Coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) played a triumphant role in helping North American manufacturing, just at the time it most needed help. Globalization threatened factories here because they benefited from cheaper labour and fewer regulations.
CMM machines delivered automation to factory assembly lines by performing quality control with more accuracy and at a cheaper cost than human workers ever could. CMM machines are perfect for this role, since they can scan parts ranging in size from micrometres to over a hundred feet with incredible precision — they are used to detect any flaws or imperfections in newly produced parts.
If your company already has a CMM machine, you know how valuable they are and you know how essential it is that it delivers extremely accurate and reliable results. Follow these tips to keep your machine in the best working order possible, to give it a longer life, and to get the best performance.
Initial Calibration and Constant Maintenance
It’s vital that your CMM machine gives you perfect results from the beginning, so you need to get a well trained metrologist to install it. Even variables such as temperature and the condition of the room in which the CMM is operating can impact its performance, so these sensitive machines really need to have such factors adjusted for from the start.
The key to having metrology equipment you can trust is having machinery that has been installed correctly and is properly cared for, so make sure that it’s installed professionally and recalibrated throughout its lifetime. Consult an authorized CMM dealer, because they also perform a range of services and repairs, including: portable arm recalibration, upgrades and retrofits, CMM calibrations, machine relocation, and preventative maintenance.
If your company doesn’t have its own in-house metrologist, there are ones you can hire on contract to consult about the best way to source parts and calibrate your machine. They know CMM machines inside and out, including everything about probes, probe heads, and all the newest software.
Don’t consult an expert unless they are ISO 9000 and ISO 17025 accredited.
Train Your Employees in Metrology
One way to get the most from your CMM machines doesn’t actually involve the machines themselves: while CMM machines are often associated with automation, many steps still require human employees to work alongside these machines.
Measurement solutions providers offer great classes and e-learning modules your employees can take so as to receive their initial training, or to brush up on their skills. Not everything about a CMM machine is automated, and you’ll get even more from this equipment when your workers are suitably trained in it.
To get the maximum benefits from this equipment you need to make sure that it’s in tip-top shape, and that your employees know how to operate it inside and out. Just follow the tips described above, and your CMM machine will be an invaluable resource for years down the road.