The Importance of CMM Interim Checks

Coordinate measuring machines, commonly referred to as CMM machines, measure the geometry of physical objects along their X, Y, and Z axes. There are several types of CMM machines available, however, all types require regular maintenance and health checks to ensure they continue functioning accurately between annual calibrations and servicing. This blog post will explain what interim CMM machine health checks are and how they're performed.

What is a CMM Machine Health Check?

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The Importance of CMM Interim Checks

CMM interim checks are a key method of safeguarding the equipment in between other regularly scheduled calibrations. The consistent use of any machine can cause issues to develop, and with CMM machines, regular interim checks help prevent inaccurate results and errors as well as expensive repairs and downtime.

During a CMM machine health check, the same procedures as a regular service visit are performed, only without calibration and verification processes.The CMM is inspected thoroughly and serviced to deliver optimum operation levels. During the inspection process, any areas that could be improved are identified and worked on to prevent future issues.

By performing CMM health checks regularly, a history of the equipment's capabilities is established. This allows any future performance issues to be identified quickly, preventing more costly and significant damages in the future.

Why is CMM Machine Maintenance Important?

Larger equipment, such as CMMs, are typically only calibrated once per year. In between this time, there is always the possibility of something happening to the equipment since its last calibration, causing inaccurate results. If issues aren’t discovered for several months, a liability dating back to the last calibration can occur, since you may not be able to identify when the problem first began.

Performing interim checks verifies that the system is functioning properly at that moment and lets you know if repairs and recalibration are necessary. Any issues will have only occurred since the last interim check, decreasing the liability period.

In addition to interim checks, it is recommended and often required that CMM calibrations be performed at least once per year for standard-use machines. The more frequently a machine is used, or the more harsh the operating environment, the higher the recommended frequency of calibrations. CMM calibrations are performed once upon installation of the machine and then again as needed to determine the magnitude of the 21 kinematic error sources. Calibration ensures the CMM is accurately meeting all its specifications.

How to Perform Interim Checks on CMM Machines

Interim CMM checks are performed internally to verify that the equipment is performing according to requirements. During the check, you’ll set an error of indication used in the test, which is based on the machine's condition, required accuracy, operating conditions, as well as specific requirements and use. It's important to note that CMM verification tests do not guarantee measurement traceability for all tasks performed. However, these tests are the closest approximation to traceability available.

The most simple form of interim check involves taking a golden part, inspecting it, and then storing it safely for use in future testing to check for consistency. Other types of interim checks for CMMs include:

  • Inspecting the device for loose or damaged parts
  • Cleaning the surface plate
  • Checking the air filters and looking for moisture in the air line
  • Cleaning and replacing electrical cabinet filters

CMM Machine Solutions From AIMS

Performing regular checks on CMM machines, even between scheduled calibrations, is crucial for preventing costly future problems and downtime. Proper CMM testing and maintenance ensures your equipment is measuring accurately and serves as a baseline to reference during future checks. At AIMS, we specialize in CMMs, measuring probes, and custom metrology fixtures. Our skilled service group is available to support you with expert calibration, repair and other services to fit your needs.

For more information on CMM equipment and services from AIMS, request a quote today or contact us with any questions.