Across sectors, today’s market for parts and components demands much higher precision from manufacturers than in the past, and the situation has left many shops wondering how to best expand their inspection department. Coordinate measuring machines and related equipment like portable arms, vision systems, and laser scanners are becoming common sights inside many shops, and the right tool exists for inspecting everything from microchips to airplane wings, flat sheets of metal to complex geometries.
Coordinate measuring machines can be a significant investment, however, and they can last for decades, so any purchase should be made with a thought to the future. Is the manual operation of a portable arm going to be able to keep up with demands for faster data collection, or would you be better off spending more now on a stationary coordinate measuring machine with an automated touch probe system? Will you start making components that are too large for the measuring volume of your bridge machine or should you be looking at larger footprint models like gantries? These are all great questions to ask, but not everyone can answer them right away, which is why many shops are deciding to contract inspection services until they can determine what kind of equipment they need.
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There are plenty of advantages to outsourcing your inspection; metrology dealers like Canadian Measurement Metrology are equipped with state-of-the-art hardware, software, and staffed by highly trained technicians who can deliver the most accurate results in their lab. If the transportation expenses are too high to be worthwhile, you can also have a technician come to your own shop with a portable arm. Below you will find 5 great reasons to consider contracting metrology services before you buy:
1. Bidding on Contracts
More and more OEMs expect their suppliers to have a system to provide high quality components with accurate measurements, or else they simply won’t award the business. Contracting out inspection services gives you access to reliable QA with no initial capital investment; if you’re awarded the contract, you can decide later whether or not it’s worth buying a coordinate measuring machine.
2. Overcoming Bottlenecks
Inspection is one of the most common areas bottlenecks form as your existing equipment or staff are overrun by demands, and that’s how you fall behind on deadlines and lose credibility as a business. To overcome bottlenecks, you can outsource your overflow measurements, although many shops find that it’s not physical capacity so much as programming that causes back ups. You can also outsource your programming requirements to the right metrology company, such as CMM, so that you can quickly and painlessly get to building and measuring components.
3. Shorthanded on Staff
Let’s say you have already bought your own metrology equipment, but for one reason another, you don’t have the staff to operate it. There are plenty of reasons this can happen, including sick leave, retirement, or having to send operators away for more training. In this case, you can rely on a metrology dealer to send metrologists to your shop to operate the equipment while you’re shorthanded. Besides outsourcing operators, you may also want to consider finding out about e-learning programs at www.cmmxyz.com to reduce inspection downtime.
4. Limited Runs
If you’ve been awarded a short or small contract for a component that requires more advanced metrology, it makes more sense to take on outsourcing costs than invest in a piece of machinery that may not be useful in the future.
5. Capacity or Complexity Limit
Finally, turning to an expert metrology company can be a great idea if you begin producing components that are either beyond your current equipment’s measuring volume or involve complex geometry that a standard touch probe system cannot easily inspect.
If your shop is facing any of these scenarios, outsourcing your inspection with a reliable metrology shop is cost-effective way to keep things running and buy yourself time while you consider whether or not to buy a new piece of equipment.