Coordinate Measuring Machines or CMM are innovative instruments that are used to obtain the measurements of different three-dimensional products. If you’ve worked in an industrial manufacturing unit or are familiar with a manufacturing quality control department then you might have come across these machines.
These machines enable technicians to accurately measure products which are important in manufacturing processes. They can look like any other machine but are of critical importance in engineering workshops. Here we will explain the basic types of CMM’s and what measurements they can obtain.
Types of CMM’s
There are several types of CMM’s, some of the basic ones are listed below:
- Manual CMM: These are machines controlled by an operator. These are cheap and are relatively inexpensive to set up and operate. However, due to the manual nature of these machines, there are chances of human error, which makes the measurements often unreliable and inaccurate.
- Digital Computer Control CMM: These are very similar to their manual counterpart but controlled through a computer. They must be programmed for every new job and can work by themselves with little supervision. As they are controlled by a computer, technicians can rely on the measurement these machines provide.
- Portable Laser Scanner: They can be considered as a digital computer control CMM, but they operate in a much different way. These machines allow operators to take measurements of three-dimensional products instantaneously.
Measurements A CMM Can Obtain
Metrology is much more complicated than your usual calculations of length, width, and height. When it comes to machine parts, a measurement needs to be accurate, reliable and needs to consider all dimensions. You need to have a skilled measurement specialist and a quality CMM to obtain the following measurements.
- Straightness: This is defined as how close a one-dimensional characteristic is on a straight line.
- Flatness: Flatness is how much a two-dimensional product varies along its surface.
- Roundness: Like flatness, it measures a two-dimensional product along its circular surface.
- Cylindricity: Here a three-dimensional product’s closeness is measured respective to a theoretical cylinder.
- Conicity: As the name suggests, it is defined as how close a three-dimensional product is to a theoretical cone.
- Angularity: This defines how closely an angle matches its intended target.
The list can go on and on, as any product that exists in one, two, or three dimensions can be measured using a CMM. With the advent of technology, modern CMMs enable technicians to 3D scan these products into software where they can take measurements with a few clicks.
CMM technology has revolutionized the way we take measurements of different workpieces. Even though it is modern and easy, it still requires a considerable amount of technical knowledge and expertise to accurately measure these products.
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