Conversion between surface roughness and contour measurement takes place in seconds by simply turning a thumbscrew to release the mounted detector and replacing with the other type. Shutting down the software and switching off the controller to make the change is unnecessary; a significant advance compared with previous Formtracer models. This hot-swap capability saves both time and money.

Formtracer Avant adapts to an array of measuring tasks, by retrofit, to offer excellent measurement flexibility, says Mitutoyo. For instance, an optional swivelling drive unit eliminates the need for custom work-holding fixtures during inclined surface measurement. Optional accessories, such as Y-axis, 3-axis and auto-levelling tables, vertical and horizontal rotary tables, swivel centres, vee-blocks, and a rotary vice, provide the ability to mount and measure practically any workpiece within the size capability of the machine.

Apart from a choice of motorised column height and granite base size, there is a selection of optional arms and styli to fit the various detectors. A double-sided contour measurement capability is available that allows users to perform difficult measurements, such as internal screw pitch diameter. The contour measuring zone extends to a maximum of 60 by 200 mm, according to model, and features a built-in collision prevention system that automatically stops the machine if the detector interferes with the workpiece or holding fixture.

High drive speed and acceleration of the horizontal (X axis) and column (Z2 axis) movements, combined with a reduction of non-measuring motion to a minimum, are Formtracer Avant features that aid productivity by reducing automatic cycle times. An advanced remote control box provides ease of use, while newly added function keys support the fast creation of measurement part programs.