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Find the Right Coordinate Measuring Machine for the Job

In North America, increased accuracy and efficiency have been the goals of technological investment in quality assurance, largely in coordinate measuring machines and related inspection tools. If you need to introduce new metrology to your shop to accurately inspect a new part on your production line, it’s important that you take this opportunity to find the tool that’s best suited to the job. A metrology vendor can help you find the machine that matches your accuracy and range requirements, but below you will find a guide explaining which types of metrology equipment are best suited for different parts.
Small to Medium Parts
When you’re dealing with small to medium parts that require high precision measurement, you’re best off using a traditional CMM. Automated coordinate measuring machines provide the fastest measurements for 3D components that fit on their table and are relatively easy to load. Depending on the size and shape of the part, you may want to consider bridge, gantry, horizontal, vertical, and shop floor models. Gantry, horizontal, and vertical types can occupy enormous footprints in your shop, but they provide automated measurements of larger components, while shop floor types can control for temperature fluctuations and won’t be harmed by contaminants in shop floor air. You can find out more about different types of mainstay coordinate measuring machines by visiting and learning about the purposes for which these instruments were made.
Large Parts
The cumbersome nature of very large parts such as you might see in the automotive and aerospace industries means that it’s difficult to achieve fully automated inspection. However, both portable arms and laser trackers offer valuable ways to cut down on labor hours when you’re inspecting these kinds of components. Portable options like the ROMER Arm available from vendors like Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM) are easy to manually operate and they have an unparalleled range compared to their accuracy. Meanwhile, laser trackers can offer high speeds as they collect data from lasers bouncing off of an SMR (spherically mounted retro-reflector) held against the component to be inspected.
Very Small or Malleable Parts
When you’re dealing with soft or malleable parts (i.e., the seat of a car), very small parts (i.e., circuits), or components made with a material that would affect the way a laser bounces from it, the only solution may be a multisensor vision system. Unfortunately, optical solutions like these are limited in accuracy because of camera resolution, but they can inspect niche components that other methods cannot. They are particularly powerful and flexible when they’re combined with contact probes, and they are easily added to any kind of coordinate measuring machine, which can renew their usefulness as your product line changes. Anytime you buy a measuring instrument for a specific product line, you have to calculate the ROI on what could be a limited number of orders, so it’s always a good plan to consider future adaptability.
The size and specifics of your component are not the only aspects you need to take into consideration, as you should also keep in mind your inspection department’s relation to the production line. Will automated inspection save you that much time if you can’t work out a way to quickly load components on the measuring table? Consult with a metrology dealer and find the solution that will keep your production line running without any bottlenecks in the inspection department.