Carl Zeiss had already demonstrated its capabilities at Superior Tool, a sister company to Andrew Tool. "Our PRISMO CMM at Superior Tool is the backbone of our quality department and my goal was to replicate and build on this capability at Andrew," says President Bruce Hanson. Andrew Tool is a unique machine shop with over 30 years of experience handling everything from very simple to the most complex geometries. The majority of Andrew Tool’s customers are found in the aerospace, defense, medical and microelectronic industries, all having parts that often require extremely tight tolerances.
This new, complex project from MSL required Andrew Tool to manufacture actuators (gearboxes) for the next Mars rover, Curiosity. This new rover will weigh over 10,000 lbs, five times the weight of the current rovers, and carry more than 10 times the weight in scientific instruments compared to the current Spirit or Opportunity rovers. Therefore, the propulsion system’s power and torque will be more robust, and the unit’s wheels considerably larger than previous designs. NASA engineers believe these changes will help prevent the problem that Spirit is encountering now: it’s stuck in a sand pile.