A used coordinate measuring machine is a powerful piece of technology. Mechanically robust, a coordinate measuring machine has decades of useful life. You can save a lot of money on a used coordinate measuring machine or extend your capital investment by pushing one to the end of its useful life once it’s on your floor.
But to make the most of your coordinate measuring machine, it takes both careful maintenance and the occasional upgrade and retrofit to keep it up to contemporary standards.
Upgrade the Software
Software is one of the fastest-evolving aspects of metrology today and it’s the easiest to fall behind on. But letting your software go obsolete also means you’re missing out in time-saving capacity that your competitors are capitalizing on to find new efficiencies.
In the last few years, the latest CMM software on the market is increasingly targeting user experience and speed. PC-DMIS 2017, for example, is pushing the use of CAD models in inspection, introducing new sheet metal routines designed specifically for the automotive industry, and making it easier to align complex, contoured parts.
New Renishaw Probes
Few parts of your coordinate measuring machine have a bigger impact on inspection time and accuracy than your probing system. You can’t afford to use an out-of-date probing system, as they take longer and deliver more errors than newer systems.
One of the first things you should do is talk to your metrology dealer about installing a contemporary probing system like the Renishaw PH20, a rapid touch-trigger probing system. You can also ask about solutions for non-contact measurement.
New Renishaw probing systems offer 5-axis measurement systems, which synchronize with the coordinate measuring machine’s motion and head axes. A new probing system can reduce your dynamic errors and increase your measurement speed. For example, on non-contact measurements, a Renishaw REVO retrofit can you save you 70% on your cycle time. Meanwhile, the Renishaw PH20, available through retrofitters like CMM (Canadian Measurement Metrology), can improve your throughput by a factor of three.
Have you been loading parts from one coordinate measuring machine to another to measure different aspects of the component? You can save time loading and unloading by improving the functionality of a coordinate measuring machine, so that the same machine can measure everything in a component. Surface roughness is a great example of a component feature that you would formerly have to measure separately.
Adding the ability to perform a surface quality assessment, or any additional tasks, furnishes you with a more versatile coordinate measuring machine that reduces your labor costs.
Add Visions Systems and Laser Scanners
Visions systems and laser scanners have rapidly sped up the collection of component data and even gone so far as to enable real time data collection that helps inspectors monitor machine tool performance as components are built.
Laser scanners are at the forefront of modernizing shops, as is the software the enables metrologists to collect and analyze hundreds of thousands of data points and render them instantly in 3D. They’re also easily incorporated into coordinate measuring machines and portable arms to bring their capabilities up to speed.
Coordinate measuring machines are major investments in the future of your shop. Buying a used coordinate measuring machine can give you room in your budget to afford the upgrades you truly need, while upgrades can also extend the useful lifespan of any coordinate measuring machine you already have. Bring your machine to a metrology retrofitter and see how they can help you.