Portable arm metrology machines have come a long way since they first appeared in North America nearly three decades ago. With every generation, they have become lighter, easier to maneuver, more accurate, and more affordable. As one of the most cost-effective and versatile pieces of metrology equipment on the market today, manufacturers in almost any industry should consider investing in one.
#1 Integrated Laser Scanning – Portable arms are one of the best ways to make use of a laser scanner. Using a laser scanner turns a portable arm into a point cloud-gathering tool. Scanners give thee these versatile coordinate measuring machinescapacity to verify your machine tools, inspect components, and collect data for reverse engineering. Laser integration gives you a piece of equipment that can move back and forth between scanning and tactile probes.
#2 Calibration – How often you calibrate should depend largely on how often you use it, but at a minimum you should recalibrate it every 12 months. If you use it frequently and ruggedly, this timeframe should be more like every 6 months. According to the dimensioning0 experts at Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM), for optimum use, operators should also verify them once a day, both before and after they’ve measurement the component.
#3 Shop Floor Inspection – One of the driving forces behind the portable arm’s popularity is the option to take the inspection process to the shop floor. This makes them the ideal solution for measuring parts that are too large to be moved to a stationary coordinate measuring machine. Even shop floor-ready coordinate measuring machines take up a large footprint, and may not be practical where space is in an issue. The portable arm, which can also measure components too big to fit on all but the largest metrology tools, simply needs to be mounted to any sturdy surface, meaning it can go where you need it on the shop floor.
#4 Maneuverability –Products like the ROMER Absolute, available at CMM, are flexible and easy to maneuver, making it possible to inspect even the hardest-to-reach corners of interiors or oversized components. They make use of seventh axis incorporation for ergonomic ease, and infinite rotation that makes scanning and probing simple.
#5 Care and Maintenance –In order to keep your new or used portable CMM arm in good condition, follow these care and maintenance tips:
- Store it in the manufacturer’s case, often a reinforced Pelican case the protects the equipment from shock.
- At purchase, most come with an artifact that allows you to easily verify accuracy. Verify every day, both prior to and after inspection.
- Mount it on a reliable, solid surface, or else you cannot be sure whether or not your data is reliable and accurate.
Portable arms are the most versatile tools available to manufacturers today, especially with integrated laser scanning. With proper care and maintenance, and the right software, they often become the go-to machine for rapid data collection and reverse engineering. Save yourself hours of inspection time and talk to a metrology dealer today about finding the right machine, software, and laser scanner for your purposes today.