How To Save Time And Money When Using CMMs For Quality Control

CMMs for quality control

The most delicate and important inspections are dedicated to coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). CMMs for quality control are a common choice for measuring complex, delicate parts. However, just like other aspects in manufacturing, there are significant costs and time one has to consider. Let’s have a closer look into the time and costs required to operate a CMM.


  • Programming time: programming often requires more time for adjustments and changes. When a program is only meant for a one-off inspection, more time is consumed.
  • Training time: Coordinate measuring machines are complex instruments and they can only be handled by qualified operators. The time used to look for qualified operators and then train them to master CMMs is substantial.
  • Handling time: Quality controls in the aerospace and automotive industries involve solid objects with large dimensions. Inspecting these parts means that several trips have to be made back and forth from the laboratory to the production floor which is time consuming causing delays.
  • Measuring time: When it comes to measuring complex parts, CMMs are the number one choice. Complex materials require a lot of time to inspect the complete shape, control the different angles and measure all the features.
  • Setup time: To ensure that CMMs get accurate measurements, rigid setups are essential. Parts have to be carefully positioned and fixed to enable operators to control the quality of manufactured parts and make measurements.


  • Installation cost: There are certain requirements one should meet first before installing a CMM. Some of these requirements include: the room the CMM is meant to be installed in should be air-conditioned, the CMM must be placed on a vibration slab and the machine should have access to compressed air. All these requirements increase the total cost of buying the CMM and installation to around $500,000 to $1M.
  • Purchase cost: Depending on the required functionalities and the measurement volume, the capital investment on a CMM will vary.
  • Software fee: The CMM should be regularly updated with the latest software in order to take full advantage of the functions offered. An annual fee is required for new software upgrades in order to access new functionalities, reports and features.
  • Storage cost: Contrary to portable tools like 3D scanners, CMMs are of huge dimensions and they are fixed laboratory equipment that cannot be stored. This means that they have to permanently occupy a big part of a room that must be controlled for vibration, humidity and temperature.
  • Maintenance cost: To ensure that a CMM remains fully functional, one has to set aside a maintenance budget. The budget must be created to cater for replacement parts, hardware upgrades and calibration. Normally, the maintenance cost will represent 15 percent to 20 percent of the original purchase cost.

The summation of all these expenses and costs create a significant amount of pressure on quality control operators and clog the manufacturing process. You need to have both time and money to setup and operate CMMs. In order to save time and money when suing CMMs for quality control, you need to work with a seasoned company that deals with quality control equipment. At Willrich Precision Instrument, we offer professional advice on how to save on CMMs and even offer cheaper quality control system alternatives that will fit your requirements. For more information about CMMs, contact us today.

by George Chitos

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