What to do with the results of your inspection

Coordinate measure machines, CMMs, are used for the inspection of physical objects and are able to generate extremely accurate measurements both externally and internally depending on the type of machine and method that is used in the process.  With these machines being so incredibly versatile, they have become a standard part of the process in a number of development and manufacturing industries. The machine is capable of producing measurements that can give the dimensions, profile/form, depth, and angles of a physical object into a large number of coordinates. But what use are all of these data points? Let’s take a look at a few options.

One of the most common uses for a CMM inspection is to look at dimensions of parts or equipment. This has many uses even within itself. One use for examining a part is for quality control. As a manufacturer or designer, quality control and low-tolerance reproduction is paramount to success. A CMM inspection is relatively quick method to be able to test a number of sample products from the line to ensure that manufactured items are being reproduced with reliable specifications that meet client and industry needs. The measurements obtained through an inspection can be quickly compared to the design specifications to ensure reproducibility with high reliability. This can greatly cut down any bottleneck with the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP). The use of CMM inspection does not have to wait until mass production has begun though. An inspection can be done with the First Article Inspection (FAI) to check to make sure that reasonable production is even within range before a large amount of resources are committed to the process.

CMM inspections also have their use in prototyping and reverse engineering. Within prototyping, an inspection is about to determine rather quickly whether or not the design fits the specifications of the application. This can cut down on the cost and time required for the prototyping process by eliminating some of the physical checking of the prototype into the actual environment. When it comes to reverse engineering, CMMs inspections are often able to fill in gaps where 3D scanners may not be able to provide the best data. Especially through the use of X-ray CT CMMs, objects that have more complicated internal geometries are able to have those specifications captured without having to destroy or take apart an object to do those measurements. This obviously can save a great deal of time and money in such an application allowing the new product to enter into production and use much quicker.

With CMMs’ ability to make extremely accurate and small-step measurements for the depths on the surface and across the dimensions of an object, this also brings value to a CMM inspection for proofing and troubleshooting. The process for creating a mold for casting, cutting, or forming can be an arduous one and an error in the mold could be catastrophic for the reproducibility of the item or the stability of the mold itself. By ordering a CMM inspection before the mold is used in production, the mold itself can be checked for any discrepancies that might cause bottlenecks or unacceptable outcomes once production begins. When it comes to troubleshooting, regardless of all the steps taken to prevent problems in production, they can happen. A CMM inspection can be used to help identify if there are any issues with equipment. Examples of issues that a CMM inspection include, but are not limited to, cracks in parts of the manufacturing machines, warping that has occurred as in the production, stresses that may be occurring throughout the process.

With the varied possibilities of application for a CMM inspection, such inspections are coming an industry standard to help guarantee a smooth and reliable process from design to delivery. While owning and operating a CMM can be an extremely expensive endeavor, ordering a CMM inspection from a reliable company is possible at a cost that is as low as a few percent the cost of the machine itself. To talk with the experts about how a CMM inspection can help your company, contact Engineered Mechanical Systems today to start the conversation to creating an efficient and effective process.