Analyzing and characterizing machine properties

Characterizing machine tools is essential to optimize them and compensate for non-conformities in assembly, load-induced faults or temperature-influencing factors. The Fraunhofer IPT has both the know-how required and the appropriate tools.

Using the right measuring instruments increases machine precision

The use of suitable measuring instruments helps to identify faults – this is the first step in the search for a solution. Profit from our diverse range of measuring instruments which enable us to provide you with the right tool for any given scenario. In addition to standard instruments such as laser interferometers, we also have special-purpose measuring equipment such as the Laser Tracer und Spindle Error Analyzer in our portfolio.

An in-depth understanding of the process is what sparks solutions

The engineers and scientists at the Fraunhofer IPT have a through understanding of machine processes and are well acquainted with the most frequently occurring fault sources. This enables us to measure static, thermal and dynamic machine parameters and ensure that the acceptance criteria are met. To increase machine precision, we additionally take steps to initiate targeted engineering design improvements. As a result, we have accumulated a wealth of experience in this field over the years. We draw on this expertise and know-how to develop methodical solutions to frequently occurring fault sources.

Our Services

  • Characterizing static, thermal and dynamic deviations
  • Increasing machine precision on the basis of data collected by ourselves
  • Conducting modal and frequency machine tool analysis
  • Developing new methods of calibration
  • Developing solutions to frequently occurring fault sources

Examples of our approaches to frequent fault sources


Calibrating 5-axis machine tools

  • Complete calibration within 20 minutes
  • Direct measurement and optimization of 5-axis precision
  • One measuring device for all geometric deviations
  • Integrability in existing machines

The direct path to thermal stability

  • Ensure sustained thermal stability
  • Minimize cost of temperature control and air conditioning
  • Identify potential for optimization

3D-Process Monitoring

  • Implements spatially resolved 3D-visualization of process signals
  • Logs everything to ensure full documentation
  • Recognizes patterns typical occurring in individual processes
  • Integrability in existing machines

A look at our measuring equipment portfolio


We use a laser interferometer to measure the geometrical deviations of a machine tool: Our measuring systems and optics help us to identify positioning deviations, straightness deviations, angular deviations of a linear axis and rectangularity of the movement axes.

PSD Laser instrument

The position-sensitive-device (PSD) can usefully be deployed in conjunction with a laser whenever there is straightness deviation in a linear axis. The advantages of this is the straightforwardness of use along with ease of installation, opening up the way for swift and robust measurement.

Laser Tracer

We deploy the »Laser Tracer« manufactured by Etalon AG to characterize machines with maximum precision. With its self-tracking function, the laser tracer follows the optical lens in order to reproduce three-dimensionally any changes in the distance from an object. Examples of its use include the complete calibration of 3-axis and 5-axis machine tools with different axis configurations and the acceptance and testing of coordinate measuring machines in accordance with ISO 10360.

Spindle Error Analyzer

The »Spindle Error Analyzer« is used to measure the accuracy of rotating spindles: The exact position of a sphere on the tool is measured by sensors working from different directions in very high frequency. The thermal properties of the rotating spindle can also be analyzed.

Double Ball bar

We deploy the »Ball-bar« to coordinate the path behavior of two motion axes: Geometric and dynamic deviations of the machines can be measured very swiftly via the circularity test, defective machine elements and adjustment faults can be identified and compensation and control parameters can be optimized. Used in conjunction with additional instruments, the ball-bar supports a range of analyses via the circularity test in three radii (50 mm, 150 mm and 300 mm).

Multi-functional measuring unit for modal and harmonic response analyses

We work closely with the Machine Tool Laboratory WZL RWTH University of Aachen to analyze dynamic machine behavior. This gives us access to additional measuring equipment and extensive know-how which enables us to provide an even more multi-faceted, dynamic characterization of machine tools.

Thermographic camera

The thermographic camera is used to measure the surface temperature of an object and to present it on an integrated display. The thermal behavior of the machine and associated processes can be analyzed on the basis of the measurement data.