An experienced metrology equipment retrofitter can save you thousands of dollars when it comes time to update your inspection technology. Upgrades can often be made instead of purchasing a new coordinate measuring machine. Metrology machines can last two to three decades, and mechanically, they have not changed significantly in recent years. The need to update comes mainly from changing software and probing requirements. As you decide whether or not to buy new or retrofit, take into account all of the costs associated with replacing your old metrology equipment. That includes installation, removing the old tool, and any returns you can get from selling it.
Controllers Can Be Difficult to Replace
Before you undertake a retrofit, call the coordinate measuring machine manufacturer and find out if replacement controllers are available. Controllers can last up to ten years, but it’s prudent not to wait until you’ve worn it into the ground. A breakdown will put you in a tight spot and could force your hand into buying new metrology equipment. Unexpected breakdowns can lead to missed deadlines and workload backups. Preventative maintenance is always a smart way to mitigate the risk of breakdowns and keep your equipment running smoothly. You can also call the technicians at companies like CMM Inc. for same day repairs and take your time planning your replacement.
The major new development in metrology software is programs that can read Computer Aided Design (CAD). PC-DMIS is a program widely recognized for its use in retrofits. It can graphically display data results and it allows for off-line CMM machine programming. Updating your software is the best way to keep up with the latest Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing standards. CAD capability is often one of the major reasons shops consider upgrading their coordinate measuring machine, but it’s not difficult to get new software from vendors like Canadian Measurement-Metrology Inc. for older metrology instruments.
Analogue Scanning Probes
Touch probe technology remains an industry standard, but many shops are looking to analogue scanning probes for high-speed data results. Renishaw’s SP600, for example, can measure 300 millimetres per second and has lifespan of 50,000 hours of operation. It saves hours of inspection time on large-area products like metal sheets. Programming analogue scanning probes can be more challenging, but you may be able to contract your programming needs out to experts. A new controller means that you’ll be able to use robotic probe heads. Depending on your inspection needs, new scanning ability could save you hours of measuring.
A retrofit can keep your old coordinate measuring machine running and useful for years to come at a significantly lower cost than purchasing new measurement instruments. Software and controller upgrades may be all you need to update your inspection capacity to current standards, and they give you the option to implement analogue scanning. Talk to a metrology expert about what it will take to get more years of service out of your coordinate measuring machine.