness and orthogonality errors to be measured and sofhvare compensated. A reduction in the case of X axis straightness from 200 nm to 60 nm has been obtained. In [42] the application to a five axis milling machine of a combination of a soflware compensation technique with a AER technique is described. Geometry, temperature and force errors are taken into account: The geometry data are measured applying both direct and self-calibration methods and than stored in the memory of an external computer. 'A program reads temperature and force sensors and computes the 18 e m r terms by adding the error contributions of the temperature and of workpiece load to the geometry errors. The error terms are stored in tables. These tables are sent to the CNC every minute. The CNC reads the values of the translation and rotation error terms corresponding to axis positions. W h the aid of the full geometric e m r model, including tod length and orientation, the CNC computes the resutting workpiece to todtip errors in the X , Y and Z positions. The correction

for these errors is added to the position readings of the measuring scales." The efficiency of the error compensation, expressed as a percentage of compensated error to total measured error, was in the range 65% to 92%, with a maximum remaining error not larger than 11 pm. According to Jedrzejewski and Mdrzycki ['I contribution 'the reduction of the errors in the range of 90% and greater is realisable by the use of modelling stategy with real-time prediction of the emrs, based on the multiple regression analysis and the artiticial neural network [32, 171." Other recent applications are described in references [3, 511.

233 Temperature e f f e c t s on geometric error ... compensation The geometric errors of a machine may be measured at a temperature t which is different from 20 "C. If the temperature does not vary in time and in spacel6,these measurements can be used to generate compensations referred to 20"C, provided that the thermal expansion coefficient of the workpiece is equal to that of the standard used to measure positioning errors or scale factors on the machine. From this consideration three consequences follow: 1. it is advisable to measure the geometric errors in the environment where the machine will operate; 2. the temperature stability and uniformity in the machine working environment is more important than the temperature difference from 20 "C; 3. for measuring geometric errors of a machine, it is best to use a standard having a thermal expansion coefficient as near as possible to that of the usual workpiece. The error due to a difference Au between the thermal expansion coefficient of the workpiece and of the standard used to measure scale factors must be corrected. If active compensation systems are used during the calibration and during subsequent measurements, corrections for Au are made automatically. Those corrections are not exact because of uncertainty of the thermal expansion coefficients. The magnitude of this uncertainty can be estimated in the range o f f 10 % for gauges of the same manufacturer and up to f 25 % for different types of alloys and heat treatment of nominally the same material. But unluckily environmental temperature varies in time and in space. Bryan asserts [*I that "the ideal solution to environmental temperature problems is to place the machine in a box and use an air or liquid shower to temperature control the workpiece, the scale and the machine frame to a temperature of 20 'C. This solution has the advantage of simplicity, understandability, and minimum residual error. Integrated circuit steppers all use this a p proach. The great majority of modern machine tools are already equ@ped with boxes to protect the operator and to contain the codant and the chips. At the present time, these machines are generally not equipped with temperature controlled coolant at 20 'C. It is a relatively simple matter, however, to provide such temperature control held to a variation o f f 0, I .C patticu/ady if chi//ed water is available from the bui7ding utility system." For CMMs, probably the ideal situation is to apply the same philosophy proposed by Donmez in 1986 for machine tools [20] and applied again in 1993 by Schellekens e al. [42]; that is to modify the coefficients t of the geometric error functions according to the thermal conditions. Some CMM manufacturers are moving in this direction according to results of studies reported for exl6 Workpiece,

standard and machine have the same


amples in [48]. The thermal modelling of CMMs proposed in [5] envisaged a modification of the 18 kinematic functions. deals with errors and unThe ANSI 889.6.2 standard [I] certainties produced by average temperature other than 20 "C and temperature variations. A new IS0 guide dealing with the consequence of manufacturing and measuring at temperatures other than 20 "C is in an advanced stage of formulation. Another important reference is the contribution by Bryan [12]. For the treatment of thermal effects in general and how to compensate for them, reference can be made to two keynote papers published in the Annals of the ClRP [ I l , 551.
2.3.4. General limifs of validity of software compensation Summarising and systematising the analysis previously made, software compensation has the following limitations: Only systematic error components can be compensated and they must be significantly greater than random errors. *When an error model is used, imperfection of the model is an important limit. Any error made during the error measuring phase is interpreted as a machine error and its effects can modify error functions, giving incorrect compensations. Crest0 [Ihas observed, as a result of ' numerous experiments on CMMs, that a CMM, calibrated by direct methods and compensated for geometric error, can still give significant systematic errors which can not be described by a model based on the quasi-rigid body assumption. This seems not to happen when the same CMM is calibrated by self-calibration methods and then compensated. *The machine must have an embedded absolute coordinate system; error measurements and error compensations must be made with reference to this co-ordinate system. Short period errors" cannot be compensated and this can be a problem for scale errors, like subdivision errors. The resolution of the compensating system must be tailored to error function frequencies. The uncertainty of the origin of the absolute co-ordinate system must be lower than the period of the compensated error. *The results of software compensation depend on the thermal conditions of the machine and of objects used for its calibration. This is probably the most important limitation. The time response of the compensating system must not limit machine performance. This can be a problem when compensation is made on carriage positions because the servos generally have longer time responses than computer systems. The methods described to measure and identify geometric errors of machines, using an error model based on the quasi-rigid body assumption, by their nature can not allow separation of elastic deformations due to machine component mass from straightness motion errors. The possibility of compensating elastic deformations with cheap software technology makes it easier to design and realise light and fast CMMs; in the last 10 years the maximum motion speed achieved by a CMM has been increased by at least a factor of five. Different methods can be applied to determine if a machine meets the requirements of the quasi-rigid body model. It is possible to measure changes of the deviation from flatness of the work-table due to changing carriage
l 7 The period of the

positions [60]; is also possible to compare the angular it errors in motions along different parallel lines; and to compare length measurements made on a material standard aligned along one kinematic axis and moved into different positions on another axis, keeping the same coordinates on the other two axes. If in all these situations the observed variations are within the machine repeatability, then it meets the quasi-rigid body model. The analysis made up to now is limited to machines having three translation axes; but the extension to a rotary fourth axis is very simple. Its effect may be considered separately and then added to the other calculated geometric errors.

235 Cost considerations ... Four CMM manufacturers report that geometric error compensation by software techniques has produced a reduction of production costs, which they estimate to be between 5% and 50%. One CMM manufacturer has drawn attention to the investment cost of equipment and estimates 5 additional days for supplementary inspection. There would be different cost considerations at different stages of development of a CMM. At the beginning of the application of software technique, the reduction of production cost is undoubtedly very high. The pursuit of high repeatability, joined with high velocity, requires low clearance of air bearings and consequently a very high level of hardware geometric accuracy. The current situation can be described as follows: squareness errors and long wavelength rotation errors can be compensated with a reduction of up to 50 times (from 100 pm down to 2 Fm). Straightness errors must be reduced first by properly working the guides to obtain straight surfaces with low roughness, approximately 1 Irn of maximum straightness error each 100 mm of length; remaining cumulative straightness errors can be reduced by cheap software techniques. The balance between economic and technical reasons for software compensation is different in the machine tool case; for instance McKeown [*I says that a major guiding rule is that error reduction by a factor of 10 through software compensation is the general maximum that is reiiab/y achievable. An uncontroversial fact is the reduction of the production cost of CMMs due mainly to the application of software compensation techniques in the last 15 years: an estimate made by one manufacturer leads to a reduction of near 30 times.
Maximum error Measuring speed Translation speed
1980 (6+8D) pm 0.2mlmin 5 mlmin steel/granite 20CQ0C by lapping 1995 (3+4D) pn 0.7 m/min 26 mlmin aluminium 25"CflO"C by software

Geometric error compensation Droduction cost



Figure 5: Fifteen years of evolution of CMMs. A CMM having resolution 0,sp and working volume 1 m .0,6 m .0,5 m is considered. The production cost is net of inflation.

error shorter than the sampling interval during error measurements.

2.4. Compensation uncertainties Errors and compensations are functions of many parameters, each of them affected by uncertainty. When errors are measured by direct methods their contributions to the evaluation of uncertainty is direct. When selfcalibration methods are used, uncertainties are estimated by means of the correlation matrix, which can have dimensions up to 100 x 100. To combine individual uncer607

tainties according to the I S 0 Guide on uncertainty expression is not an easy process. One approach is to drastically simplify the model and to evaluate the uncertainty of each compensated point; an example is reported in [30].

certainty. Laboratories and industries in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are working on a European Community research project to realise the virtual CMM.
3.3. The expert CMM The expert CMM is an Italian research project [6]. It is a software program which helps the CMM operator to select the optimum measurement strategy. The required measurement uncertainty is the input to the program, in addition to the machine description, the environmental conditions and the definition of what has to be measured. The output is the suggested measurement strategy, defined as number, location and sequence of points to be measured. The expert CMM solves, to a certain degree, the inverse problem to the one solved by the virtual CMM.

3. Performance evaluation and calibration of CMMs

In document [53] and in I S 0 standard 10360 the differences between performance evaluation, periodic reverification, interim check and calibration of CMMs are clearly stated; procedures and standards are fully discussed in [39]. The machine tool case is well studied in I S 0 standards. Knapp [*I observes that significant differences between CMMs and machine tools are present: on machine tools movements need to be measured, while on CMMs the performance can be evaluated by measuring artefacts; only in the second case is the identity principle met. Calibration procedures are more complicated. As Schellekens observes [*I, I%alibration methods, both of CMMs and machine tools, should be applicable to both error compensated and uncompensatedmachines; up to now methods described in I S 0 standards are not applicable for calibration. Three cases will be examined separately, with reference to CMMs only.
3.1. Comparator and task oriented calibration An interesting proposal has been presented at the I S 0 Working Group on Co-ordinate Metrology by the German delegation [30]; it represents, as Rehsteiner comments the viewpoints not only of people looking for the "ultimate accuracy but also of the workshop realists who care about the practical usefulness and economy of measuring. The uncertainty of the CMM is experimentally determined in conditions (environment, measuring procedures and calculations, piece dimensions and shapes, and so on) very close to those encountered during the machine use. Disadvantages of the proposed calibration method are: the CMM is down-graded from a measuring instrument to a comparator; a lot of expensive calibrated standards are necessary, producing a situation similar to the one existing before the introduction of CMMs. The definition of task oriented calibration is given in [53]; an example was proposed by the Italian delegation at IS0 Working Group on Co-ordinate Metrology [29], for the measuring task "distance between calculated points". The calibration procedure is an extension of the performance evaluation procedure foreseen in IS0 standard 10360-2. Corrections and their uncertainties are experimentally obtained and can be applied when the machine measures distances between calculated points (centres of spheres or rings, axes of cylinders, and so on). The main disadvantage of the methods is in the need of a (simplified) error model, with all the limitations already examined. If the CMM is to be used for many different tasks, many task oriented calibrations need to be made.

4. Conclusion


3.2. The virtual CMM The virtual CMM proposed by PTB researchers [35] simulates machine behaviour on a computer. Machine geometric anp thermal error models are stored in the computer memory, including the error model of the probes. Inputs to the computer are: the environmental conditions, workpiece temperatures, required measurements and the measurement procedure (the measuring strategy: number, distribution and coverage of points; sequence of measurements; and so on); this is easily done by simulating CMM actions on the computer screen. The virtual CMM provides the measurement un608

The core role precision CNC machine tools have in productivity and the quality of manufactures is well appreciated, as is the huge capital investment they represent. The crucial and growing significance of 'CMMs is not so well understood. According to a recent publication [9] there are 200 000 CMMs in use to-day; the capital cost of CMMs in the last 35 years has been $US 15 billion and current annual sales are in the vicinity of $US 1 billion. The numbers exemplify CMM's universal acceptance and their world-wide industrial importance. The modern CNC CMM is a technical masterpiece but its full potential has not been realised and there are still major and fundamental problems to be solved. For example: an ultra precision machine capable of calibrating a near-to-complete range of dimensional reference artefacts does not exist; fully effective temperature compensation and uncertainty estimation is yet to be achieved. Similar remarks apply to machine tools. In the field of error correction for CMMs and machine tools the following topics are immediate prospects for implementation: 0 Application to machine tools at production level of the well tested CMM techniques; 0 Integration of geometric and thermal correction in CMMs and the eventual application of neural network techniques as suggested in [31, 241 - all errors with slow drifts can be treated with similar techniques; 0 The modelling of probe and tool errors and their integration into a comprehensive machine model (single probehool, multiple probehool, etc.); 0 Dynamic effect and non-rigid body error compensation; 0 Design of the machine to take full advantage of selfcalibration methods, also for performance verifications, interim checks and periodical recalibrations; 0 Special attention to software program errors and to their effects; 0 Training of CMM operators in the evaluation of correction uncertainties. References
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( ) Personal communication (1995)