A used coordinate measuring machine can be a great investment that’s also cost-effective. Even when you buy used, with the right care, maintenance, and retrofits, metrology instruments can last up to 30 years. However, these instruments deal with precise dimensions – it pays to buy from a reputable source that will repair and verify preowned equipment. Auction prices can seem staggeringly low, but there is virtually no guarantee that it will be functional once it’s on the shop floor. Plus, you will have to pay to move, install, and repair it. When you buy from a recognized metrology dealer, the cost will be clear. While most dealers won’t offer warrantees with preowned coordinate measuring machines, many will guarantee that it’s operational and accurate after installation.
The first question to ask yourself is where you are going to put a coordinate measurement machine once you’ve bought one. Gantry and horizontal models have huge footprints, and you will want to check the height of your ceilings before buying a vertical type. Another factor to consider is getting it through doors and hallways. You won’t have to worry if you’re buying portable equipment like a ROMER arm or shop floor models that are designed to be in the middle of the action, but it never hurts to double check your measurements.
Automatic or Manual
Assess your measuring needs before you buy anything – will you be taking dimensions on every piece in an order, inspecting at intervals, or getting the dimensions of large components and weldments? Manuallyoperated portable ROMER arms work best for large parts like truck cabs and frames. However, if you’re dealing consistently with small parts that all require quality assurance, you’ll need something like a vision system that can automatically measure parts. Consider how you’re going to position parts as they come through a line. Shop floor coordinate measuring machines have become increasingly popular as manufacturers demand integrated inspection to reduce rework time and waste. The days of isolated, temperature-controlled inspection departments are quickly passing with advancements in action-ready instruments. When you do have more specialized needs, you can always outsource to metrology houses like Canadian Measurement-Metrology Inc., which always keeps the most state of the art equipment on hand. You don’t have to be capable of handling every component you can imagine; focus on the majority of your production to make the most of this investment.
Don’t Forget Training
In-house metrology is quickly becoming a must-have for more and more shops. Before making a purchase, check out used CMM equipment for sale from dealers that guarantee their tools will operate after installation. However, don’t forget that even after you have the technology, you will still have to train operators. E-courses can minimize the amount of time your trainees have to spend out of the shop, and give them a firm grasp of the software. Canadian Measurement-Metrology Inc. offers in-classroom and online courses in software systems like PC-DMIS. Start your inspection department today.