What's The Ideal CMM Calibration Frequency?

Posted by Tony Tillett on Sep 1, 2017 2:00:00 PM

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Keeping your CMM measurement machine calibrated needn’t be difficult, but it is very important for your machine to operate accurately and efficiently. There are many kinds of calibration techniques, and some will be necessary more often than others. The important thing is to create a schedule for calibration, so that you don't forget to keep your metrology sound. At Status Metrology we specialise in high quality CMM machines and calibration services, and maintain both ISO and UKAS certifications. Let us share some of our insight about CMM machine calibration, and how often you should be performing it.

What Is CMM Calibration?

Some companies are surprised that CMM machines need to be calibrated frequently, but when it comes to metrology detail is everything. When you calibrate your CMM machine, you are looking for errors in the 21 axes that a CMM machine moves in. There are several reasons why a CMM machine could be out of alignment, and in some cases the software that creates the measurement data can compensate for known errors.

Different Kinds Of Calibration

The two kinds of calibration that are most common are calibration with an artefact, or calibration with a laser interferometer. The vast majority of your calibrating can be done with artefacts, and this method is much faster than using a laser interferometer. There are many artefacts to choose from, with a vast array of shapes and sizes. The kind of probe you use and measurements you make will determine the correct artefact, as well as the material that you will be inspecting.

There are many kinds of CMM calibration that can be done in-house, like the Monday morning calibration check that we think every facility should make. If you are going to be doing similar measurements frequently, your company won't have to invest in many artefacts. Some people find that commissioning a custom artefact makes sense, while others prefer to use ready-made options. If you need help choosing the right artefact for your metrology process, we can help you find one that will work for you.

Determining The Right Calibration Frequency

We are asked about the frequency of CMM machine calibrations on a regular basis, but there is no one simple answer. There are several factors that can influence the need for CMM machine calibrations, so every facility will have to figure out what works best for them. If you are using a high-quality machine on a sporadic basis, and it is stored under stable conditions, it is probably acceptable to calibrate it once a year.

A higher use profile is going to create the need for more frequent calibration, with changing atmospheric conditions also playing a role. If your CMM machine is subject to swings in temperature, then it will need more frequent calibration. Even if your CMM machine is used in a controlled environment, it is necessary to check its calibration on a regular basis. Having parts come back from your customers isn't a good thing, and by frequently calibrating your CMM machine, you will avoid unnecessary problems.

Professional Solutions

At Status Metrology we provide your company with the tools it needs for keeping CMM measuring machines calibrated properly. We can also offer your team training, and help you find a calibration frequency that makes sense for your workflow. We know how to calibrate and service almost any CMM machine, and have been working with the best in metrology equipment for decades.

We are glad to talk to you about your calibration needs, so please give us a call on 0115 939 2228, or look though all the services we offer on our website. Regardless of what you are measuring with your CMM machine, keeping it calibrated will ensure you get the data that makes quality products.

Find out more about CMM calibration in our CMM Maintenance Guide, which can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, CMM Maintenance & Calibration

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