Over the last 30 years or so, we have seen the rise and dominance of the 3 dimensional coordinate measuring machine in manufacturing. Driven by the need for accurate measurement to engineering drawings and for process control on the shopfloor, CMMs have become the universal instrument of choice for QC and production functions.
The CMM revolution really took of with the successful introduction of the touch probes, such as developed by Renishaw and Zeiss. Accurate 3D data was now available for precision manufacturing. Add in the computer revolution and we get the modern CMM, right at the heat of modern manufacturing.
The drive to get measurement as near as possible to real time manufacturing puts pressure on CMM manufactures to speed up the data measuring capabilities of their machines. At the same time, ever more precision is being demanded as newer materials and process are developed. As time equals money, measurement speed becomes another driver. So are we reaching the limits of touch probe systems? Well, there will always be a place for such systems and newer applications will surely be developed, but there are clear indications that other 3D sensors, such as structured light , optical and laser systems, are building on this measurement heritage.
- Editor QMT