First, let’s clarify two terms: upgrade and update. A software upgrade to a new version is usually chargeable. New versions deliver significant new functionality and capabilities over older versions and considerable development effort will have been expended to produce the latest version.
Updates refer to minor enhancements and are often referred to as “point releases” or “dot releases” because the version number after the decimal point changes (e.g. ver 2.21 to ver 2.22). Updates are generally free and can be relatively frequent compared with upgrades, which generally change the number before the decimal point or take on some new name. Best practice dictates that we should always apply new updates because they may contain fixes for security vulnerabilities, bug fixes or minor cosmetic enhancements.
Upgrade V Change To A Different System
Upgrading to a new version of software that has been in use for many years does appear to be the least costly path because of the likely extent of reprogramming required to switch to another system. Hundreds or even thousands of man hours have been invested in developing libraries of routines and data. If all of that has to be repeated, then perhaps a portion of that cost should be taken into account. Sometimes, the argument in favour of switching software is compelling despite any such overhead.
Major Drivers For Change
Leaving aside the obvious scenarios where change is mandatory and not an option (investing in a new CMM that needs new software, outsourcing measurement, etc.) there are a number of factors that can influence a decision to make the leap to a new product or an upgrade of an existing product. Risk appetite comes into play also, centred on a judgement call regarding the cost of change compared with the probability of software failure of a significant nature that would impact production. Most operations depend on one CMM, which represents a Single Point Of Failure (SPOF) in risk management terms. That is a very acceptable risk in this context most of the time because, even with old and outdated software, the chances that the software would fail are low. Mechanical failure represents a far higher probability.
1. Old Version Is Out Of Support
This is far less significant for CMM software than it would be for, say, the operating system on a PC where unsupported versions mean security patches or bug fixes are no longer issued. Rarely do long standing users suddenly need to seek technical assistance from a software vendor if nothing in the operating environment has changed. Where it does hit home is the eventual realization that world is passing by and features now available on a current version would deliver a significant edge by:
- enabling new measurements or inspections
- improving throughput and productivity
- correcting frequent miscalculations and inaccurate inspection results in the old version
- killing off some old bugbear that crops up time and again and causes bottlenecks
2. A Specific Set Of Features Grows In Desirability
A case in point could be the benefits of utilising CAD files, which may be complex and heavy, to provide expected measurement data.
3. Reinvigorate Out Of Date Technology
Extending the life of an old but perfectly functioning piece of equipment has attractions both for the inspections process and the financial department. Frequently, retrofitting or upgrading an existing CMM requires a software retrofit change of some description to maximise the newly installed components or even to be compatible with them.
We are specialists in rejuvenating older CMM devices to inject them with a new lease of life and make them compatible with the latest software. Our Upgrades and Retrofits service is a perfectly sensible option to keep your inspections process bang up to date with current best practices. Why not contact us today for an informal initial chat about your scenario and see what we can offer.