If your shop still relies exclusively on manual or portable measuring tools, you can quickly wind up falling behind on your delivery deadlines when you inspect parts that demand higher degrees of accuracy than you’re used to. It’s not just automotive and aerospace anymore as many different industries expect higher quality parts, and that means your inspection processes can be put under strain. Portable tools take a lot longer than automatic ones to inspect pieces, so you either fall behind or make mistakes.
Instead of risking having your first delivery rejected or delivered late, invest in a coordinate measuring machine that can automate your inspection process and deliver inspection data faster. Before you starting the buying process for a coordinate measuring machine, find a metrology shop that offers advice, products, and services that will make it easy before and after your purchase.
I. Professional Advice
There are many different types of coordinate measuring machines out there and it’s easy to make a mistake if you’re new to the technology. Given the price tag of these machines, from around $30,000 to $1 million and their complexity, you’re going to want to discuss parts dimensions, tolerances, and features with a reputable dealer. Shops that belong to the Machinery Dealers National Association are a safe bet, such as Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM), as they have a commitment to providing clients with the best possible solution within their budget.
II. Used Equipment
You can save considerably by purchasing used metrology instruments, with used equipment going for as little as half the cost of a new coordinate measuring machine. Mechanically, stationary coordinate measuring machines are sound for decades and with software and controller updates, you can keep a used machine up-to-date for a long time.
Many coordinate measuring machine OEMs have their own software, though programs like PC-DMIS have a widespread compatibility and are becoming standard across many metrology devices. If you’re buying used, there’s a good chance you will have to update the software, and buying from an independent retailer gives you your choice of software.
IV. Contract Metrology
Even once you’ve invested in a coordinate measuring machine, you may still find yourself experiencing bottlenecks, especially if you experience a personnel shortage or a new order that you need to program for. If that happens, a metrology firm can help, either by inspecting parts in their own quality lab, sending a metrologists to your shop to help, or with CMM programming services.
V. Calibration and Repair
Finally, even if you never wind up needing contract metrology services, your relationship with your metrology dealer rarely ends with the purchase. Coordinate measuring machines should be regularly recalibrated; how often depends on the nature of the machine and how often it’s used. For example, a ROMER arm should be recalibrated at least once every year, but possibly more frequently if you use it for high-tolerance parts and move it from plant to plant. Metrology shops like CMM offer service and preventive maintenance contracts to shops that need to know their equipment is accurate and performing in optimum condition without having to worry.An independent metrology dealer can offer all of these solutions and more; purchasing equipment is only the beginning of a relationship that can save your shop money and help you deliver higher quality parts.