Measuring Workpieces Efficiently on CNC Machines

The internal process for measuring workpieces creates a perfect link between CNC machining and quality control. hyperMILL® CAM software offers different probing cycles that allow users to perform measurement operations on the machine tool with ease and convenience.

Probing carried out on the CNC machine allows the earliest possible detection of manufacturing errors in an interruption-free production chain. Internal process quality control ensures that additional, time-consuming setup and installation measures can be avoided. The advantages for companies include: reduced waste, time savings and increased competitiveness. In addition, ongoing quality control is an important pre-condition for the automation of manufacturing processes.

Probing with the CAM software

Probing starts as early as the NC programming stage. hyperMILL® CAM software defines the touch probe in the same way as a conventional tool type. Just as milling cycles are available for tools, hyperMILL® offers probing cycles for the touch probe that allows fast and easy programming which is completely integrated in the NC code.

OPEN MIND has developed three strategies for measuring workpieces that are available in all 2D probing cycles:

  • Set origin
  • Measure and adjust
  • Probing/component inspection

OPEN MIND has designed its measurement solution for the entire NC machining process. This begins with setting up the workpiece if touch probe systems set the origin. Workpiece measurement during NC machining makes it possible to detect and respond to manufacturing errors early on. For example, if deviations in dimensional accuracy are identified after roughing or semi-finishing, the subsequent machining process can be adapted accordingly. Probing cycles integrated in the machining process enable active process control.

Probing cycles in the NC code

The hyperMILL® CAM software features a total of seven probing cycles for 3-axis as well as 5-axis machines:

  • Measurement of rectangular elements
  • Measurement of circular elements
  • Axis-dependent probing
  • 3D Point Probing
  • Slot-Rib Probing
  • Workpiece alignment along edge
  • Workpiece alignment with holes

All the probing cycles are fully integrated in the NC code. The postprocessor interprets this output and translates the code into the language of the probe or control system. Before the hyperMILL® probing cycles can be used, the postprocessor must be adjusted. Respective control cycles are then called in the machine controller and the machine begins to collect measurement results.

Features of probing

  • Zero-point definition: The component zero-point can be defined quickly and reliably. A zero-point can also be set with a 5-axis machine at an angle.
  • Measuring parallel to the axis, measurement of rectangular and circular elements plus measurement of any 3D points
  • The touch probe is as easy to program as a tool in all cycles
  • Probing supports both 3-axis and 5-axis machines
  • All the movements of the touch probe are checked for collisions
  • Informative process control: It is possible to generate measuring data easily for the individual component geometries and access it from the controller.
  • Active process control: The integration of probing cycles makes it possible to actively control the machining process. For example, if deviations occur for the tool diameter or length, they can be taken into account during subsequent machining.

Would you like to find out more about the topic of probing?

Do you want know which controllers are supported by OPEN MIND’s postprocessor technology?
If so, please contact OPEN MIND sales.

Important: An adapted postprocessor is necessary for probing.


  • Process-integrated measurements
  • Accelerated quality assurance process for checking workpiece properties
  • Errors are avoided