For the past few months our engineering team has been involved in research and testing of various coordinate-measuring machines (CMM). Last week, we visited Made to Measure, East Dundee, IL based company specializing in inspection services and sale of quality measurement machines.
What is a coordinate measuring machine (CMM)?
Coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is a device that measures the geometry of physical objects by sensing discrete points on the surface of the object with a probe. Various types of probes are used in CMMs, including mechanical, optical, laser, and white light. Depending on the machine, the probe position may be manually controlled by an operator or it may be computer controlled.
Next generation CMMs
Hardware and software demo shed some light on capabilities of next gen CMMs. The first demonstration was a handheld Laser-Scanner and the accompanying software. Scanners of this type are used to scan over a part and re-create it in 3D space, a particularly useful technology for Reverse Engineering.
Instead of taking measurements by hand and using them to build a 3D model from the ground up, a process that can take several days in the office, the set-up and scanning of a part could create that 3D model in hours.
Mechanical Power’s current CMM is a capable device that has served us well, however, it does not possess programming or automatic capability, nor does it match the accuracy found in newer CMM’s. We sent Made to Measure few components in advance to let them set up a measurement program that they demonstrated to us during our visit.
Precision, Speed, and Multitasking
This powerful combination of new hardware and software allows CMM operator set the part, load a saved program specifically for that part or even for that part type (aka a generic bearing inspection program), begin the program and then walk away to complete another task.
The multitasking, automatic operation, and time saving between a hand measured part, and one measured by a program is significant.
As Mechanical Power’s customer base evolves and we tackle more demanding and complex parts, difficult to measure and tight tolerances become more prevalent. The capabilities of the new CMM and software are designed to handle such challenges with ease for the years to come, future proofing MPI for decades to come.