Manufacturing is a competitive business, and for those who are just starting out, trying to line up the right equipment, software, and expertise to make your project come to life can seem daunting. Especially in the planning and prototyping stages, troubleshooting product models and digital blueprints is important, but the equipment required to do so can be expensive. While you may need to purchase a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) once you begin production, in the early stages what you really need is expert help.
Fortunately, there are ways to get the advice and equipment you need to launch your manufacturing business before committing to outfitting your own shop and hiring your own staff. Here are some of the most common services available from professional metrology shops:
Getting precise, scientific measurements for new parts is a vital part of the prototyping process, but not every new manufacturing business needs to purchase its own coordinate measurement machines — if you are simply looking for a measuring service that will allow you to determine whether a particular part matches blueprint specifications, it makes more sense to simply contract the work out to a metrology shop.
Because metrology shops are equipped with a wide range of different CMMs, you can find the tool that is exactly right for your job. In many cases, metrology service providers can even offer on-site measurement solutions using portable CMMs like white light scanners or ROMER Arms.
Reverse Engineering Services
No matter what you product you are developing, building good working prototypes is a complicated process. You may start with an electronic CAD model, produce parts and assemble working models based on the blueprint, and then make physical changes to the model based on practical needs. When equipped with the latest software, CMMs can reverse engineer sophisticated CAD models based on the physical model, which makes it easier than ever before to move back and forth between manually altered prototypes and digital blueprints.
Because providers like Mississauga, Ontario’s Canadian Measurement-Metrology are equipped with the latest CMM software, contracting their services means you don’t need to worry about purchasing the latest cutting-edge CMM programs — you can simply have the reverse-engineering done by their in-house metrology experts.
In order to provide detailed measurement, CMMs need to be programmed to follow specific part programs that will allow them to assemble the raw data into a usable electronic model. If you are at the point in development where you have your own CMM and are ready to start testing for quality control, you will need to have CMM routines written specifically for those parts.
Write programs for new parts is sensitive work, and if it is not done properly it can lead create serious errors in oversight, which is one of the reasons many new manufacturers often rely on contract programmers who specialize in metrology to write new part programs for their CMMs.
Few experiences are as exciting or anxiety inducing as developing and launching a new product you have seen grow from a sketch on a notepad to an object you can hold in your hand. Getting it right often requires a painstaking attention to detail, and the awareness that even small errors can mean the difference between success and failure. In these critical early stages, using metrology services to ensure that your work is as accurate and finely tuned as possible can help you save money and time without compromising your commitment to quality.