Evolve or perish — these are the options in business, and for years North American factories were uncomfortably close to perishing. After decades of dominance, the North American manufacturing sector faced its first mega challenge when globalization subjected it to competition from factories in countries that benefited from cheaper labour and fewer regulations.
Factories around the continent had to evolve, and for this they relied on the coordinate measuring machine (CMM). CMM machines are one of the main tools used in the process of automation. Keep reading to learn more about how these machines helped save manufacturing in North America by letting them evolve for the times.
Automated Quality Control
CMM machines excel when used for automating the quality control process on the production line. CMM machines measure the physical geometrical characteristics of whatever part or object is before it. They can perform this task via a human operator at the helm or by computer, which makes it so perfect for automation.
The machine has a probe on its third moving axis which scans the objects or parts to define the measurements. The blueprint of whatever is being scanned gets uploaded into the CMM machine in advance. If the machine detects a discrepancy between the blueprint and whatever is being scanned, it knows there’s a flaw in that part or object.
Humans cannot possibly perform quality control with so much speed or precision, so this is the primary ways CMM machines facilitate automation to help North American manufacturers compete in the era of globalization.
There are organizations like Canadian Measurement Metrology which have helped factories around the continent stay competitive by offering new and used CMM equipment at excellent rates, as well as offering expert servicing and repairs.
Evolution is dead the moment it stops evolving. It’s suitable then that the technology which helped businesses evolve in the modern era is still undergoing impressive and futuristic changes.
Known as Industry 4.0, new technology is reinventing manufacturing all over again with software that makes it possible for machines on the production line to exchange data with each other. While industry 4.0 is still in a very early phase, there are signs of it already taking place in North American factories today.
For example, PolyWorks is a software program that connects CMM machines to other equipment on the production line. If a CMM machine notices a flaw in a part that has been caused by mechanical failure, machines down the line will immediately know.
In other words, not only is quality control automated, but so is the process of diagnosing machine failure. Now, the company doesn’t need to pay someone to spend time assessing what’s wrong with the equipment — PolyWorks mitigates the cost of equipment failure by having the machines, essentially, talk with each other.
“Automation” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but coordinate measuring machines are not a household name— it’s good that CMM machines finally get the recognition they deserve, for their role in helping to save North American manufacturing by facilitating its evolution.