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The Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) plays a vital role in the mechanisation of
the inspection process.

Coordinate measuring machines are relatively recent developments in measurement


Generally speaking, coordinate measuring machines (CMM) represent one of the

most accurate and flexible measuring instruments used in the metrology field.

They are versatile in their capability to record measurement of complex profiles with
high sensitivity (0.25 m) and speed.

There are several CMM configurations such as:

Moving bridge type,

Fixed bridge type,
Column type,
Cantilever type,
Horizontal arm type and gantry type,
Physical principles:
Optical probes and/or laser probes can be used (if possible in combination), which change
CMMs to measuring microscopes or multi-sensor measuring machines. Fringe projection
systems,theodolite triangulation systems or laser distant and triangulation systems are not
called measuring machines, but the measuring result is the same: a space point. Laser probes
are used to detect the distance between the surface and the reference point on the end of the
kinematic chain (i.e.: end of the Z-drive component). This can use an interferometrical
function, focus variation, light deflection or a beam shadowing principle.


Co-ordinate Measuring Machines are built rigidly and are very precise.
They are equipped with digital readout or can be linked to computers for
online inspection of parts.
These machines can be placed close to machine tools for efficient inspection
and rapid feedback for correction of processing parameter before the next part
is made.
Important features of the CMMs are :
(i) Hollow box construction of members to give maximum rigidity to
machines without excessive weight.
(ii) A map of systematic errors in machine is built up and fed into the
computer system so that the error compensation is built up into the software.
(iii) Use of thermocouples to compensate for temperature gradients and thus
provide increased accuracy and repeatability.

CMM is a specialised form of industrial robot (anthropomorphic robot).

Co-ordinate Measuring Machines include 3 main components:

1.Machine body
2.Probing system
3.Data collection and reduction system
(i)Machine controller
(ii)desktop computer
(iii)Application software


In this research work, a comparative study between the precision obtained with a touch probe
(TP-200) and that obtained with a scanning probe (SP-25) is carried out for a specific
coordinate measuring machine (CMM). These two types of probes cover the most commonly
used contact probes in CMMs, where touch probes work by making contacts with the part
and scanning probes maintain the contact with the part as they scan along its surface. There
are several basic CMM configurations such as: moving bridge type, fixed bridge type,
column type, cantilever type, horizontal arm type and gantry type, among others (see AENOR
(2001)). This precision study is to be carried out on a moving bridge CMM since it is the
most widely used type.

The two contact probes whose performances are to be compared in this present study are TP-
200 and SP-25, which can be observed in Figs. 2 (a) and 2 (b), respectively.
Fig. 2. Renishaw contact probes utilized in the present precision study: (a) TP-200; (b) SP-

TP-200 is a precision touch-trigger probe manufactured by Renishaw which uses strain gauge
technology, thus giving a higher accuracy than kinematic touch-trigger probes. The stylus
module is mounted on the probe via a highly repeatability magnetic kinematic joint,
providing rapid stylus changing capability and overtravel protection. With respect to the
length of the stylus employed, this was 20 mm and the tip was a ruby ball with a diameter of
3 mm (see Renishaws TP200 specifications). Also manufactured by Renishaw, SP-25
actually provides two sensors in one as it enables scanning and touch-trigger probes in a
single system. Its transducer system consists of a pair of infrared beam sources (IREDs), a
pair of light sensitive position sensing devices (PSDs), a pivot spring motion system and an
integral pair of reflective concave mirrors. In operation, the IRED beams are directed onto
the mirrors and then focused and reflected back onto the PSDs, where they can be translated
into spatial measurement coordinates. The stylus length used in this probe was 21 mm and the
diameter for its corresponding ruby ball was 5 mm (see Renishaws SP25 specifications). In
accordance with Renishaws probes data sheets and taking their stylus length values into
account, we are going to assume that the standard uncertainties values for TP-200 and SP-25
are uTP200 = 0.75 m and uSP25 = 0.60 m, respectively.
Fig. 3. Machined part to be measured with both contact probes: TP-200 and SP-25.

Fig. 5. Plot with the means of the uncertainty values (expressed in m) for TP-200 and SP-25
and their corresponding LSD intervals (based on Fishers least significant difference
Fig. 6. Plot with the means and LSD intervals of the uncertainty values (in m) for TP-200
with three, four and five contact points.

When applying the multiple sample comparison procedure to this straight ladder, all the
groups of means and uncertainties arranged in positions are homogeneous for a confidence
level of 95 %, where this means that the obtained measurements do not depend on the CMM
position in any case. In order to evaluate the performance of both probes when measuring the
straight ladder, uncertainty values were grouped into two samples that were compared,
showing that SP-25 is more accurate than TP-200, as can be observed in Table 3 and Fig. 5.
Finally, it was considered to be of interest to study the influence of the number of contact
points (3, 4 and 5) over the results obtained for the mean and the uncertainty values. To this
end, means and uncertainties were grouped into three different samples for each of the two
contact probes and all the groups turned out to be homogeneous, this meaning that, in
particular, there are no significant differences in the precision of the measurements when
three, four or five contact points are used to define the planes of the straight ladder, as can be
observed in Figs. 6 (TP-200) and 7 (SP-25).

The performance of the two contact probes turned to be different and the SP-25
probe shows a better performance than the TP-200 probe, which means than the first is more
precise than the second. Finally, it was verified that there were no significant differences in
the precision of the measurements when three, four or five contact points were used to define
the planes of the straight ladder.

The procedure,carried out with a CMM,in order to define the mathematical model of a
part with a theoretically unknown surface is called digitizing.In digitizing ,there are 2 kinds
of design:

Laser scanner technology-CMM application:
Laser scanner is used in scanning various subjects
Based on time of flight principle,terrestrial laser scanner scans long range terrestrial
surfaces and long range surveying, accident investigation,dental laser scanner,laser radars and
laser scanning robots to scan mines.
Based on 3D triangulation principle,human faces can be scanned and recorded.
Other applications include multi modal tracking of commuters,3D graphics,reverse
engineering, metrology inspection, physical analysis of artifacts,image processing and handy
scan 3D laser scanner.

Portable coordinate-
measuring machines:
Whereas traditional
CMMs use a probe that
moves on three Cartesian
axes to measure an objects
physical characteristics,
portable CMMs use either articulated arms or, in the case of optical CMMs, arm-free
scanning systems that use optical triangulation methods and enable total freedom of
movement around the object.
Portable CMMs with articulated arms have six or seven axes that are equipped with
rotary encoders, instead of linear axes. Portable arms are lightweight (typically less than 20
pounds) and can be carried and used nearly anywhere. However, optical CMMs are
increasingly being used in the industry. Designed with compact linear or matrix array
cameras (like the Microsoft Kinect), optical CMMs are smaller than portable CMMs with
arms, feature no wires, and enable users to easily take 3D measurements of all types of
objects located almost anywhere.
Certain non-repetitive applications such as reverse engineering and rapid prototyping,
and large-scale inspection of parts of all sizes are ideally suited for portable CMMs. The
benefits of portable CMMs are multifold. Users have the flexibility in taking 3D
measurements of all types of parts and in the most remote/difficult locations. They are easy to
use and do not require a controlled environment to take accurate measurements. Moreover,
portable CMMs tend to cost less than traditional CMMs.
The inherent trade-offs of portable CMMs are manual operation (they always require
a human to use them). In addition, their overall accuracy can be somewhat less accurate than
that of a bridge type CMM and is less suitable for some applications.

Multi-sensor-measuring machines:
Traditional CMM technology using touch probes is today often combined with other
measurement technology. This includes laser, video or white light sensors to provide what is
known as multi-sensor measurement.


CMMs are essentially universal measuring machines and need not be

dedicated to any particular task.
They can measure almost any dimensional characteristic of a part
configuration, including cams, gears and warped surfaces.
No special fixtures or gages are required.
Because probe contact is light, most parts can be inspected without being
clamped to the table.
Reduced Setup Time:
Part alignment and establishing appropriate reference points are very time
consuming with conventional surface plate inspection techniques.
Software allows the operator to define the orientation of the part on the CMM,
and all subsequent data are corrected for misalignment between the parts-
reference system and the machine coordinates.
Single Setup:

Most parts can be inspected in a single setup, thus eliminating the need to
reorient the parts for access to all features.
Improved Accuracy:

All measurements in a CMM are taken from a common geometrically fixed

measuring system.
This eliminates the introduction and the accumulation of errors that can result
with hand-gage inspection methods and transfer techniques.

In this unit, coordinate measuring machines are discussed. The unit begins with a
description of its part.
Next to this, the principle of operation and the working of a coordinate measuring
machine are discussed.
Next to this, the principle of operation and the working of a coordinate measuring
machine are discussed.
The unit finishes with the discussion of the advantages of a coordinate measuring