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The CMM’s Evolution into its Role In Smart Manufacturing

The Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) has become an essential tool in manufacturing industry, providing precise and accurate measurements of parts and products. The history of the CMM is a story of innovation and evolution, with a focus on improving accuracy and efficiency in the measurement process. In this article, we will take a look at the history, evolution and future of the CMM.

The Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) is a device used throughout manufacturing industries to measure the physical dimensions of parts and products. The CMM dates back to the late 1950s, when the first machines were developed for use in the automotive and aerospace industries.

The early CMMs were based on the principle of hard probes before migrating to touch-trigger probe technology, where a stylus was used to physically touch the surface of the part being measured. This information was then translated into numerical data, which was used to calculate physical dimensions of a part.

In the 1960s, the development of digital computers allowed for the integration of computing into CMMs, enabling machines to process data more accurately and efficiently. This was a major milestone in the development of the CMM, as it opened up new opportunities for measurement automation and with increased accuracy of the measurement process.

The Coordinate Measuring Machine: A Journey Through Time

One of the early pioneers of coordinate measuring machines was the Italian manufacturer Digital Electronic Automation (DEA), which is now integrated into Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. The video below, recently arrived into our inbox at Metrology News, and showcases the pioneering developments of DEA and the evolution of coordinate measuring machines from the 1960’s through and into the 1990’s.

The 1970’s saw the development of new technologies such as 3D scanning and automatic sensor change-racks which further improved the measuring capabilities, measuring accuracy and measuring speed of the CMM. Overseeing manufacturing quality control led to the widespread adoption of CMMs across a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and medical device manufacturing.

In the 1990’s and 2000’s, CMMs continued to evolve, with the introduction of new features such as automated data collection, improved software, and multi-sensor capability, along with more cost effective products extending further the range of CMM measurements, measurement automation and industry uptake. The widespread use of CMMs in manufacturing has also led to the development of industry standards, such as the ISO 10360 standard, which provides guidelines for the accuracy and performance of CMMs.

Today, CMMs are an essential tool throughout manufacturing, providing precise and accurate measurements of components. With the continued evolution of technology, it is likely that the capabilities of CMMs will continue to improve, providing even greater accuracy and efficiency in the manufacturing measurement process.

Role of the CMM in Smart Factories and Smart Manufacturing

Smart factories are defined by their use of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big Data analytics to improve efficiency, flexibility, and quality in the manufacturing process. The CMM is a key component in this process, providing real-time data on the physical dimensions of parts and products.

The CMM plays a crucial role in the development of smart factories and smart manufacturing. The CMM provides precise and accurate measurements essential for the efficient and effective operation of a smart factory.

The data generated by the CMM can be used to improve the overall quality and accuracy of the manufacturing process. For example, the data can be used to identify areas where improvements can be made in the design of parts or the manufacturing process itself. This leads to increased efficiency and a reduction in waste, helping to increase the overall competitiveness of the manufacturer.

In addition, the data generated by the CMM can also be used to optimize the supply chain, by providing real-time information on the availability of parts and their production schedule. This helps to minimize disruptions in the supply chain and ensures that the manufacturing process runs smoothly and efficiently.

Furthermore, the CMM can be integrated into the overall smart manufacturing system, allowing for the real-time monitoring of the manufacturing process enabling manufacturers to quickly identify and address any issues that arise, reducing downtime and increasing productivity.

Role of Model Based Definition in Programming Coordinate Measuring Machines

Model-Based Definition (MBD) is an emerging trend in the field of dimensional measurement and will play an increasingly crucial role in programming a CMM. MBD involves using a 3D digital model of a part or assembly to define its geometry and tolerances, which can then be used to guide the automated measurement sequences made by the CMM.

The benefits of using MBD in CMM programming include:

Improved Accuracy: By using a digital model to define the part or assembly, measurements made by the CMM are more accurate and consistent, reducing the risk of manual errors.

Increased Efficiency: MBD eliminates the need for manual measurement data entry and allows for faster measurement setup and data analysis, increasing the overall efficiency of the measurement process.

Enhanced Collaboration: MBD enables collaboration between different stakeholders, such as designers, engineers, and quality control, as the digital model can be easily shared and reviewed.

Increased Flexibility: MBD allows for changes to the part or assembly design to be easily incorporated into the measurement process, making it easier to respond to changes in design specifications.

Enhanced Traceability: MBD provides a clear and traceable link between the design and measurement data, allowing for more effective quality control and improved process management.

In summary, MBD plays a crucial role in CMM programming by providing a digital, accurate, and flexible framework for dimensional measurement. MBD enables more efficient and effective measurement processes and improves the overall quality of dimensional measurement data.

Future of Coordinate Measuring Machines in Smart Manufacturing

Coordinate measuring machines are predicted to play a significant role in the future of smart manufacturing continuing to inspect the physical characteristics of products and components to ensure that they meet the required specifications.

Integrated Bridge CMM In Smart Factory (Courtesy LK Metrology)

CMMs will continue to play an important role in quality control, but they will also be integrated with other advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, to provide new capabilities and improved efficiency.

Some of the ways CMMs will be used in smart manufacturing include:

Real-Time Monitoring and Control: CMMs will be integrated with other sensors and systems within the factory, allowing for real-time monitoring and control of the manufacturing process. This will help to ensure that the process remains within specified limits and produces high-quality products.

Predictive Maintenance: CMMs will be used to monitor the performance of machines and equipment, allowing for early detection of potential problems. The generated data can be used to predict when maintenance will be required, reducing downtime and improving overall efficiency.

Automated Quality Inspection: CMMs will be integrated with artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, allowing for the overall automation of quality inspection processes with improving accuracy and speed, while reducing the risk of human error.

Digital Twin Technology: CMMs will be used to create digital twins of products and components, allowing for virtual testing and simulation helping to reduce the need for physical testing and improve overall efficiencies.

Integrated Duplex CMM In Smart Automotive Factory (Courtesy LK Metrology)

The CMM continues to evolve all aspects of its technology components and continues to adapt to the new and increasing market demands. Overall, the future of CMMs in smart manufacturing is bright, as they will continue to play an important role in process and quality control and will become integrated with other advanced technologies to provide new capabilities and improved efficiency.

The CMM will help to support the integration of Industry 4.0 technologies into the manufacturing process and aid in the creation of smart factories in the future that are more efficient, flexible, and adaptive. The CMM ability to provide precise and accurate measurements of parts and products, combined with its integration into the overall smart manufacturing system, makes it an essential tool in the continuing effort to increase efficiency, flexibility, and quality in manufacturing processes.