We all know that Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) measure the geometry of physical objects by using a probe to sense discrete points on a part’s surface. With recent labor shortages and a lack of qualified workers, CMMs are more important than ever when it comes to quality control and maintaining productivity. Here, we’ll dive into the crucial role that CMMs play in manufacturing and how that will continue into the future.

CMM Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0

As Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 change the face of manufacturing with digital factories and smart machines, educators and companies want to know how to close the gap with qualified workers. Author Sarah Boisvert posits the need for a new collar workforce that can “run automation and software, design in CAD, program sensors, maintain robots, repair 3D printers, and collect and analyze data.” Research seems to support that idea, stating that 65% of children today will end up in a career that doesn’t exist yet. There is also a lack of women in the STEM workforce. According to statistics, only 15 to 25% of these positions are filled by women. In addition to the need for hard and soft skill sets like communication and problem-solving, manufacturers from industries like aerospace say that they are looking for the right stuff when it comes to prospects that can inspect parts with a CMM.

Demand for 100% part inspection and the ability to measure complex features in a smart factory environment is creating a growing demand for CMM equipment like the 5-axis HB as well as programmers and operators that know how to use them. The HB is able to monitor process flow in real time because the PH20 quickly obtains high-density points for feature size, location, and form for accurate and actionable data. This gives a manager or machinist the intel to act at critical points in parts production. We’re also finding that the HB’s Modus software is a launching pad to get students excited about this field because it’s intuitive. It allows students to program a part off of an imported model or create a program off of a part.

We’re also seeing more customers printing parts and then using the CMM to inspect them. Additive manufacturing puts a supplier ahead of the game because a programmer can print a part and check it right away instead of waiting for a program to be debugged before starting a production run.

Why CMMs Are Still Necessary to Manufacturing

CMMs will continue to play an integral role in quality control and production efficiency. They are integrating with other advanced technologies, such as AI and IoT, to provide new capabilities and enhance productivity. Here are some of the key reasons why CMMs are still integral to manufacturing:

  • Minimize mistakes.CMMs help to lower the risk of error. Rather than relying on human workers to take hand measurements, CMMs can perform more precise measurements to ensure increased consistency and quality.
  • Accuracy of Measurements. Precision and accuracy are crucial during the manufacture of various products. Typically, erring by a few micrometers can result in massive differences in the end product. CMMs improve accuracy and speed while reducing the risk of human error.
  • Faster Measurements. Compared to hand measurements and other common measuring techniques, CMMs can quickly measure items and generate accurate readings that you can rely on.
  • Speeding Up Production. A common production holdup is the need to take proper measurements of each product to ensure accuracy. This not only slows production but limits the number of products you can finish in a day. CMMs can speed up the production process by being able to quickly measure multiple products. Production speed can be even further enhanced by combining CMM technology with other machine processes, like CNC machining. This allows you to get more products out daily, which could lead to higher profits.
  • Designing New Products. CMMs boast a greater prototype turnover rate since they can quickly measure prototypes to ensure everything is correct. If there are errors, it will send the prototype back for redesign. In doing so, CMMs greatly contribute to quality control.

Contact AIMS Metrology For All Your CMM Needs

As the face of the workforce continues to shift, one thing that isn’t changing is the demand for CMMs. At AIMS Metrology, we offer 5-axis CMM technology with software that supports ERP networks, as well as training that can get your operators up and running. For more information about the importance of CMMs in manufacturing, or to learn more about our products, request a free quote today.