Introducing or expanding inspections in your shop is a great way to grow your business. Customers in aerospace, automotive, medical, and electronics industries increasingly see in-house metrology as a minimum requirement of potential suppliers. In addition to improving your appeal when you’re trying to land contracts, a coordinate measuring machine also means you no longer have to outsource measurement services. Below is a guide to some of the considerations you should keep in mind before you make your purchase.
Versatile Probing – With many newer devices you no longer have to rely on a single probing system, as many now allow you to switch between contact and noncontact data collection with a vision system or a laser scanner. Laser scanners are the better option for quickly collecting large quantities of data points, such as measuring large metal sheets or creating point cloud data to reverse engineer a CAD. Optic probes snap a picture of the area and measure the image, making it a great solution for components that are malleable and could be affected by contact. Contact probes have to move point to point, but new triangulation algorithms have gone a long way in speeding up the process. These are necessary when a component has holes and features that a vision system cannot catch. For example, gears are best measured by automatic contact probing.
User-operated or Automatic – Large components such as you might find in automotive or aerospace industries sometimes have to be measured manually, i.e. with a portable arm, unless you have the square footage for a gantry. If you’re producing large volumes of small components, automatic is the better option as it reduces manpower. You will only need someone to load and unload pieces onto the measuring table, whereas a manual portable arm will consume considerably more labor hours. To find out more about laser scanners and vision systems, visit Canadian Measurement Metrology, a third party dealer also known as CMM that’s independent of OEMs and provides a full suite of repair, recalibration, retrofit, and retail services.
Location is Critical – Knowing that loading and unloading are going to be a major source of labor hours, you’re going to want to minimize the distance between your production line and your coordinate measuring machine. In the past, air bearings in most metrology machines were easily damaged by dust and particles in the air. Today, shop-floor ready machines that use hard bearings mean you can bring inspection closer to the action, even as part of a cellular, just-in-time manufacturing system. Make sure you have the square footage to take a piece of equipment with such a large footprint. Trust professional metrology retailers to transport and install your new equipment like CMM. You can do serious damage to the bearings if it’s not moved correctly.
Technical Support – A coordinate measuring machine is a long-term investment: they last for decades. Buy from a vendor committed to establishing equally long-term investments with their clients, such as CMM. You can save yourself a lot of grief and expensive delays in the future by implementing a preventative maintenance strategy. Talk to a metrology dealer today about expanding your business with a new coordinate measuring machine.