After decades of decline, advances in automation have made North American factories better able to compete against factories in less regulated countries, where labour costs are cheaper. Coordinate measurement machines (CMMs) have played an enormous role in this resurgence by enabling automation on the assembly line, often performing the role of quality control.
With incredible precision, CMM machines can scan parts ranging in size from micrometres to over a hundred feet, and detect whether there are any defects in newly produced parts.
If your company owns a CMM machine, you know it’s essential that these electromechanical machines relay data that is both extremely accurate and reliable. Here are some tips to make sure that you get the best performance from your CMM machine.
Pamper Your CMM Machine Constantly, and from the Beginning
You want to know that the CMM machine is working optimally right from the start, so it’s important to have it installed by a well-trained metrologist. You must make sure to take care of your equipment and recalibrate what needs to be adjusted for, starting right from the time of installation and throughout the life of the machine.
CMM machines are sensitive pieces of equipment, and even factors like the temperature and condition of the room in which it is operating can impact the machine’s performance if these variables aren’t properly adjusted for.
Authorized dealers offer a range of CMM services, including: portable arm recalibration, upgrades and retrofits, CMM calibration, machine relocation, and preventative maintenance. If a company can provide all of these services, it’s a sign that you’re in good hands.
Get Help from the People Who Know
Perhaps your company has an in-house metrology expert. If you don’t, hire one on contract to consult about how best to source replacement parts and calibrate your machine. They know a lot about every kind of CMM machine, including probes, probe heads, and the newest software.
Only consult experts who are ISO 9000 and ISO 17025 accredited.
Train Your Employees Properly
Not all the ways to maximize a CMM machine’s effectiveness come from the machines themselves. There are measurement solutions providers which offer CMM training and e-courses for your employees.
While CMM machines have played a substantial role in production line automation, employees still play a crucial role in factories. Not every aspect of a CMM machine is automated, and employees need to understand how to interact with this equipment for the company to get the most out of it.
E-Learning can teach employees how to operate CMM equipment at their own speed, without having to physically leave the factory where they’re already working. For employees who have already been adequately trained, the courses can function as a helpful refresher. The software comes with a library of software features to consult for anybody who could use a resource to review.
CMM machines are an incredible tool for your assembly line, but only if they work at their maximum capacity. So long as you take these basic steps to get the most from them, your CMM machine will be an invaluable resource for years to come.