Everybody knows how globalization changed the world of business, but the story of how CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine) machines helped to rescue North America’s manufacturing industry is lesser-known and deserves to be told.
For decades manufacturing thrived in North America. The full embodiment of the industry was the Ford factory, which in the early 20th century was the envy of the industry.
But factories here started to face stiffer competition from factories located in countries where labor was cheaper, and regulations were fewer. North America needed to find a way to dramatically cut the costs of production in order to remain relevant.
Evolve or Die
This is the point where CMM machines swooped in, often playing the vital role of quality control quicker and with more accuracy than humans possibly could. CMM machines measure the physical geometric characteristics of an object or a part, and they can be controlled by both a human operator or by computer.
A probe attached to the machine’s third moving axis defines the measurements. After scanning the part or object, the machine then compares the results of the scan against the blueprint of what was scanned, which has been uploaded already into the machine. If there’s any difference between the part itself and the blueprint, the machine knows there’s a flaw.
An authorized dealer is your source for used CMM equipment and programming training that you can rely on; so your factory produce goods that meet market standards.
The next iteration of automation is in its early stages, yet it’s already having an impact. Known as Industry 4.0, machines now have software inside them that lets them effectively communicate with other automated equipment.
For example, if a CMM machine with the software PolyWorks inside it detects a flaw caused by machine wear and tear, then other machines along the same assembly line will be alerted instantaneously. This means CMM machines have changed from automating quality control, to also automating the diagnosing of machine degradation.
This saves employees from wasting time trying to identify the cause of the equipment break down. Equipment that automates vital functions in a factory and also mitigates the cost of an equipment failure is a valuable tool indeed!
Industry moves at a quick pace and the innovations in automation that allowed North America’s factories to compete once again on a global stage need to keep improving and developing.
Buying a CMM machine for your factory is an invaluable tool for your production line. After the purchase, keep up with the latest developments in metrology as a way to stay ahead of the game, and let the technology which has already saved North American manufacturing help it thrive for years into the future.