Precise coordinate measuring technology for quality assurance
A coordinate measuring machine is a piece of equipment, which is used to monitor quality. It is used to check components and monitor the dimensions of a product. The accuracy level of this machine can only be beaten by laser measuring equipment. Another term used for a coordinate measuring machine is coordinate measuring equipment.
A coordinate measuring machine consists of a probe, upon which either a robot arm with several axles or a multi-axel kinematics is located. The probe is so sensitive, that it will receive a signal even with the slightest movement of the component. The machine beeps when this occurs. Through the movement of the robot arm, the coordinate measuring machine can calculate the distance covered by the probe.
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This ensures that the exact measurements of the workpiece are recorded. The coordinate measuring machine can measure with accuracy levels within ten-thousandth of a millimetre.
There are two qualities required in a component that enable monitoring using a coordinate measuring machine. One includes components that require a high level of fit in order to be able to mechanically function faultlessly. This includes shafts, axles and storage. Statically loaded components like couplers and connectors from pressure pipes also require high accuracy of fit. These are, for example, used in the production of heaters and in the chemical industry. Machine tools are also monitored using coordinate measuring machines.
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Other components, which need to be produced with a level of precision of ten-thousandth of a millimetre, are workpieces that are subjected to high turning speeds. This includes components for airplane turbines or turbochargers for internal combustion engines. Detailed information about the working life of these highly stressed components can only be determined when their dimensions are monitored and accuracy can be guaranteed.
Coordinate measuring machines cannot be used in mass production for 100% monitoring. The measuring process with a coordinate measuring machine takes several minutes and therefore it is only efficiently applicable with defined samples. In connection with a sophisticated system for quality assurance, a coordinate measuring machine can register the tolerance range of a component early on. This can happen, for example, through the gradual wear and tear of the cutting tool. Coordinate measuring machines are very expensive. The probe is a particularly expensive product and negligent handling of the probe can easily lead to damages.
Therefore, specialised staff such as industrial mechanics or cutting machine operators should be the only ones allowed to operate this machine. Staff who are not authorised should not have any access to the coordinate measuring machine. This needs to be reinforced through special measures, such as requiring a key to access the machine. A useful accessory for a coordinate measuring machine is a rotary table. This is used to exactly monitor the radii and roundness of holes and turned parts.