It’s entirely possible that North American manufacturing could have become extinct if it weren’t for the coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Factories in North America used to be more productive than factories anywhere else in the world, but globalization subjected them to compete in countries with fewer regulations and cheaper labour.
It was automation which made factories here competitive again, and CMM machines feature large in automation, often playing the role of automating quality control along production lines.
You can read the Canadian Measurement Metrology Blog to keep up with all the ways to make sure your machines work properly, and learn about all the latest equipment and software that can give your business efficient and reliable results in greater detail. Meanwhile, here is an overview about the different kinds of CMM machines on the market.
1. Bridge CMM
Definitely the most popular CMM machine from the 1970s to today is the Bridge CMM. Beyond just being found in factories all over North America, it’s been the mainstay of coordinate metrology for decades.
Bridge CMMs are ubiquitous because they can handle the largest range of part sizes. If you factor in its precision and reliability, as well as the price point at which it’s offered, it’s unsurprising that Bridge CMMs are found all over the continent.
2. Portable CMM
The ROMER Arm is the most well-known portable CMM machine, and it’s an incredibly versatile machine. It can perform quality control, inspection, on-machine verification, virtual assembly and also 3D modelling. Portable CMMS can also take existing parts and reverse engineer blueprints.
No matter which industry is using the Portable CMM, they are celebrated for their durability, toughness and precision. The arm can measure the dimensions of parts or products on all of its sides, and because of its integrated scanning system inspection can be done right on the shop floor. Portable CMMs can collect thousands of data points per second, using its white light or laser system.
3. Vision and Multisensor Systems
Sometimes a part or object can’t be scanned with the tactile probe because it is just too small or delicate. This is what the Vision and Multisensor Systems are designed for.
By using white lights and video scanners, these CMM machines can measure parts smaller than 600 millimetres squared in area, and less than 200 millimetres tall.
4. Gantry CMM
Gantry CMM machines resemble Bridge CMs, only they can scan much bigger parts. For this reason, they are used by the automotive and aerospace industries, where production lines work with extremely large parts and absolute precision is required. Gantry CMMs have a hand in the building of parts meant for planes, cars, and spaceships.
You can easily load the parts by lift truck or crane because of the Gantry’s open access to the measuring volume. Gantry CMMs thankfully require little maintenance — the guideways and drive systems are located safely away from dirt or other contaminants.
The CMM machine that works for you will largely be determined by the nature of what your factory produces. If your factory’s production line can benefit from automation, speak to a specialist who can direct you to the CMM machine that deliver all your needs.