How to Upgrade a Horizontal Arm CMM While Optimising Existing Assets

by Filippo Racciu on June 26, 2019 From News And Comment, Technology

Horizontal arm CMMs’ high level of mechanical reliability and measurement accuracy combine with an open, flexible structure to ensure they remain a popular way to measure large volume components in the automotive, aerospace, ship, defence, appliance, machinery and railway industries.

And because horizontal arm coordinate measuring machines are built to last, many manufacturers continue to use the same machine for applications such as measuring sheet metal for years, and even decades, with little more than regular maintenance.

But even if an older horizontal arm can still measure sheet metal today as accurately as it did in the 1990s, recent advances in technology mean its performance may nevertheless undermine a manufacturer’s competitivity. All too often older, manual horizontal arms are not compatible with the new controllers, software and sensors that enable faster, simpler measurement procedures, as well as greater data usage and automation. Manufacturers that want new capabilities to guarantee higher measuring throughput and better feedback on processes often find it is more effective to switch to newer horizontal arms. Yet at the same time they’d rather not write off all of their old horizontal arm’s assets, especially if keeping them can minimise interference to their business.

One of the most disruptive aspects of installing a new horizontal arm in a busy workplace is laying the foundations for the base table and installing it. Since the base table plays no role in enabling new functions, it makes sense to re-use it. But this is only possible if the new horizontal arm is compatible with the older table, which could have been supplied by one of any number of CMM manufacturers, and be made of granite, steel, or cast iron. That’s why Hexagon’s Manufacturing intelligence division developed the DEA MERCURY FX. It fits onto existing cast iron, steel or granite horizontal arm base tables, whether they are from Hexagon or third-party CMMs.

In addition to limiting disruption to the work shop during installation, the DEA MERCURY FX equips manufacturers for the future by supporting a full range of tactile sensor, non-contact scanners, or multisensor options. And because it supports market-leading software, manufacturers can compare the measurement data it captures to CAD images to both prevent errors and improve processes.

Find out more about the DEA MERCURY FX.

Filippo Racciu

Filippo Racciu is responsible for project management and business development activities for the Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence global services and support group. He joined the company in 2012 with 15 years’ experience of international direct sales, marketing and business development in the automation and metrology industries.

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