The Only Truly American
Coordinate Measuring Machine Manufacturer
Helmel Engineering is engaged in the design, manufacture, sales and service of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and related software. We serve the precision 3 dimensional inspection and reverse engineering needs of all major manufacturing markets including aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer products and appliances, education, energy, food processing, electronics-IT-telecom, medical devices, shipbuilding, general transportation and all other precision manufacturing concerns. We also have systems in several Department of Energy National Laboratories, and many Defense related facilities. Additionally Helmel enjoys a vital OEM base, designing and building precision moving structures under private labels for several manufacturers in metrology related fields.
Anyone having to verify a physical part to dimensions on a design print or 3D CAD model, or whose production process must be maintained within tolerance to a high degree of accuracy is a potential customer. A complete line of Bridge style machines are offered for manual and automatic operation. Our proprietary mechanical bearing systems make our machines well suited for production floor applications where high reliability is required.
Helmel is a vertically integrated manufacturer with most of our key operations within our Niagara Falls, New York, headquarters. Designs, prototypes, machining, grinding, welding, painting, assembly, testing, calibration, sales, training and ongoing support are all handled internally. We have enjoyed a multi-decade relationship with most of our suppliers for components of our CMM systems as well.
Helmel Engineering has continuously exhibited in key industrial exhibitions such as IMTS, Quality Expo, EASTEC, WESTEC, MDM, Fabtech and other national and regional exhibitions. We have dozens of representatives throughout the USA and worldwide. Beyond the USA we have enjoyed strong success with CMMs in over 35 countries and, in particular in the Pacific Rim, Mexico, India and the Middle East.
Major CMM Launch Dates:
1975 – Manual Checkmaster
1987 – DCC Microstar
1990 – L-Bridge Microstar
1992 – PcMM (Replaced)
1994 – Crankshaft CMM for GM
2002 – Phoenix Line
2006 – Microgage
2009 – Phoenix RB
2010 – Microstar 1M
2011 – Cellmaster
2018 – Microstar XA
HELMEL ENGINEERING PRODUCTS, INC. began as the Helmel Engineering Co. in March of 1973 in Rochester, NY, involved in the design of automatic assembly lines for General Motors and for general custom machine work for companies such as Kodak and Xerox.
Early in its existence, the Helmel Engineering Co. developed and began manufacture of the CHECKMASTER Coordinate Measuring Machine. With consistently increasing sales and popularity it became the only product and service offered by the company.
The Helmel Engineering Co. was incorporated in 1977 as Helmel Engineering Products, Inc. and continued operations in Rochester, NY, until January of 1980 we relocated to our own newly constructed facility in Niagara Falls, NY. The original 8,000 square foot building was expanded in 1984. This 10,000 square foot addition included a high-bay area with a crane to handle heavy granite surface plates, enabling the company to build larger measuring machines. A new 4400 square foot office addition was built in 1988 with a large Demonstration area, Training room and Conference room. A warehouse addition was completed in 2013.
In the early 1980’s, Helmel Engineering developed its own basic software package operating on HP equipment. For more advanced CMM systems we offered the well-known GEOMET Inspection Software System on an OEM basis from Multi-Metrics Inc. in Redwood City, California. It was the first full 3-D CMM Software developed in the U.S. In early 1986 Helmel Engineering acquired the Geomet software division from Multi-Metrics.
The Geomet Systems Division of Helmel Engineering was formed, taking over the development of the software. This allowed Helmel Engineering to expand its business and also diversify by directly entering the retrofit market, namely putting GEOMET software on competitive coordinate measuring machines.
The group was moved to San Carlos, California, close to the San Francisco Airport. Here, GEOMET Systems developed motion control software for computer driven fully automatic coordinate measuring machines, launched on the newly designed Microstar in 1987. The drive system used advanced linear motors, a novelty in the industry at that time.
The California office of GEOMET was moved to corporate headquarters in Niagara Falls, New York, in 1993, for closer integration of Geomet development with our CMMs and with emerging PCs. The development team undertook the arduous but very successful task of moving Geomet from the HP Basic environment to Visual C++ language with Windows, while incorporating all the time proven features, algorithms and fundamental goodness of GEOMET into the new version. Today, decades after the original development of Geomet, it is still a vital element within our CMM systems.
Throughout the 1980’s our DCC Microstar CMM Series continued to evolve as the manual Checkmaster CMM enjoyed continued success. The Checkmaster manual Shaft Measuring Machines grew in popularity after development with Cummins Engine, and subsequently a Chrysler gear plant.
In the 1990’s the manual Checkmaster SMM led the way to the development of the 4-axis Axium automatic crankshaft measuring system with General Motors, which later found its way to many crankshaft manufacturers. The larger Microstar L-Bridge stypes were introduced as well. At this time Helmel was also a leader in developing smaller and more affordable CMMs, both manual and DCC, that became a hit with mid-size and smaller plants and shops, even down to the “mom & pop” concerns. Our Rambo ram style cantilever, the PcMM, and finally the current Phoenix DCC were introduced in succession.
The 2000’s saw the introduction of the first of our 1M Series large CMMs with 40” Z-axis travels. These were the first of our CMMs to incorporate air bearings in a hybrid design with our traditional mechanical bearings. This design concept has been incorporated into the new line of Microstar XA higher accuracy mid-range CMMs. At the other end of the scale we also introduced our smallest model, the super-accurate Microgage, which broke from the moving bridge style as a fixed bridge design. Microgage has found its place as a “programmable hard gage”, replacing many design and build production bench gages on the factory floor.
Since Renishaw introduced the electronic tough trigger probe to the CMM market in the early 1970’s, Helmel Engineering has kept pace with integrating all their newly developed products into its CMM lines. We have enjoyed great success with the 5-axis PH20 touch probe system introduced in 2011. The Checkmasters and Microstars have been redesigned and improved over the time to maintain functionality, our well known reliability and competitiveness.
A new office was opened in Orange, California in 2005 to promote west coast sales with the added services of installation, training, calibration and support. A range of our systems are maintained there for demonstration and application studies. Support for the West Coast and Pacific Rim dealers also comes from this office.
Helmel formed a relationship with the developers of CMM Manager software in 2009 for CAD based inspection. Together, QxSoft LLC, in Columbus, Ohio, and Helmel CMM are a formidable force in our market and are providing cutting edge capabilities to the broad spectrum of the CMM community.