Know Everything About Coordinate Measuring Machines: Advantages, Drawbacks, And New Arrivals

What is measuring machine all about? Find out.


Swamini Kulkarni

3 years ago | 3 min read

CMM involves an extremely sensitive electronic probe that measures an array of definite points from the geometry of a solid part.

Believe it or not, our ancestors used the width of a finger and length of a foot for linear measurements. We have come a long way since then and advancements in coordinate measuring machines (CMM) are the proof.

Driven by rising adoption of CAD/CAM and international quality standards, a dearth of applicability of existing measuring equipment, and an increase in demand for capture large volumes of 3D data for modeling & analysis, the market for CMM has boosted over the last few years. According to Allied Market Research, the global coordinate measuring machine market is projected to reach $5.34 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 8.3% from 2019 to 2026.

Let’s check how much you know regarding CMM

CMM is one of the vital workhorses for quality check and product verification. It has offered the easiest way to qualify production parts that have complex geometries along with tight tolerance.

CMM involves an extremely sensitive electronic probe that measures an array of definite points from the geometry of a solid part. Moreover, these measurements are then checked with specifications to confirm the part’s conformance.

The parts that are needed to measured are properly mounted on a solid table and the probes are mounted on a spring-loaded stylus, which is attached to a gantry that moves in the three dimensions.

The stylus and probe can rotate independently to access multiple features of the solid part. Most importantly, every motion of the gantry and probe can be manually controlled with the help of joystick or automatically via programs. This is what makes the CMM a perfect fit for quality checking.

Benefits of CMM

You can guess some of the advantages of using a CMM, but there is a whole range of reasons why this process must be in your production workflow.

  • Time and money-saving

If you are even remotely related to production, you know that the success of a prototype or product is extremely dependent on the accuracy and precision of the part.

With the incorporation of advanced technologies, manufacturing has gained its momentum and now become capable of producing more complex objects. Thus, maintaining accuracy consumes more time than ever. On the contrary, technologies of CMM offers a quicker and more reliable alternative to measure production parts, which ultimately reduces production time and cost.

  • Versatility

While the other techniques fail at measuring complex parts and assemblies, CMM is compatible with different probes and tools that can be used to capture dimensions of the design.

  • Quality assurance

Despite the fact that there are several tools that can digitally measure and analyze, the reliability offered by CMM is unparallel. In addition, the CMM inspection offers unprecedented services such as dimensional analysis, tool certifications, CAD comparison, and reverse engineer to assess every aspect of your design.

Are there any limitations?

Although having a CMM in production workflow is a blessing, there are a few drawbacks that you should know about.

  • The probe requires to have physical contact with the object for making any measurement. Although this may not be a problem for the prototype, it could damage the delicate surface.
  • If your object has any soft parts such as rubbers or elastomers, the probe could cause the surface to cave, leading to defects in the digital analysis.
  • You must know abilities of different types of probes. Depending on the type of object to be measured, you need to select a particular stylus.

Arrival of novel CMMs

Leading company, API Services recently launched its Independent CMM Calibration and Recalibration Service. The company offered both Premium CMM Calibration services and standard CMM Certification to the original OEM CMM specification.

According to API, the tool includes a full 21 parameter error-map that is developed with the help of API XD Laser interferometer and 6 Degrees of Freedom calibration. Moreover, the tool is expected to offer all popular CMM brands to retain their investments by extending contracts with API as an independent third-party provider.

Prior to this, Polyga, the company that provides 3D scanning technologies, launched its first optical CMM, MeasureXL. The 3D measurement system offers a simple way of setting up the probe and makes it easier to measure.

MeasureXL includes a wireless probe along with a factory-calibrated optical tracker for unprecedented tracking experience. Moreover, its 3D digitizer measures wirelessly, offering the user complete freedom to measure. The best part is that it does not have any movement restriction compared to conventional CMMs.


Created by

Swamini Kulkarni







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