Portable coordinate measuring arm calibration service now available in South Africa

Portable coordinate measuring arm calibration service now available in South Africa

Retecon (Pty) Ltd now offers a scheduled and rapid turnaround service.

Portable measuring arms are becoming commonplace in today’s manufacturing facility. It’s true that they bestow many benefits on the users, but there are pitfalls to overcome when utilising this highly effective and sophisticated tool.

Proper installation and initial calibration are essential to comply with national and international standards. However annual calibration of the portable arms, which is a norm in industry, has always been a costly and time consuming exercise as portable measuring arms have had to go back overseas for calibration, which is not only expensive but also leaves customers without their valuable portable CMM equipment for weeks or months at a time. But now, with the local service offered by Retecon, clients will be able to pre-plan their calibration and see only minimal disruption to their production activities whilst the arm is being calibrated and serviced locally – saving both time and money!

“Retecon is pleased to be able to announce that as from October we will be providing local calibration of the Romer range of portable arms and Multi-Gage products at our Spartan, Gauteng head-office facility,” said Hans-Peter Neth, MD of Retecon (Pty) Ltd 

“This is a South African first for the latest generation of portable measuring arms as we are  able to offer local calibration for these very popular Romer arms – with a super fast 2-3 day turnaround time,” continued Neth.

“In keeping with our overall business philosophy of providing precision, quality and service Retecon has once again invested heavily in a new state-of-the-art calibration / test fixture as specified by the Romer factory.”

“The calibration fixture and the artifacts, as specified by Romer – a Division of Hexagon Metrology – are all fully maintained and controlled in our metrology laboratory in Spartan.”

“In order to support this new and unique service for our customers in South Africa two of our specialist portable arm calibration engineers recently spent time at the Romer / Cimcore manufacturing plant in France for intensive factory-training on the requirements for local calibration of the range of Romer arms.”

“Not only did they receive some great training in the correct calibration processes but they were also briefed on the correct techniques required for minor repairs on the new Romer arms – including PCB changes that previously would have required that the equipment be sent back to the factory overseas causing long delays and extra cost.  An important factor that clients need to take into account when they are contemplating the purchase of a new portable measuring arm is the on-going calibration and repair costs along with downtime, that forms such an integral part of the whole “cost of ownership” equation.”



“As we come to rely more and more on the portable arm, it’s important to monitor your arm’s accuracy through regular calibration. For a successful evaluation of the arm, your calibrator must follow the standard. There are essentially three parts to the calibration procedure:

  • Single point accuracy test
  • Volumetric ball bar test
  • Effective diameter performance test

“These tests must be performed at an accredited lab with traceable artifacts, ideally a lab certified to ISO 17025 standards, which we are in the process to establish. In fact the whole company will be certified to ISO 9001/2008 in November 2013.”


Optimum performance

“It is a generally accepted fact that arm performance degenerates at a much faster rate than that of a stationary coordinate measuring machine. There are several reasons for an arm not to perform to specifications: poor clamping and unstable mounting platforms are two of the biggest culprits. Any kind of instability will magnify itself to the probe tip and create major accuracy issues. Care must also be taken during probing:  make sure the probe is in constant contact with the area to be measured and always be on the lookout for points that are taken out of range. Finally, use the gauge with care; portable arms do not tolerate rough usage well. Remember, should an arm be damaged it will usually have to go back overseas for repair and in most cases this means you will be out of action for several weeks!”



“Portable measurement arms can be used anywhere in the modern factory. They can be attached to a portable measurement stand, directly on a fixture or on a surface plate in the inspection room. It’s also not unusual to find them mounted on the bed of the machine tool! It is little wonder, then, that their popularity is on the rise. The latest arms have both Bluetooth and wireless integrated technology enabling them to be completely cable-free. Combine this with battery operation and they become a highly mobile device that is used anywhere inside or out.”


Design and measurement range

“The articulating arm coordinate measuring machine uses a series of rotating components around a generally perpendicular axis. It consists of three joints: the wrist, the elbow and the shoulder. Both the shoulder and the elbow are generally two axes; on seven-axis machines (typically scanning arms), the wrist has three axes of movement. Arm sizes are determined by spherical measuring ranges and are usually available in sizes from two metres to as large as five metres.”



“We have joined a small community of Romer certified labs – there are only 25 in the world and we are the first in Africa. Your portable measuring arm can give you high-quality service and provide accurate measurements. Treat it with care, calibrate often, apply good metrology practices and it will reward you with many years of trouble-free service.”

For more information on the calibration services offered by Retecon Service (Pty) Ltd contact them on TEL: 011 976 8600 and ask for Gillian Howard or Steve Gardiner. For sales contact George Sansoni on 083 443 2018 or William on 011 976 8600


Ind News Romer 1

William Chatwind, Rudie Botha and Brett Snyman all from Retecon (Pty) Ltd with Jérôme Duveau of Hexagon Metrology France standing next to the calibration fixture and the artifacts, as specified by Romer – a Division of Hexagon Metrology

Ind News Romer 2

Jérôme Duveau of Hexagon Metrology France was responsible for certifying the calibration service at Retecon. He is seen congratulating Retecon’s MD Hans-Peter Neth