What Is CMM Machine: Components and How they Work

In manufacturing prototypes or real parts of all products, the parts’ dimensions and geometric characteristics are very important. This is because errors due to the dimensions can jeopardize an entire production process. Therefore, to eliminate that, a high tolerance measuring machine was invented. We are introducing this machine today in order to answer the question. “What is a CMM Machine?”

What It Is

For every manufacturing process, accurate geometric and physical dimensions are important. There are two methods people use for such purposes. One is the conventional method that involves the use of measuring hand tools or optical comparators. The other is the use of a CMM machine.

CMM machine stands for Coordinate Measuring Machine. It is a tool that can measure the dimensions of a machine/tool parts using coordinate technology. The dimensions open to measurements include the height, width, and depth in the X, Y, and Z axis. 

CMM Machine Components

Knowing about a CMM machine also comes with understanding the functions of its components. Below are the important components of the CMM machine.

  • Probe – Probes are the most important component of a traditional CMM machine, responsible for measuring action. Other CMM machines use optical light, cameras, lasers, etc. Due to their nature, the probes’ tip comes from a rigid and stable material. It must also be temperature resistant such that the size won’t change when there is temperature alteration. Common materials used are ruby and zirconia. The tip can also be spherical or needle-like.
  • Granite Table – A granite table is an important component of the CMM machine because it is very stable. It is also not affected by temperature, and when compared to other materials, the rate of wear and tear is lower. 
  • Fixtures – Fixtures are also very important tools used as agents of stability and support in most manufacturing operations. They are components of the CMM machine and function in fixing the parts into place. Fixing the part is required since a moving part can lead to errors in measurement. 
  • Air Compressors and Dryers – Air compressors and dryers are common components of CMM machines such as the standard bridge or gantry-type CMMs.
  • Software – The software is not a physical component but will be classified as a component. It is an important component that analyzes the probes or other sensitivity components.

How CMM Machines Work

A CMM does two things. It measures an object’s physical geometry, and dimension via the touching probe mounted on the machine’s moving axis. It also tests the parts to ascertain that it is the same as the corrected design. The CMM machine works via the following steps.

The part that is to be measured is placed on the CMM’s base. The CMM machine then controls the gantry to direct the probe along the X, Y, and Z axis. By doing so, it replicates every facet of the parts to be measured. On touching a point of the part to be measured, the probe sends an electrical signal which the computer maps out. By doing so continuously with many points on the part, you will measure the part.

After the measurement, the next stage is the analysis stage, after the probe has captured the part’s X, Y, and Z coordinates. The information obtained is analyzed for the construction of features. The mechanism of action is the same for CMM machines that use a camera or laser system.

Why Do You Need a CMM Machine?

After answering the question what is a CMM machine, you should know why they are relevant to every manufacturing process. Answering the question comes with understanding the disparity between the traditional and new method in terms of operations.

The traditional method of measuring parts has many limitations and the sophistication of parts that are produced in this century are elevated. The CMM machine has the speed and accuracy to repeatedly measure parts better than the traditional method. It also increases productivity while reducing the tendency of having errors in the measuring process. 

Custom Tool’s Services 

When you need a custom tool, you need a partner who can meet you more than halfway, whether you’re developing a new tool or looking for a way to manage your existing inventory. Customers trust us to meet this need for three main reasons: experience, quality and fast delivery! Contact us today for more information.