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The Different Kinds of CMM Equipment Available

Coordinate Measuring Machines, known commonly as CMMs, have been greatly improved in the last few years. These devices play an important role in the advancement of automation.While the function of CMM equipment is largely the same—to assess the precise dimensions and surface area of whatever tools and materials with ahigh degree of accuracy—there are different kinds of CMM devices, each of which is designed to meet specific industrial needs.

Here is an introduction to the different kinds of CMM equipment available on the market today.

Types of Coordinate Measuring Machine:

  1. Bridge: Perhaps the most common CMM equipment is known as a “bridge” model. It allows probe movement along three axes. Each axis has a sensor that monitors the position of the probe on that axis down to the nanometre. They are popular because of their basic structure, relatively low cost, and the fact that they come in a variety of different sizes.
  2. Portable CMMs: These are also very common because they are inexpensive, butthey are also rugged and accurate and, as the description suggests, portable. The portable arm with integrated scanning system allows inspection on the shop floor(usually using white light or a laser system) whichcollects thousands of data points every second, and can reverse engineer blueprints from already existing parts. These factors make it ideal for sheet metal, plastic injection molded components, models, and complex dye work. There are several different kinds of portable CMM available. Click here to learn about the latest portable CMM equipment on the market today.
  3. Gantry: When you have very large or heavy parts that need the precision of a bridge machine, a Gantry CMM machine is what’s required. Most gantry machines need to be mounted to the floor to provide extra support, but once in operation they can provide detailed measurements for the kind of large, complex parts often required by the aerospace and automotive industries.
  4. Cantilever: This is a design that’s been around since the 1970s. Today, not many are manufactured. The cantilever CMM is used to measure small parts. It’s used most effectively on a shop floor because it’s well suited for automatic loading and unloading. Looking at cantilevered furniture can help you imagine the positioning and the design of the arm on this piece of CMM equipment.
  5. Horizontal Arm: This type of CMM equipment is of a different configuration than the rest. One vertical column and a horizontal arm are mounted to a saddle that runs up and down the vertical column. There are two different types of Horizontal Arm, “plate mounted” and “two runway mounted.” While they are the least accurate type of CMM, they have some distinct advantages. For one, they can measure large sheet-metal type components associated with automobiles, such as body sides, dashboards, doors, and more.

Automation shows no signs of slowing down, and CMMs are becoming more common. Selecting a CMM is an important choice for your business, and one that needs to be based on quite technical information.Talk to a specialist today to make sure you get the machine best suited to meeting all your company’s needs.