The Four Main Types Of Coordinate Measuring Machines

coordinate measuring machines

If you have no prior knowledge about coordinate measuring machines, then this article is for you. In the current market, there are four main types of coordinate measuring machines. These include the bridge, cantilever, gantry and horizontal arm coordinate measuring machines. They all have their own advantages depending on the components that you want to measure. Here at Willrich Precision Instrument, we understand that buying a coordinate measuring machine might not be as simple as you think. There are many types and factors to consider. However, we provide a wide variety of precision instruments for any of your industrial needs.

Bridge Coordinate Measuring Machines

Bridge machines have become increasingly popular over the years. This type of measuring machine allows for probe movement along 3 different axes, X,Y and Z. The unique thing about this machine is that each axis contains a sensor that can judge the position of the probe on any particular axis. It is capable of doing this with micro-meter precision. The bridge machine produces something called a “point cloud” which is done by sampling the three sensors and measuring a particular point on the object.

They have a very simple structure and is easy to use. Bridge machines are also cheap to manufacture and can withstand the test of time by maintaining accuracy consistently. Usually, bridge machines are fixed on a precision granite plate and have two legs to support the carriage. It is interesting to note that a typical bridge machine is only driven on a single side while the other sides are allowed to float freely. Close to 95% of them utilize air bearings so that there is greater ease of movement.

Cantilever Coordinate Measuring Machines

The cantilever coordinate measuring machines are typically used to measure smaller parts. In comparison to the bridge machines, they grant access to the user on three different sides. They also only allow for probe movement on X and Y, creating limitations on the size of the X beam. The rigidity of the machine makes it only suitable for measuring smaller parts. This type of machine will work well in a shop-floor setting because it has automatic loading and unloading capabilities as well.

Gantry Coordinate Measuring Machines

This type of machine is made specifically for measuring parts that are larger in size and heavy in weight but require the precision of a bridge coordinate measuring machine. Typically, gantry machines work best mounted to the floor. Thus, it is important that you provide it with a solid foundation. The smaller machines utilize four upright columns that support the Y-axis beams. On the other hand, larger gantry machines have 6 to 8 columns in relation to the length of the Y-axis.

Horizontal Coordinate Measuring Machines

The horizontal arm machine was first manufactured in Germany and were originally used as scribing tools. The first models were operated manually and were much harder to use as compared to today. The horizontal arm machine is different from the other three types in the sense that is has 2 axes mounted on a saddle that moves up and down the horizontal axis.

by George Chitos

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