It is no secret that quality control is one of the single most important factors to consider when designing a production line. As a recent article in the Houston Chronicle notes, improving quality control isn’t just about growing customer retention by providing high quality products; it is also a way of driving down costs by removing inefficiencies. Because coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) offer a much greater degree of accuracy than manual measuring devices, CMMs can provide high-level feedback that helps ensure products match blueprint specifications as closely as possible. And with increasingly sophisticated metrology equipment and software, they can also gather valuable data about machine degradation and catch potential problems before they disrupt production.
But CMMs are complex, specialized pieces of machinery; good results are contingent on using the best possible CMM for the job, which is why industry-leading metrology companies like Canadian Measurement Metrology carry such a wide range of different machines. There are generally considered to be four basic types of stationary CMMs (bridge, gantry, cantilever, and horizontal arm), as well as a range of different portable CMMs, including portable arms, white light machines, and laser trackers. Each is designed to meet a particular set of needs.
Generally, stationary CMMs are used as on shop floors as part of a manufacturing process, with a set percentage of parts being measured to ensure they meet proper specifications. Portable CMMs, being more mobile, are used in cases where parts can’t easily be brought to a stationary CMM. Which CMM is right for a particular task depends on the parts being producing: gantry and horizontal arms are both suited to larger parts, and are often used in the automotive and aerospace industries, while cantilever CMMs are designed to handle very small parts. In addition to size considerations, it is also important to consider the properties of the parts being measured — most stationary CMMs use a tactile probe in taking measurements, but this may not be suitable for extremely delicate parts that require a more sophisticated photographic or light-based measuring process.
While stationary, tactile probe CMMs are a low-cost solution for measuring most finished parts, when it comes to providing accurate measurements for finished products, it is often necessary to use a portable CMM like a ROMER Arm. ROMER Arms use laser scanners to provide quality control, close inspection, andreverse engineering. Because they can take measurements from a range of different angles, they are ideal for measuring jobs where detailed coordinate data needs to be gathered regarding products with complex geometry.
If you want to improve quality control on your production line, CMMs can help you ensure you are producing parts that match blueprint specifications while also improving efficiency, saving your operation both time and money. With a little research, it isn’t hard to find a machine that is specifically designed to deliver metrology solutions that fit your needs, and with so many different CMM options to choose from, improving quality control on your line has never be easier.