The parts you’re manufacturing are becoming more complex while your clients are demanding higher-than-ever precision standards. You’re left wondering how you’re going to meet the expectations of your clients and continue to grow as a supplier. If inspection is where you’re falling behind, it’s probably time to purchase a coordinate measuring machine. You can save money and purchase a machine that’s within your budget by buying used.
If you’re in the market for a used coordinate measuring machine, you have to decide whether to buy it from an expert dealer or on your own at an auction or online. You face a lot of risks when you try to find a machine independently – you have no idea about the wear and tear on a machine you’re buying directly from the owner or the auction house. A dealer will put every machine through a rigorous testing process and guarantee the machine when it arrives. For example, when you buy used equipment from CMM, or Canadian Measurement Metrology, you get a guarantee that the machine will work to specifications when it arrives on your shop floor.
When you buy used equipment, you may also need to upgrade the software if the machine comes with an outdated program. The dealer can also help you integrate contemporary software into your shop with training programs.
Besides software, one of the most common upgrades to a used CMM is the probing system, with many companies opting for a new Renishaw probing system. There are several factors to keep in mind when you’re choosing a probing system, including sphericity, bending, thermal stability, and material. For a complete guide, you can find more information at Renishaw, but a quick summary can introduce you to some important concepts:
- Sphericity: Stylus tips, typically ruby balls, come in grades of precision that contribute to a coordinate measuring machine’s uncertainty due to errors in sphericity. By making your standard grade 5, you may pay a little bit more, but you can better maintain accuracy.
- Bending: Longer styli lengths can compromise accuracy, so it’s common practice to switch between styli for different purposes (and why many systems feature automatic switching).
- Thermal stability: If you’re using shop-floor coordinate measuring machines exposed to temperature fluctuations, your stylus pick should be carbon fiber where possible, though titanium provides a balance of stability, strength, and density where metal must be used.
- Stylus tip: Synthetic ruby is the common material used in coordinate measuring machine styli, but abrasive wear or adhesive wear may necessitate a different material. For example, zirconia may be a better choice where contact with the part can wear down the stylus tip. Adhesive wear happens when materials have a chemical reaction – a common issue is a reaction between ruby and aluminum.
A metrology dealer like CMM can help you determine the type of stylus you need along with any other upgrades or retrofits you need for your used coordinate measuring machine. Dealers provide a guaranteed machine at a much lower price than buying new. Buying used doesn’t have to be risky if you go to a trusted source for used metrology equipment.