When choosing a suitable coordinate measuring machine, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the market’s leading brands and their unique characteristics.
Over time, the basic structure of CMMs has remained cohesive as manufacturers continue to make modern adjustments to align with current ISO industry standards. As a result, CMM brands continue to change, evolve, and further develop and advance their products in varying ways.
The metrologists at CMMXYZ are North America’s leading CMM service providers, specializing in upgrades, repairs, training, and buying or selling CMMs. We help clients find the right CMM brand and machine for their shop floor and offer expert calibration services to ensure their CMM is always performing at the highest level.
For a CMM to work efficiently and accurately, it must be able to measure the geometry of an object with precision. Because machines measure in different ways, it’s important to consider the brand best suited to measuring and assessing your product.
At CMMXYZ, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting a CMM, from the probe to the software and every detail in between.
Types of CMM Brands
Each brand of CMM measures complex surfaces using coordinating software and an array of advanced features. The unique functionality and characteristics of the most popular brands on the market are a reflection of the industry’s needs and today’s safety standards.
When selecting the appropriate CMM brand, whether you’re interested in new CMM machines or used models. It’s essential to review the core components that separate each brand from the next.
Zeiss machines were first built over 100 years ago and have since become one of the most popular choices among companies and manufacturers. Zeiss has continued developing a diverse range of contact and multisensor measuring technology for over a century, from horizontal arms to optical 3D digitization.
Zeiss CMMs are manufactured in four capacities, each with its own unique characteristics. This allows buyers to select the machine that is best suitable for their shop floor.
Zeiss bridge CMMs are available in many different configurations emphasizing either price or high accuracy. The popular models are: Spectrum, Micura, Contura, Prismo and Xenos. Large bridge machines are also available, notably the Accura and MMZ models.
Zeiss Shop floor models allow for quality assurance and accurate measurements directly on the shop floor. The models offered are DuraMax, an inexpensive CMM, and the CenterMax with pneumatic vibration control.
Zeiss horizontal arm CMMs are ideal for the inspection of large automotive body parts. The 3 models of the machine are Carmet and Celeno, either single or dual-arm configuration.
Probing systems available on Zeiss CMMs
Zeiss was perhaps the leading manufacturer in the introduction of analogue scanning on CMMs. Today, they offer both touch-trigger systems and scanning products. Their prime product is the VAST probing system which is either fixed head or mounted on an RDS indexable head.
For customers looking for a quality CMM without the price tag of a new model, our extensive inventory of used Zeiss CMM machines includes meticulously inspected models. Each used CMM is updated to fit ISO standards and consists of a complete description of the brand, the size of the model, and the appropriate software.
Hexagon machines have been an integral part of the industry for many years and continue to evolve to meet current industry standards. The story of these machines goes back over 40 years, with DEA in Italy and Sheffield in the USA, both of which were acquired by Hexagon in 2001
In today’s competitive world, the Hexagon product offering is similar to Zeiss with three basic CMM configurations:
Bridge CMMs: Hexagon bridge CMMs come from 3 basic ancestries Leitz, Brown and Sharpe, and DEA.
The slant bridge design is their essential bridge configuration and was first invented in Italy during the mid-90s. Their most famous bridge offering is the Global range of machines, which is available in most sizes from a 575 (500x700x500 range) all the way up to a 2000x4000x1800 XYZ in standard ranges.
Shop floor CMMs: Hexagon shop floor machines are extremely popular on the manufacturing floor due to their small footprint and high portability degree. The models available are the 454 and 7107 SF and the TIGO. Each machine comes with an optional process warning system that alerts the operator of out-of-tolerance conditions.
Horizontal arm CMMs: Hexagon horizontal arm CMMs draw their lineage from DEA in Italy, the prime innovator of automatic DCC horizontal machines. The advantages of the horizontal arm coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are particularly apparent when inspecting sheet metal parts in the car industry or other large-volume components in the aerospace, ship, defense, appliance, machinery, and railway industries. Their open structure permits direct access to the workpiece and, therefore, significantly eases loading and unloading. Horizontal CMMs can also be integrated as a component of an automated production line.
Hexagon Probing systems: Hexagon produces its own probing systems. Their ancestry comes from the Leitz and Tesa brands that Hexagon acquired in the early 2000s. The probe heads feature a 2.5-degree indexable automatic articulation, unlike the 7.5 degree systems offered by competitors. Hexagon offers both scanning and touch probe units across models, including the Hexagon 4.5.4 SF.
Hexagon is best known for its extensive range of products and services for industrial metrology, known as Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. These products and services are designed to support the aerospace, automotive, energy and medical fields. Hexagon is best known for its industry-leading metrology software PC-DMIS that has become the industry standard worldwide.
One of the largest manufacturers of metrology equipment globally, their coordinate measuring machines are of high quality and are very reliable.
Mitutoyo is renowned for its bridge-style CMMs, notably Crysta and Strato high accuracy machines, which are possibly the best-selling CMMs worldwide.
Mitutoyo also has a product offering for shop floor machines. Namely, the Mach line of completely enclosed products which isolate the main components such as scales motors and drive systems from harsh environments.
MCOSMOS is the coordinate measuring software offered by Mitutoyo and is available on all their CMMs throughout the range. It can be enhanced by MICAT automatic planning software and MSURF surface measurement software.
Mitutoyo uses Renishaw probing throughout its line of CMMs.
The choices are either the three-axis probe heads, such as the PH10 products, manual heads in the MH line up of indexable products, or five-axis systems, such as the PH20 and the REVO.
What to Look For in a CMM Brand
The best CMM brand will look different for each user, depending on their industry and the complexity of the surfaces requiring metrology measurement.
The CMM sizes offered by a licensed brand should be an essential part of your decision. The machine you select should be large enough to measure the key components of a geometric object. If your surface is entirely flat as opposed to multi-angled, this may rule out specific brands.
Without appropriate software, your CMM will be unable to measure any given object accurately and report its results. The brand that you select should equip their machines with their designated software or make specific recommendations if upgrades are available.
How your CMM functions is essential to measure complex surfaces accurately. This is directly related to the machine’s physical location and how it relates to your measurement needs.
On the one hand, a stationary CMM allows users to set up a designated area on the shop floor where they can routinely measure objects with continuous precision. On the other hand, if you need your CMM to be mobile across the shop floor, you’ll be limited to brands that offer portable arms.
If the object is sensitive, a non-contact solution may be the appropriate choice. In comparison, a more secure object may be able to withstand a contact measurement system. Since there are various CMM brands and models on the market, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The desired functionality of the CMM will vary based on the needs of the user.
The probe is an integral component of any CMM, stationary or portable. It can have a significant impact on the accuracy and overall results of your measurements. While regular calibration will help keep the machine’s probe running accurately, selecting a CMM brand with a stable probe is essential.
The sphericity of the probe’s tip will directly impact the certainty of the data you’re able to collect. If your shop is exposed to changing temperatures, you’ll need to select a probe that can withstand those fluctuations to maintain stability.
Routine retrofitting allows experienced metrologists to ensure the machine’s hardware and software are up-to-date. This process involves a complete evaluation of the machine to bring it up to current industry standards and enhance its speed and accuracy. At CMMXYZ, we use the latest probing technology to retrofit our spectrum of CMMs, including our extensive line of portable arms.
Maintaining accuracy is essential no matter the size of the CMM or the complexity of the measured object. Selecting a CMM brand involves adequate research to determine the machine’s accuracy rates and long-term reliability. Each brand you consider should demonstrate how the machine functions, the objects it can withstand, and its routine calibration processes. These factors will determine if the machine can effectively deliver the results you require.
Reviews are an accessible way to determine if a particular CMM brand is worth consideration and can help you become a more informed customer. By observing customer reviews, you can gauge a brand’s reliability, cost-effectiveness, and determine if the CMMs they offer are suitable for your company.
Work with CMMXYZ
CMMXYZ is proud to be an industry-leading independent measurement solutions provider and has been attending to customers across North America for more than three decades. We help customers find the correct measurement tools and software for their projects, in addition to offering a spectrum of maintenance and repair services.
We’ll guide you through our catalogue and help you understand everything you need to know about CMMs, from their functionality to the appropriate software.
Our team of professional metrologists has the tools and trained insight to select the right equipment for your industry. We boast a quick response time and minimum turnaround, maximizing the profits for our customers.
If you’re looking for the right CMM brand for your company or would like to learn more about our services, don’t hesitate to reach out to CMMXYZ. Our team of metrology specialists is available to answer any of your questions, offer product recommendations, or schedule an on or off-site visit. We’ll work closely to identify the right metrology machine and software for your needs.