You have a dilemma: the shop’s begun production on a new component. You don’t have the right equipment to inspect it properly, or the staff. The contract is sizeable, but there’s no guarantee on how long you will have it. Do you invest in a new coordinate measuring machine (a significant investment that needs to show real returns over the years) or do you contract your new inspection needs to a metrology house? Purchasing a new or used coordinate measuring machine can improve your delivery times and the quality of your parts, in addition to cutting down on wasted time and materials spent on scraps and reworks. However, many shops discover too late that they didn’t really need their own equipment, and they’re left with a large tool gathering dust in the corner. Not only will you have to purchase a machine if you decide to invest rather than outsource, you will also have to hire or train an operator.
The pros and cons of investment versus outsourcing come down to your specific needs.
In house vs. outsource delivery time: One argument for investing in training and new equipment is reducing work stoppages that occur when you send components out of house to be inspected. However, some companies, including Canadian Measurement-Metrology (or CMM), are able todeliver fast turn-arounds or even send operators to your own facilities.
Access to equipment: While having your own coordinate measuring machine looks good to future and present clients, they are long-term investments. Most of them are used for decades, upgraded and retrofitted periodically to meet contemporary standards. A metrology company like CMM will have the widest selection of up-to-date technology. Mechanically, metrology equipment has not changed much for decades, though better software, probes, and the addition of laser scanners and vision systems have all made measuring faster and easier.
First Article Inspection: If you need to produce a First Article Inspection Report, you can save time by working with CMM coordinate measuring machine experts. Because of their extensive experience and regular work inspecting parts, many companies can produce FAIRs faster than a manufacturer could themselves.
Verification: In some cases, you will need 3rd party verification that the components you manufacture meet current standards. If that’s the case, outsourcing inspection simply makes sense.
PC-DMIS Programming: With every new component you introduce to your production line, you will have to program your coordinate measuring machine. A metrology house can typically provide offline programming for shops that don’t have the knowledgeable staff capable of programming themselves. Metrology experts can typically do the job faster and more reliably.
Outsourcing your inspection needs gives you access to professionals who do inspections every day. They have the most up-to-date tools and training to deliver demanding measuring tasks in as little time as possible. Whether your shop is in the medical, aerospace, nuclear, automobile, or micro circuit industry, you can outsource your complicated metrology requirements. Whether or not you choose to invest in better inspection technology or contract out, working with a metrology equipment dealer and measuring lab can help you find a solution tailored to your unique requirements.