Improving Part Measurement with CMMs
Coordinate measuring machines have become increasingly more popular in the past two decades. Unlike traditional manual tools, such as calipers, micrometers, and gauges, CMMs allow machine shops to automate the measuring process, cutting down times and costs.
CMMs have the ability to measure virtually any feature of any part with just a revision in their program.
Paired with machine tools in a manufacturing cell, a CMM can collect, process and transmit data to be acted on by the other manufacturing equipment. This arrangement substantially lessens the need for humans to interact with the manufacturing process, thereby eliminating opportunities for error.
This feature represents a significant step forward in terms of flexibility and one of the common reasons that lead shop owners to buy one.
Unlike the old models, often considered too fragile and expensive to maintain, modern CMMs have become compact and robust. They are designed to live on the shop floor among and with other machines.
Newer designs offer an orientation like that of a horizontal machining center, where the probe is held parallel to the table. Manufacturers also have begun offering features like tactile scanning, optical measurement and industrial internet of things connectivity to enhance the capabilities of CMMs, making them more powerful tools.
Although they come with a significant price tag, putting CMMs on the manufacturing floor directly improves productivity and efficiency.
Integration of CMMs onto shop floors and as a component of manufacturing cells helps decrease shops’ nonvalue-added activity and increase the amount of time they have to add value through other processes.