Are Portable CMMs Making GO-NO Gauges a No-Go?

With technology improving at a rapid rate and goods becoming more advanced, the parts required for manufacturing have also become more complex and complicated. This has meant the need for tighter tolerances when carrying out quality checks.

Traditional CMMs.

A traditional style co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) can be used to check a small run of parts and this process is very thorough and creates a large amount of data which can be useful. However, the downside to this method is of course that the parts have to be moved from the shop floor into the lab and this can be very time consuming. Also, using a CMM for high volume inspections can frequently generate bottlenecking caused by a lack of operators for the CMM or time to finish a complete inspection of a large amount of parts.

Gauging effectiveness.

Currently, the most widely used solution for a large volume of parts is a GO-NO gauge. It is true that parts can be checked quickly this way but very little data is actually collected and the accuracy of a fixture can be questioned when used heavily. As well as being expensive, these gauges are bulky (bringing about storage issues) and are heavy (raising concerns about safety).

Replacing GO-NO gauges with a Portable CMM.

A solution to inspection that integrates the accuracy of a traditional CMM and the ease of use of a gauge is the application of a portable CMM. When a part must be checked, a portable CMM can be easily set up near/ on the shop floor. An operator simply loads a program and touches off key points or scans in the part (using a laser scanner attachment). This means that the operator can quickly receive feedback to tell if the part has been made correctly.

One portable CMM could take the place of basically an unlimited number of GO-NO gauges, given that storage issues are reduced by a trained operator creating the program beforehand. Also, safety concerns are not an issue, due to a portable CMM being very light, making it easy for it to be carried by a worker when needed.

In order to solve the bottlenecking problems that often arose with traditional CMMs, multiple portable CMMs may be run by any operators who receive the basic training in how to use the pre-written programs. Finally, initial and maintenance costs are significantly lowered as a firm only needs to  purchase their portable CMMs rather than a large number of individual GO-NO gauges.

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