AIMS Metrology Blog

AIMS Metrology Blog


Keeping it Clean: Calibrating and Certifying a CMM


Have You Done Your Coordinate Measuring Machine Spring Cleaning Yet?

If you look at the typical household “spring cleaning checklist” you’ll see items like dust crown molding, wash table linens, dust and clean windows inside and out; clean and disinfect light switches and outlets and polish wood cabinets. “Spring cleaning” is equally important for job shops and manufacturing facilities—especially when it comes to equipment like the 5-axis coordinate measuring machine (CMM).

Flying the Friendly Skies: Can CMMs Help the Aerospace Market?

In spite of supply chain challenges, Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer closed out 2018 with confirmed orders for more than 400 jetliners. Airbus and Boeing delivered record numbers of aircraft and each has racked up seven or more years of production to satisfy a 13,450 airplane backlog.

In terms of the aerospace market, 2019 is proving to be the year of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), data analytics, advanced sensors and IoT. Data analytics continues to take on a bigger role. Forecasters report that the “amount of data being created by the industry is overwhelming.”

CMM 101: The What and Why for 5-Axis CMMs

Events like the Vietnam War, Civil Rights protests, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King punctuated the 1960s which ended with Americans watching astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first man to set foot on the moon. The coordinate measuring machine (CMM) also traces its’ roots to this tumultuous decade. Those early models were limited, capable of nothing more than manual inspections with hard probing.

3 Axis vs 5 Axis CMM - A Problem Solved 

“Avengers: Endgame” is predicted to pass $937 million shortly. When that happens, media experts will crown the latest Marvel film as the biggest hit ever. The film debuted April 24 but its’ directors along with a number of media outlets have asked viewers not to spoil Endgames for others by talking about it.   The point to this is that individuals have gone to great measures to protect the film from leaks and fans have endured long lines and hours of waiting in some cases, to be among the first to see the film on opening weekend.

It speaks to a trend among people that whether it’s a long-awaited film, the latest iphone or some other gadget, people want the latest technology. The same could be said for coordinate measuring machines. Until recently, conventional 3-axis CMMs proved largely sufficient. A probe attached to a third moving axis measured a part’s physical characteristics. But slower cycle times, limited flexibility [5 to 7 1/2 degrees of polarity] and lack of mobility have proved problematic in an Industry 4.0 environment. Rigidity and high costs have made custom gauges—another type of measurement instrument— less attractive since the tool can only inspect the part it was designed for.

Probes 101: Essential CMM Hardware

We talk a lot about CMM software - but the hardware merits a mention or two now and then, especially when there is something new to talk about. Point of fact, our focus is the CMM probe, the most important piece of a coordinate measuring machine. The probe you select can mean the difference between a CMM that is a powerful asset or one that…well…frankly isnt.  As Ian Wright says at, “A coordinate measuring machine is only as good as its probe(s).” 

Software Gets a Facelift

Baby boomers are retiring at the rate of approximately 10,000 a day. In their wake, Millennials are changing the way manufacturers do things.

Tips on How to Make Your ERP Investment Count

Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

In the metal fabrication business, most companies are small to mid-sized. Yet these manufacturers juggle a bevy of parts and sub-assemblies for a myriad of applications and industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to waste water treatment plants and oil and gas. Collapsed timelines, tighter tolerances and changing requirements have become standard fare. And it isn’t getting any easier. Customers want to be able to make design changes on the fly and get updates on part specifications in real time. If a machine goes down a fabricator may have to rely on a neighboring company to get parts out the door. That means being able to download programs and fixtures without the need to reprogram.

George Washington and Manufacturing: How Are They Connected?

This week we celebrated Presidents’ Day.  If you are a history buff you know that the holiday was born in 1800 following the death of George Washington in 1799. It was an unofficial observance at the time though marked by historical events like the 1832 centennial of Washington’s birth and the construction of the Washington Monument which started in 1848. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed Washington’s February 22 birthday into a federal holiday. At first, the holiday only applied to the District of Columbia. In 1885, the entire country was invited to participate in the holiday.

All About Throughput

Trends are interesting, especially at the beginning of a new year. If you Google health you’ll see headlines that tell you oat milk will be the new almond milk, prebiotics will be the new probiotics and fats will be the new protein. If you look up fashion for 2019, bamboo bags and statement sneakers are all the rage. Artificial intelligence is slated to grow while pure cable TV is expected to die a slow death.

Looking Forward from a Different Angle

In the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society,” an English teacher played by actor Robin Williams, inspires his students by teaching poetry. Williams character, John Keating also teaches them life lessons. In the first scene in the film Keating stands on his desk. In the final scene his students do. The acts symbolize seeing the world from another point of view. In our last blog we gave you a snap shot of the marketplace for 2019. This week we thought we’d give you a different perspective from ThomasNet. The 120-year-old company is a data, platform and technology organization that has become the leading resource for the industrial marketplace. 

ThomasNet delved into some data to look at products and services with the highest procurement rates in 2018. Here’s what they found.

A Look in the Crystal Ball for 2019

It’s hard to believe that we’ve closed the books on yet another year. In 2018 customers talked to us about the convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). The Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Cloud and big data have changed the landscape for metal parts suppliers. We saw the demand for 100 percent part inspection increase and reshoring efforts grow. These trends have pushed the CMM into a larger measurement and inspection role on the shop floor. 

A Perfect Partnership: 5-axis CMMs + 5-axis Machining Tools

Five-axis machine tools are becoming more cost efficient as the technology evolves. The capability to produce higher quality parts and increased throughput has pushed 5-axis machine tools into the spotlight over the last few years.  Inherent limitations are also being ushered out of the way with updates in cutting tools and CAD/CAM software.  The combination means operators can generate smooth, accurate 3D surfaces in challenging materials faster while extending tool life. Mold and die makers are already reaping the benefits but these improvements also support a number of 3D applications for aerospace and orthopedic applications.

New E-Book Targets Medical Device Market

The med tech industry in the U.S. is experiencing an upswing in revenue according to a recent study by the Alexander Group. 

Their findings revealed that year-over-year growth topped five percent last year, “rebounding from a low three percent in 2014". To respond to margin pressures medical device companies are rethinking the way they bring products to market.  One shift in the customer model is focusing on products and solutions that provide tangible outcomes for doctors and health systems versus clinicians.

Co-Bots, Millennials and Gen X in Manufacturing

Since the Fourth Industrial Revolution (the Internet of Things) swept the manufacturing scene, the shop floor has evolved into a smart environment where workers, aided by intelligent “co-bots” are creating and producing products and services with a new generation of technologies.

A is for Automation

A strong economy is providing a much needed boost to the manufacturing industry but many companies will tell you they are being squeezed by an increasingly tight labor market. The Manufacturing Institute projects that by the year 2025, some 2 million jobs within the industry will go unfilled. Experts say the lack of workers is due to a combination of economic expansion and baby boomer retirements. But there’s a third factor behind the scarcity of experienced employees— the skills gap.

Measurement Isn't Just About Math

As a kid I was fascinated with all things Egyptian so it’s not surprising to me that the Egyptian cubit is considered one of the earliest known units used to measure length. The word “measurement” though comes from the Greek word “metron.” Webster’s Dictionary defines measurement as a “figure, extent, or amount obtained by measuring: dimension.”

A Bumper Year - IMTS 2018 in Review

The International Manufacturing Technology Show held in Chicago, Illinois in September set new records. The 32nd edition of IMTS drew a record breaking registration of 129,415 people, 1,424,232 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 2,563 exhibiting companies and 2,123 booths. Bonnie Gurney, director of industry partnerships for AMT credited a rapidly transforming industry stating, “exponential technology advances and a strong economy propel North America’s premier manufacturing show.”

The Big Three for Industry 4.0 in CMMs - Machine, Software and Data Collection

These days autonomy surrounds us, from intelligent cars and smart appliances to virtual assistants. The word “smart” has become synonymous with any gadget or inanimate object that can connect, share and interact with its human counterpart and other devices. Statistica reports the “smart house market alone will approach 40 billion USD in the US alone by 2020.”  Fifty-seven percent of Americans say that equipping their homes with smart products saves them approximately 30 minutes per day or 182.5 hours a year.

Give an Inch, Take a Mile

If you look up the definition of measurement, it is described as the act of determining an object’s size, length, weight or capacity. A quick look at a Thesaurus offers up similar words to convey the idea of measurement such as quantify, compute or calculate.

The Rule of 3 as It Applies to CMMs

We’ve all heard it at one time or another; the phrase ‘…everything comes in threes.’ Some people link this phrase with good things while others connect the idiom with negative events. If you think about it, we’ve been exposed to the idea of things or events happening in groups of three since we were kids.

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