Making a part and measuring its quality have long been two very separate operations. Often manufacturers send a finished part offsite to a facility that houses a coordinate measuring machine (CMM), which checks the part’s conformity to specifications. For a company running a high-speed assembly line, the delay means wasted time.
To avoid this inefficiency, the folks at Tokyo-based measuring-tools manufacturer Mitutoyo have built a heavy-duty CMM called the Mach. The device is robust enough to be integrated with a machine tool to determine immediately if specifications are being met as a part is made. According to Bill Wilde, manager of marketing and research at MTI Mitutoyo’s U.S. subsidiary in Aurora, Ill., the Mach’s measurement probe moves five times faster than that of a conventional CMM. Wilde says that MTI aims to offer the Mach commercially by mid-2000.