Inspec Insights

To Probe or Not To Probe

Choosing the right inspection system for your operation can be a challenging business decision. The factors that go into these decisions are vast – accuracy, throughput, repeatability and tolerance budgets to name a few. 

For years, CMMs were thought of as stationary behemoths simply taking measurements along the 3-D Cartesian coordinate system of X, Y and Z axes.  Today, choices for CMMs abound with many utilizing not just mechanical probes, but also optical, laser, and structured light.   They can also be portable, making it possible to take the measurement tool to the part.

Parts are getting smaller, requiring precise measurement data, but can also be subject to deflection from CMM probe contact.

Noncontact solutions are broad, including microscopes and optical comparators, laser scanners and white light interferometry, vision systems with video and other surface analysis technology.  Some equipment are two axes projection systems that rely on human vision and judgement while others such as 3-D vision systems generate high-resolution video in combination with microscope optics, and finite edge detection that compare data against CAD files, and other known references.

These noncontact systems can create point clouds for immediate use, data mining for later exploration, reverse engineering or surface modeling.  They remain faster than their mechanical cousins, and are ideal for a certain product types such as soft, deformable, sensitive workpieces.

Another option to add to the mix is outsourcing.  This gives a company the opportunity to test technology before purchasing, by seeing the measurement results and comparing them to the results from similar equipment they are considering.  Also utilizing contracting services can lower quality assurance costs, allow the company the benefit of using state-of-the art technology, and tap into the skill sets of experienced technicians and engineers.

So, what is the best solution for you? When making these decisions many organizations turn to trusted suppliers for answers. Inspec is a perfect example; the company offers a number of contact and non-contact machines, both new and used, from some of the world’s leading metrology manufacturers.

Inspec also has an in-house ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited lab stocked with CMMs, vision systems, optical comparators, laser sensors, surface analyzers, hardness testers, and more. The lab is staff by technicians with much to offer including CMM programming, plate layout, GD&T training and more.

With these capabilities, Inspec has the tools and resources to help a manufacturing facility make the appropriate decision of whether to probe or not to probe and whether to do the job themselves or to outsource the project. Tradeoffs may need to be made but Inspec can help make these decisions a little easier by providing quality options. Contact Inspec today at 800-246-7094 or to discuss your measurement challenges and find the best solution.

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