Company Purchases Zeiss Contura Coordinate Measurement Machine

CHARLOTTE, NC – Feb. 22, 2020Quality Products & Machine, LLC has been one of many US manufacturing companies paving the way in innovative automation. The Compass Precision operating company just took another step forward in that area early in 2021.

A leading manufacturer of precision metal components and fabricated assemblies for blue chip customers, Quality Products has acquired a pre-owned Zeiss Contura Coordinate Measurement Machine. The previously “lightly-used” Zeiss CMM will greatly enhance the company’s ability to dimensionally inspect precision metal components it manufactures for aerospace & defense, power generation and other demanding customers.

“It is definitely one of the Cadillac brands, being a Zeiss brand machine,” said Kevin Farmer, Quality Products President. “Getting this machine is another step along our long journey to automate everything possible. We aren’t reducing headcount, but rather using our people more effectively to produce greater volumes of parts with even higher quality than before.”

Prior to this purchase, all Quality Products inspections were performed through handheld measuring machines — a process Kevin described as “really slow.” With the Zeiss Contura, inspections that used to take hours will now take minutes because of the ability to dimensionally inspect parts automatically after machine programming.

The company’s two primary part inspectors, Bob Lipka and Steve Caplinger, have worked with Zeiss machines previously, but they received training on the programming aspect of the Zeiss Contura in February. Quality Products had its new CMM calibrated on Dec. 17, 2020. The Zeiss Corporation will recalibrate the machine on a yearly basis.

With this CMM, Quality Products joins Advanced Machining & Tooling, LLC and Gray Manufacturing Technologies, LLC as the Compass Precision operating companies with the ability to automate inspecting parts using Zeiss coordinate measuring machines.

“We have seen how much a Zeiss CMM can enhance the ability to inspect complicated components at Advanced Machining and Gray Manufacturing,” said Patrick Mayne, Quality’s Operations Manager. “Now we can do what our sister operating companies do.”

In addition to its automation, the Zeiss Contura is the largest CMM within Compass in the Y direction. It can inspect 1,000 millimeters in the x-direction, 2,100 millimeters along the y-axis and 600 millimeters in the z-direction.

Furthermore, the Zeiss Contura possesses a much tighter tolerance than Quality’s previous measuring machines. It is accurate to 1.7 microns, which is a considerable improvement from the company’s previous tolerance of up to half of 1,000th of an inch (or 12.7 microns).

While the Zeiss Contura Quality Products acquired is pre-owned, it arrived barely used. Kevin and Advanced Machining President Keith Felts, who referred to the CMM as “sweet,” were astonished at the machine’s near-pristine condition.

“(Keith) said, ‘It doesn’t look like they did anything but set it up then tear it down and put it back in the box.’” said Kevin. “It is pre-owned, (but) I don’t know how much it was used. It’s almost flawless.

“It’s definitely going to be a big asset. I can’t wait.”

The Zeiss Contura CMM is the second major upgrade in automation Quality Products has made in the last six months. In August, Quality installed its Amada LMP-3015 loader/unloader to supplement its laser cutter, enhance productivity and support its lights-out production.

Quality Products operates from a 47,000-square-foot facility in Charlotte, NC at 4600 Westinghouse Boulevard. The company has both machining and fabrication capabilities, all under one roof. It manufactures complex prototype and low-to-mid volume metal parts, with a focus on defense and power generation markets.

The Compass operating company was founded in 1962. ZP Enterprises, LLC, an Atlanta-based firm, acquired majority interest in the company in 2010, then purchased the remaining ownership in 2018.

In 2019, ZP Enterprises decided to seek new ownership for three of its portfolio companies, including Advanced Machining & Tooling, LLC of Salisbury, NC and Tri-Tec Industries, LLC of Charlotte, NC as well as Quality Products. It quickly reached an agreement with Main Street Capital Holdings, a Pittsburgh-based private equity firm. Main Street acquired Quality Products, along with its two sister firms, and placed them under a new umbrella company, Compass Precision, LLC.

In August 2020, Compass Precision added Gray Manufacturing Technologies, LLC of Denver, NC as its fourth operating company.