AIMS Metrology Blog

AIMS Metrology Blog


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.


With the International Manufacturing Technology Show IMTS ─less than five weeks away, Mark Gearding, vice-president and co-founder of AIMS Metrology, talks about what manufacturers need most and how coordinate measuring machine technology stacks up to the challenges

Too Much Information - Breaking down the Top 10 CMM Benefits

We’re all aware on some level that the amount of information is growing exponentially while the amount of time we have to sift through it is shrinking.  In fact, if you take a look at some statistics, the amount of data produced on a daily basis is staggering.

The Skinny on CMM Software

When it comes to coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) most of us focus on what’s right in front of us—the parts we need to inspect. Fabricators tend to be equally concerned about CMM features that can increase throughput while maintaining accuracy and quality requirements. In today’s smart factory environment the need for machine-to-machine communication and the capability to collect data that is actionable has put the spotlight on another piece of the package; the software.

Linear Motors - What's in Your Motor?

No one wants to get the call that a bad part found its way to a customer.  Founding father Benjamin Franklin had the solution when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In this case a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) makes a strong “cure.”

Can I Talk to The Manager, Please? The Value of Service

If you look at customer service trends for 2018 you are likely to read about things like chat support with chatbots.  In theory, the chatbot eliminates the wait for customers who want answers in real time. But 73 percent of customers surveyed about their experience reported that the experience was less than positive.

HB Shines at EXPOMAQ

In April I attended EXPOMAQ at the Poliforum Exhibition Center in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. The show is held every two years and attracts more than 10,000 visitors from a wide range of markets. Metrology equipment is among the featured machines and technology advances. Guanajuato, the show’s location, is considered the most dynamic state for automotive manufacturing with an annual growth rate of approximately 20 percent. Vehicle production is primarily located in the Bajío and fed by companies like Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Volkswagen and BMW.

Look Back If You Want to Move Forward


The ability to look back gives us the gift of hindsight especially where technology is concerned.  A historical review can show us the effects of innovation over time. History can also be educational. George Washington said, “We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

Need Accuracy? Make Sure You've Got What It Takes


We talk a lot about how important accuracy is when it comes to measuring parts. The aerospace, medical device and automotive markets, in particular, crave precision. Yet the coordinate measuring machines that perform these tasks also have to be able to withstand rugged environmental conditions.   Intuitively, we all know that temperature variations impact probe measurement characteristics as well as the characteristics of the parts being measured.  

3 Axis vs 5 Axis CMM - A Problem Solved 

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.

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