If your production line relies on a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for quality control purposes, then you probably understand how important a regular stream of high-quality metrological data is for ensuring that the parts you are producing match blueprint specifications as closely as possible. Without a functional CMM, it is difficult to be sure that parts are free of defects, and this is especially true when those parts are very large or very small.
A CMM is only as good as the probes it uses to gather data, however, and if you want to avoid costly measurement errors, you need to make sure you are using the right probe heads for the job. But if you are having problems with your CMM and have ascertained that your probe heads are not gathering accurate data, it can be difficult to know exactly how you should go about replacing them.
CMMs use a variety of different probes, and finding the right one is the key to restoring your machine’s functionality. If you are looking for CMM probes or probe heads and want to make sure you find replacements that are right for you, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
• Remember that CMM probes are incredibly sensitive pieces of technology, and are designed to measure distances down to the micron. Make sure you have your machine calibrated properly before you perform any accuracy tests, and bear in mind that changes in temperature or humidity can affect your CMM’s performance.
• If you don’t have a metrology expert working in-house, it can be worth hiring on a contract metrologist to help you with calibration and replacement.
• Contract metrologists have expert knowledge of the range of different CMMs and the probes they use, and can advise you on what probes or probe heads are suitable for your machine.
Once you know what your needs are and sought professional help in meeting them, you can start looking for probe providers. Many different companies manufacture CMM probes, and while it is possible to buy direct from the manufacturer, it might make more sense in the long run to purchase from a third party metrology dealer like Canadian Measurement Metrology that sources CMM equipment from a wide range of providers.
Companies like CMM can provide you with advice on which solutions are best for you, and dealers also often stock used probes and probe heads that might be able to help you save money.
All manufacturers understand how essentially having tools that work properly is to the success of a production line, but it is especially important to ensure that your CMM is providing you with reliable, accurate measurement data. Because the CMM monitors quality control of all produced parts, a CMM that is providing inaccurate reports can be devastating to a firm’s reputation.
If you suspect that your CMM may not be operating with the best possible probe, be sure to look into replacing the probe head immediately. Remember, a reputation takes years to build, but it can be destroyed by a single shipment of faulty parts.