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  1. #1
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    Default CMM Software Comparisons

    I am looking for opinions on different versions of CMM software. The software we currently use is the only one I have experience with or have ever used. Can anyone tell me about what they know about the software they have used? Differences between PC-DMIS, VDMIS, CMM Manager, etc.

    Thanks.

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    This could be a very long post from me, but instead I'll try to keep it short.

    There are a ton of factors that go into determining the "best" software, but fundamentally if you ask a CMM programmer, their answer will invariably be the one they know.

    If you're running a DCC machine, the best software choice for you is probably the one put out by the company that makes your controller - PC-DMIS for Hexagon controllers, MCOSMOS for Mitutoyo, etc. I've seen lots of problems over the years with OEM software not working very well on another OEMs controller.

    Another factor would be how you use your CMM, quick checks, full layouts, production runs, CAD based programming, etc etc etc. Different software has different strengths. The outfit you're buying from should be a factor, too. Distributors tend to be much more customer focused and will help you out early on.

    Some people will shy away from 3rd party retrofits, I'm somewhat partial to them. The top two 3rd parties out there are Modus (Renishaw, based on Camio) and CMM Manager (originally IQ Metrology, now part of Nikon).

    One thing that has always bothered me regarding the sales process of CMMs (particularly the software) was the promise of having people walking up to a machine they've never used before and being able to do complex programs. These objections tend to get dismissed as CMM programmers trying to overvalue their jobs and experience, but I can assure you it isn't. There is no "simple to use" software, there's only "simple to abuse" software - you need to know what you're doing, and that takes hands on experience. A good CMM programmer is equivalent to a good CNC setup guy. If you wouldn't send someone who's pushed buttons on a CNC and knows how to read print to training for 3-5 days and expect them to come back and immediately start programming complex parts on the machine tool, you shouldn't have the same expectation of a programmer. (Sorry, I'll get off this rant)

    To simplify - don't buy into the salesman's promise of trained chimps programming complex parts. The demos always look good because the person doing it isn't writing a program, they're just trying to wow you.

    OK, that said, I believe your best options are (and I'm basing this on the assumption you have a B&S DCC machine) PC-DMIS or CMM Manager. The former because it's the OEM software, the latter because it's a strong product with stellar customer support. I've seen someone ask a question on a forum like this, have it analyzed as a bug, and a (free) patch written by the OEM in the space of four hours.

    And FTR, I've programmed in Measuremax, PC-DMIS, Aberlink, Geopak, MMIV, and another I can't remember off hand. I've had experience with CMM Manager and Modus, I have a seat of CMM Manager on a computer somewhere that I've never really played with. Of the ones I've actually programmed, I prefer Measuremax, but since that's specific to Sheffield controllers and is obsolete....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eehotaka View Post
    One thing that has always bothered me regarding the sales process of CMMs (particularly the software) was the promise of having people walking up to a machine they've never used before and being able to do complex programs. These objections tend to get dismissed as CMM programmers trying to overvalue their jobs and experience, but I can assure you it isn't. There is no "simple to use" software, there's only "simple to abuse" software - you need to know what you're doing, and that takes hands on experience. A good CMM programmer is equivalent to a good CNC setup guy. If you wouldn't send someone who's pushed buttons on a CNC and knows how to read print to training for 3-5 days and expect them to come back and immediately start programming complex parts on the machine tool, you shouldn't have the same expectation of a programmer. (Sorry, I'll get off this rant)
    Cannot agree enough. At my last position we had a manager that was frustrated with the throughput of tooling on the CMM and wanted to buy his tooling guy (older guy who knew nothing of computers) his own CMM to check his own work. Here was a tooling guy who, instead of drilling holes right to begin with, simply made egged locating pins all the time...and his manager is waving around brochures and emails saying how simple it is to program, how it will be a magical accept/reject button, how it will instantly make his department profitable....

    The number of companies who spend 15-45k on CMM software, on top of 100k for a CMM, and then throw a $10-$15/hr misfit into the programming position is astounding, and is the REAL cause for a lot of the 'software issues' that exist out there.

    Experience: PC-DMIS, Quindos, Measuremax

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    Eehotaka and Dylad: You have hit the nail squarely on the head. At a previous employer, we had some management people that swallowed the sales pitch hook, line, and sinker. "All you have to do is bring up the model, and click on the features you want measured, and look at the results" the salesman told them. They ended up buying PC-DMIS for a manual CMM.....

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    We have a 2 year old Zeiss and are considering switching to CMM manager based on opinions of several peers.We are not a mold shop, but do have requirements such as profile of a line and surface that we would have to buy additional modules of Calypso to measure.
    Does anybody have any negative to say about this software?

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    Holy 5 year old thread resurrection Batman! Oh well, this thread was #1 on the Google search results so I believe it's still valid to anyone looking around for an answer.
    Previous replies were VERY GOOD! Excellent even!

    To add, I've worked with PC-DMIS (several different Browne & Sharp CMM's), CMM-Manager (Nikon CMM), GeoMeasure (for a couple different Mitutoyo's), forget what the Starrett manual CMM's use .., and Calypso (Zeiss)... I've also used a couple different analytical gear analyzers with their software (from Wenzel and Hofler) and CNC programmable optical comparators. I've been lucky enough to use a lot of stuff and I can sit down to just about anything and get to work right away. That's my resume.

    All of it is pretty easy and user friendly, with the exception of Calypso and CMM-Manager. Calypso I just cant wrap my head around that, it's so different my eyes glaze over and I just can't walk away from that fast enough. CMM-Manager is a trip, it want's to hold your hand so much it's tough to get through a simple program. I'm currently stumbling around CMM-Manager for a while now... I can write programs but it's just not very easy.

    My favotie is PC-DMIS (PCD). PCD is feature rich and easy to learn. It's simple enough for a new programmer and powerful enough for an experienced programmer to learn and type in code manually to fine tune all the features you want to inspect. It also has a huge following with a user forum where you can go and ask about any question and get several replies usually within minuets. Your never "stuck" (well, almost never). Because of many factors, in my humble opinion PCD is the best of the best.

    I don't mean to make any of this sound easy, because it's not. And yeah, management anywhere you go usually has unrealistic expectations on long a program and (deadly accurate) results should take and in the end it makes good inspectors look not so good. So be careful of what you wish for. Everywhere I've been other workers are fascinated with the CMM's and want to learn it SO bad. When they get their chance they usually fall on their faces (so to say). I used to put on my resume "CMM Programmer" and now my objective is "Inspector" with CMM experience listed but not highlighted.

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    I loved QCT software. It's UK written so maybe not over your side of the pond?
    It was easy to use from the view that if you only used it a couple of times a week, it was like riding a bike.
    The training course was two days - that was for basic and for handling of checking direct to CAD models.
    Mitutoyo was (by memory) 7 days which shows a basic comparison of learning curve.
    I didn't like the look of PCDMIS - too complicated (that was on a Brown and Sharpe).
    I didn't like the look of Aberlink.
    In the end i bought with my own cash but also made the decision at a previous place so was involved in buying and/or upgrading 4 systems.
    I liked it

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajwesley View Post
    I am looking for opinions on different versions of CMM software. The software we currently use is the only one I have experience with or have ever used. Can anyone tell me about what they know about the software they have used? Differences between PC-DMIS, VDMIS, CMM Manager, etc.

    Thanks.
    I use CMM Manager, we have a Nikon ULTRA LK V that it runs on. It's the only CMM software I have any experience with. It is very simple to use, we import models right from Solid Workds and it features that work great for checking 3D surfaces (cloud to cad). We make precision fixtures and gage's that require a lot of inspection. We are able to confidently report Profiles, GTD tolerances along with your typical dimension reports. I can't say it is always smooth sailing but it is easy to use, easy to train ppl on.


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