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Preventative Maintenance on a CMM

Best location for a CMM?

Without question the best location for a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is in an air conditioned lab free of contaminants, clean and the temperature is maintained to a constant. However, coordinate measurement machines may also be installed on the shop floor. Hard bearing machines are particularly suitable for shop floor installations.  The most important thing to remember where ever your CMM is installed is that you must undergo a preventative maintenance program to make sure that the machine runs reliably and accurately.

CMM Air Supply:

Air is one of the biggest issues that generally lead to machine breakdown.  In many factories the airlines run just below the ceiling and gather condensation, particularly in the summer months.  The air that arrives at the machine has lots of moisture in it which is not good for the machine.  This is why we recommend a refrigerant air dryer. It's a good insurance policy on all coordinate measurement machines.  It is also important to make sure that the filters on the machine are clean and present in order that contaminants are removed.  If you do these simple things you’ll have long service from your coordinate measurement machine.

CMM Electricity:

Many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a CMM, but won't spend anything for a power conditioner or battery backup system.  20% of all problems on coordinate measurement machines are caused by electrical issues. The biggest single issue is not fluctuation of current, but noise transmitted through the power lines from machine tools.  What we recommend is when you purchase your coordinate measurement machine purchase at least a power conditioner system and if you have the extra money buy one that also has a battery backup.

Cleaning the CMM:

A CMM in a lab environment should be cleaned thoroughly once a week.  If a measuring machine is on the shop floor it should be cleaned daily.  All the bearing ways are exposed on air bearing bridge machines it is therefore important to clean off the bearing ways every morning prior to usage.  Dirt and contaminants cause the degeneration of the bearing ways and damage the air bearings. We therefore recommend a regular maintenance schedule of cleaning.

CMM Preventative Maintenance:

Preventative maintenance is by far the biggest benefit you can bestow on a CMM machine.  Ensuring you perform regular cleaning, provide dry, clean air and a good source of electrical supply will go a long way. You should also clean and check your controller filters regularly.  Make sure that your service provider is at least coming to your factory and inspecting your machine thoroughly at least every six months. If you do these basic things, you will find that your CMM machine will last from calibration to calibration trouble-free.

What can a new CMM owner do to ensure the best performance out of his CMM?

A new CMM owner should ensure that he either hires or trains someone that is competent in running the machine.  Many problems involved with coordinate measurement machines are through operator error.  Make sure that metrology practices are followed according to the manufacturer's specification. Make sure the machine is kept clean, the filters are changed, and that the machine has a PM schedule from your service provider.

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