A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) measures the physical attributes of an object along the X, Y, and Z axes. The CMM utilizes a precise probing system to scan objects at specific points, determining parameters such as size, angularity, profile, and dimensions. Accurate within a fraction of a micron, CMMs fulfill the metrology needs of various industries where high-precision parts are critical, such as medical, aerospace, and electronics manufacturing.
AIMS Metrology provides 5-axis CMM solutions and comprehensive support services, including CMM calibration, programming, training, and retrofits. As an OEM of our own CMM products, we are a one-stop shop for manufacturers requiring turnkey metrology solutions.
The Role of Metrology in Manufacturing
Metrology is the science of measurement. In manufacturing, metrology plays an important role in product quality control. Most machines in modern manufacturing make millions of parts every week with little human involvement. Each machine makes a specific part with a certain allowable tolerance for error.
All machines inevitably shift or get misaligned over time, exceeding the allowable errors for the system. These shifts or misalignments may be minuscule, but they can have catastrophic consequences if the machines produce sensitive or high-precision parts for airplanes or cars.
By measuring parts as they come off the production line, metrology tools check that the quality and dimensions of the component match the part’s specifications and stay within the preset limit or tolerance for error. If parts do not meet these specifications, the metrology tools can alert equipment operators and quality control teams to rectify the issue.
In industries where precise measurement is critical, like the automotive and aerospace markets, the metrology tools used are coordinate measuring machines. These special machines carefully measure parts to verify that they meet all relevant standards with great accuracy.
Advantages of Metrology in the Manufacturing Industry
Advantages of metrology solutions like CMMs in the manufacturing industry include the following:
- Improved Product Accuracy and Quality Control: An automated CMM in manufacturing provides highly accurate measurements, eliminating human errors and product waste. These measurements improve the consistency and accuracy of quality control processes.
- Versatile Measurement: CMMs can measure a wide range of objects, including large, complex, and delicate components, which is vital for aerospace manufacturers.
- Reduced Production Costs: CMMs reduce manufacturing costs by delivering precise measurements in less time. Metrology tools also save costs long-term by improving quality assurance and decreasing defects or rework.
- Improved Efficiency: Automated CMMs work quickly and independently, not requiring constant human supervision, unlike manual methods.
- Compliance with Standards and Regulations: Mobile and lab-grade 5-axis CMMs are crucial for meeting evolving industry standards like ISO 9001 and ISO-TS 16949. They also adapt well to new processes and products, ensuring safety and accuracy.
Applications of Metrology in Manufacturing
Dimensional inspection, or dimensional metrology, is a process that evaluates the geometric characteristics of machined parts and products to guarantee they meet the design specifications. These inspection services are essential for verifying the accuracy of features that can impact the reliability and functionality of the final product. Dimensional inspection plays a critical role during both product development and post-production.
Coordinate measuring machines are primarily designed for measuring complex surfaces. They excel in applications involving components like turbine blades, medical devices, automotive parts, pump impellers, and other items with intricate surface profiles. CMMs can also automate measurements when producing large batches of identical, highly precise parts.
How AIMS Serves Manufacturing Customers
CMM Machines, Retrofits, and Calibrations
The right CMM technology can make inspections more accurate, faster, and consistent. AIMS offers several models of 5-axis coordinate measurement machines. Our comprehensive calibration services include checking machine levels, cleaning bearings and ways, inspecting linearity, and much more to make sure your system is running at peak performance. If your CMM is outdated but a complete replacement exceeds budgetary constraints, we offer retrofitting services, which extend your system’s service life at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new CMM.
The Equator™ is a versatile gauge designed to offer speed, consistency, and user-friendliness in both manually loaded and automated tasks. It's an excellent choice for manufacturers aiming to upgrade their current measurement methods. This system supports process control on the shop floor by providing highly consistent, reprogrammable gauging insensitive to thermal variables.
AIMS provides user-friendly software options to enhance your CMM operations. With our software, you can program measurement points and paths, simulate measurements to prevent collisions and automate CMM tasks. It's also simple to gather and analyze measurement data from CMMs and other automated gauges, integrate various measurement processes, and assess workflow. Our customizable reporting tools make interpreting and utilizing your data effortless.
Proper training for CMM operation is crucial to maximize its benefits. Whether you're new to CMMs or transitioning to a 5-axis CMM, we offer foundational training to get you started with the essential programming skills. Our seasoned applications team can also train existing users to enhance their CMM expertise, improving their programming efficiency. We understand that staff turnover is common at times, so let us assist by training your team to ensure uninterrupted productivity.
Applications Engineering / Programming Development
Whether you already have a CMM in place or are getting a new one, our team is here to assist with your programming requirements. Our applications team brings decades of experience supporting all types of CMM and gauging projects. Particularly in the realm of 5-axis metrology, we are experts eager to help you maximize your CMM's potential. We can create precise, high-throughput programs or fine-tune your existing ones to reduce inspection cycle times. Regarding CMM programming support, we understand there's no one-size-fits-all solution, so we can tailor a custom solution that fits your needs.
Metrology Solutions for the Manufacturing Industry
Manufacturers rely on dependable and adaptable metrology CMMs to enhance production speed and cost-effectiveness, and the AIMS team is here to support you every step of the way. AIMS offers complete solutions for all your CMM requirements. We aim to establish long-term partnerships with our customers by providing the highest level of service and support in the industry. Request a quote today or contact us to learn more.