In the wide world of manufacturing there are many key pieces of technology at work. Products have to be designed, put together, and inspected, just to name a few steps. These processes all require advanced technological machinery to ensure that produces are manufactured in the most cost-effective, efficient method possible. One such important machine is the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM).

What Is A CMM Machine?

Coordinate Measuring Machines are electromechanical devices designed for measuring coordinates of the surface area of an object. They are frequently used in the inspection process of manufacturing a product. To obtain measurements the CMM generally uses a touch probe to digitize the coordinate locations of the product being measured. Some capabilities that you might find in a modern CMM would be CAD model import/export, measurement capabilities that are both programmable or automated, imaging, and digitizing capabilities. CMM’s are expensive initially, but they have a long life where the unit itself is concerned. There may need to be some parts or software replaced, but the actual machine should prove to be an asset to a manufacturer for decades. Some different types of CMM’s you might expect to find are Gantry, Vertical, Horizontal, Bridge, and Non-Contact.

Improvements to CMM’s

Many upgrades and improvements being developed for CMM’s aren’t making changes to the hardware of the device so much as to the software. Manufacturers of CMM’s are now concentrating on the shift in most industries to a widely paper-free workplace. This means that consumers for these machines are looking for them to have a capability for electronic storage of data. There have also been many improvements to the accuracy of the measurements that these machines calculate. Also, many companies are now striving to manufacture CMM’s that utilize video and laser technology as opposed to the touch probe methods being used in most CMM’s developed in the past.

While the basic CMM still looks roughly the same as a machine that was produced two decades ago, don’t let the lack of aesthetic improvement fool you. Coordinate Measuring Machines are an important technology in the manufacturing business. Improvements to the software, accuracy, and even in some cases the hardware of the device are making sure that these machines will still prove a worthy investment for years to come.