When it comes to quality control, few tools are as important for manufacturing businesses as coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). CMMs use high-tech tactile probes, lasers, and white light to help manufacturers to gather complex, high level data about the dimensions of recently produced parts and products, and can then compare the detailed information they gather against electronic CAD models to determine whether parts match their blueprint specifications. By catching minor errors before they become major problems, CMMs save huge amounts of time and money, and are a vital piece of equipment to have on any shop floor.
But equipping your production line with a CMM doesn’t mean you have to purchase a brand new model. Depending on your particular operation, a used CMM may be perfectly suitable for your needs, allowing you to reap all the benefits of a CMM without having to invest in the latest CMM equipment. Given the complex and sensitive nature of CMM technology, however, it is important to use discernment when shopping: a faulty CMM can be worse than no CMM at all. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when considering used models:
Purchase From An Established Dealer
Purchasing a used CMM is like buying a used automobile: it is hard to know all the things that might be wrong with it just by looking under the hood. And as is the case when buying a used car, the money you invest in repairs on a faulty model can rival the ticket price of a new one. For this reason, it is best to only buy used CMMs from an authorized dealer with an established reputation in the metrology world.
Don’t Worry About The Software
Chances are, many of the used CMMs you look at will be running software that is out of date. If the machine is in otherwise good condition, don’t let this hold you back from making the purchase; CMM software has gone through several important developments in recent years, and chances are you will want to purchase the most up-to-date version anyway. If you are buying from a licensed dealer, ask them about the software options they would recommend for your machine.
Have Your CMM Installed And Calibrated Professionally
Even the best used CMM will need careful installation and calibration before it can be used. Due to the sensitive nature of these machines, even small changes in temperature can introduce errors, so it is best to have your used CMM installed and calibrated by metrology professionals who understand how a CMM needs to be set up if it is to produce useful data. Likewise, you may want to hire contract programmers from a company like Canadian Measurement Metrology to ensure that the part programs you are running are specifically designed for your products. Doing so will ensure that you are gathering the most accurate possible data on newly produced parts from the beginning.
A functional CMM can provide your business with a long list of services, and investing in one can make a significant difference in your ability to meet those all-important production and quality deadlines. Purchasing a used CMM is a great way to save money, and if you buy from an established provider and have it professionally installed and calibrated, you can begin work confident in the knowledge that your used CMM will deliver first class performance.
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