In business, companies that fail to adapt to the modern world get left behind. In North American manufacturing, adaptation often means adopting new technology or managing to keep pace with technological change as it comes.
Automation was a seminal shift in manufacturing here, as it was an essential response to factories overseas which could produce goods for less money because they benefited from fewer regulations and cheaper labour. After decades of decline, automation helped stave off the decline that many experts predicted for North American manufacturing.
One of the tools which played a vital role in automation, and therefore North American manufacturing’s resurgence, was the coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Keep reading to learn more about how CMMs work, and how they contributed to helping North America’s factories compete on a global scale.
Automated Quality Control
A CMM machine is perfect for automating quality control on the production line. CMM machines are able to measure the physical geometrical characteristics of an object or a part. They can be manually controlled by a human operator, or they can be controlled by a computer. A probe attached to the third moving axis of the CMM machine defines the measurements.
The CMM machine scans the object or part, and then compares these measurements against the blueprint of the part or object, which has been uploaded into the machine prior to the scan. If there is any discrepancy between the scan and the blueprint, the machine knows the part or object contains a flaw.
It’s essential to have reliable CMM measurement equipment because they perform quality control, and that’s what ensures the factory produces goods that meet the market’s standards.
Adapting is all about constant change, and the breakthrough technology which restored North America’s manufacturing competitiveness refuses to rest on its laurels. It too is changing, and the evolution has already begun.
The next phase of automation is known as Industry 4.0, and while it’s early in its development it is transforming manufacturing once again. Now, machines have software inside them like PolyWorks which enable them to in effect communicate with other machinery down along the production line.
If a CMM machine with PolyWorks detects a flaw in a part caused by machine degradation, other machines further along the assembly line will know instantly. CMM machines do more than just detect the flaw; they identify the source of the flaw and save employees from having to spend time diagnosing what went wrong. This mitigates the cost of equipment failure by freeing up employees to only work where they’re most useful.
International markets show no sign of slowing down, and it’s wise for every company to make their operation as lean and future-proof as possible. Acquiring a CMM machine is a great way for your company’s operations to become dramatically more efficient. As CMM machines continue to evolve, your own business can make the same adjustment by acquiring one today so you can remain competitive in the years to come.