Coordinate measuring machines haven’t changed much in the last decade. The software has become faster and easier to use, probing technologies have improved, and vision systems are collecting dimensional data at new speeds. Portable arms and temperature-controlled tools have brought inspection closer to shop floors, and now QA often happens mid-process. However, coordinate measuring machines are mechanically much the same as they were in the 1980s. So why does it suddenly seem that they are becoming standard across a number of industries? The truth is that better inspection abilities give many shops a competitive edge.
Reduce Mistakes, Scrap, and Rework Hours
Improved efficiency and reduced waste is one factor driving many manufacturers to invest in coordinate measuring machines. It was once standard to leave inspection to the end of the production process. Parts had to be cooled and then transported to a lab for dimensioning, but portable arms and shop floor-ready measurement gauges have brought inspection closer to production. This means that bad dimensions and tool errors can be caught earlier on. In turn, companies are able to reduce waste in terms of scrap and time spent reworking bad parts. Flexible quality assurance also means that buyers can inspect parts when they arrive from suppliers, preventing problems down the road.
It’s Easier to Train Programmers and Operators
Advances in software such as CAD capability also mean that the people operating coordinate measuring machines have changed as well. They are much more likely to be manufacturing engineers than in the past. It’s also become easier to train operators in software like PC-DMIS now that many of the basics can be learned through e-courses from companies like Canadian Measurement-Metrology (CMM). When you’re deciding whether or not to make the investment, don’t forget that you’ll also need to invest in training for your staff. Come up with a contingency plan for vacations and sudden illnesses; relying on a single trained operator can lead to some real headaches when something comes up. To learn more about how you can get the most out of your training expenditure, stop by CMM Inc. to find out about programming courses.
High Accuracy Standards
Suppliers for the aerospace industry in North America were some of the first to be required by their customers to invest in inspection tools like portable arms. Increasingly, customers are passing quality assurance requirements down to their suppliers, expecting quality reports with every shipment of components.
Quality Is a Selling Point
Shop owners in many industries have discovered that a coordinate measuring machine is an attractive quality to many potential customers, and it’s winning them more contracts. Coordinate measuring machines can save you hours of time and deliver more accurate results. But before you jump in and purchase top-of-the-line equipment to impress new business, take a look at what you really need. There is a large range of different measurement gauges available, and vendors such as CMM encourage their partners to evaluate factors like tolerance requirements, speed, and the logistics of loading or dimensioning components. Get the measurement instruments you really need to be competitive in today’s competitive market by reducing waste and meeting higher quality standards.