Inspec Insights

Top 3 Ways to keep your CMM Running Smoothly

Everyone hates waiting for the repair man to come.  Whether it’s your washing machine at home or your CMM at the shop, when a machine isn’t working properly it’s a major inconvenience.  All machines are subject to environmental and usage influences which over time, can cause failure.  For CMMs, external factors such as vibration, temperature fluctuations, contamination, collisions, dust, humidity and the degree of usage can affect its performance and increase wear.

However, with a small investment of time and a little care your CMM can last a very long time.  Following are the top three tips you can do yourself to keep your machine running smoothly.  As always, avoid tampering with those parts and systems that you are not familiar with.

  1. Air - at least 60% of all breakdowns and maintenance costs are caused by poor air quality.  Is the air flow constant, is the pressure correct, or is there condensation, oil or other contaminants in the lines?  These issues cause obvious problems with machine performance but it also takes its toll on machine motors - when bearings are plugged or not functioning properly this results in drag and in worst cases can burn out a motor.

  2. Clean - A preventative action all machine operators can take is to clean it, specifically the bearing ways, the slave leg, and the surface plate at the very least weekly if not daily.  Depending on the machine location small particles, dirt and other contaminants can make their way into all of these places and others which can cause precision issues and possibly motor drive problems later on.  Gently wiping the scales with isopropyl or methyl hydrate is also recommended, as well as checking/replacing controller and computer filters.

  3. Clean Again - Using a TP20/200, PH20 or other probing device with kinematic couplings?  The magnetic ends can attract dust, dirt and other unwanted particles which can cause errors in calibration and measurements. Regular cleaning with silly putty or an official cleaning kit with yellow tack material is recommended.

Making a cursory observation of these items as well as the machine's overall performance and sharing the information when contacting us can better prepare our maintenance engineers for your PM or service.  It can also help them to bring the proper parts for a repair.

Unlike unexpected service calls, regular maintenance intervals can be planned for and included in a yearly budget.  Regular maintenance increases machine safety, maximizes performance and longevity, reduces downtime and unplanned maintenance.

To discuss any of these items or to schedule preventative maintenance (or service) on your CMM, please call us at: (800) 246-7094 or

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