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Optimization of composite carriage for a coordinate measurement machine
The growing need for high quality and reliability of products requires the control of
the accuracy of dimensions and shape of product components. Coordinate Measurement
Machines (CMM) are now able to measure the dimensions and/or the shape of objects
with submicron precision. The desire for high-speed measurement, has stimulated the
interest of CMM manufacturers in the use of composite materials for the structure of their
machines. Composites are lighter than conventional materials, and are generally less
affected by temperature changes.
In cooperation with one of the major European CMM manufacturers, the problem of
redesigning a steel carriage of a CMM, from composite materials component is
considered. A simple strength-of-materials based calculation is used to design a prototype
of the carriage, which is built and mounted on the machine to be tested.
A NASTRAN finite element model of the composite component is created to analyze
more accurately the behavior of the composite structure. Structural optimization is next
performed to seek minimum weight and maximum stiffness designs of the structural