Let’s imagine you own a factory and in this factory you manufacture big parts.
You might make tanks, giant gears or large aerospace components. I suspect that you manufacture brilliant, in-spec parts but how do we confirm my suspicions? Of course, the answer to that question depends on your tolerances. In some cases, you can get away with custom gauging, Pi tapes or portable measuring arms. These options have the benefit of low upfront cost, but there is a better way.
Portable measuring arms cost much less than a CMM of the same volume but can only measure to around 20 microns. The same can be said for large inexpensive CMMs from major brands. When you check the specs and a bridge CMM is repeatable to 30 micron a portable measuring arm is a much better choice. That said we are nowhere near the 1 to 4 microns of a standard CMM.
Custom gauging is an option. They are simple to use and cheap for one or two different part numbers. The problem is the cost of storing the gauging for multiple parts and the larger cost of having each gauge calibrated yearly. These costs combined can make a room of gauges many time more expensive than even the most expensive CMM.
The above journey brings us to the question how can you measure your big parts repeatability and with a low long-term cost of ownership?
My answer is a WENZEL LHF. Across the world LHF CMMs are measuring tanks, large aircraft parts, massive gears and even full automobiles. The LHF is the only CMM in the world to offer a volumetric length measuring uncertainty of 4.8 microns + 1L/450. These CMMs are up to 4 meters wide and can be made in lengths up to 12 meters long. The guide ways are precision ground and hand finished granite just like our other CMMs.
All right. Sales pitch over!
I mention this to ensure you remember that you have options the next time you have to choose a new measuring system. When a sales guy comes to your plant and says, “this is what you need” there could be better options. Many of you go get three quotes but pricing is never the whole story and we usually have a bias toward one vendor. Keep an open mind and you might find the next greatest technology before your competitors does