In business, it’s crucial to find efficiencies wherever you can. When a company can deliver the same quality service or goods for a lower price, the net gain as a result is pure profit. Efficiency is in fierce demand now, and always has been.
For much of the 20th century, North American factories were some of the most efficient and productive in the world. But after globalization began to take hold, suddenly companies here had to compete against factories operating in countries with fewer regulations and cheaper labour.
Factories here had to become more efficient to remain economically viable. One of the major ways this occurred was through increased automation, especially when it came to quality control along production lines.
The main piece of equipment driving this type of automation was coordinate measuring machines, known as CMM machines. If you want your factory to be truly running on all cylinders today, it’s essential to get the best results possible from your CMM machine.
Here are some steps you need to take to get the most from your CMM machine and your factory.
Install CMM Machines Correctly from the Beginning
They are relied upon to scan parts or objects of various sizes accurately, so they can tell if there’s a defect. They can work either by a human operator or by computer, which is what makes them so perfect for performing quality control.
But if you’re going to expect your machines to determine if your factory’s goods meet industry standards, you can’t just plug it into the wall and expect it to work properly. Industry leaders found at places like www.CMMxyz.com have professional meteorologists who can install them.
The machine needs to be calibrated for different variables at play in the local environment, including things like room temperature. Efficiency is all about knowing your equipment works properly from day one.
When looking to get metrology equipment professionally installed, look to an authorized dealer for the best service. They don’t only sell and rent the equipment, they usually offer the best services related to metrology too. Look for an authorized dealership for services related to CMM machines, such as arm recalibration, upgrades and retrofits, CMM calibration, machine relocation, or preventative maintenance.
Don’t Trust Just Anyone with Repairs
Metrology equipment like a CMM machine is vitally important to the company. They are highly complex. Don’t just let any handyman repair your CMM.
If your company doesn’t have its own in-house metrology expert, you can hire one to help you calibrate your machine or help locate replacement parts. Don’t entrust your CMM repair to anybody unless they are ISO 9000 and ISO 17025 accredited.
When you’ve had all the parts of your CMM inspected, like probes, probe heads, and all the latest software, then you’ll know that the machines driving your factory’s success are running at full efficiency.
Keep Your Employees Current
While automation is often associated with job loss, the fact is many processes around CMM machines still require a human employee at the helm. Factories depend on workers, so an efficient factory has workers in it whose professional knowledge is up to date, so they can get the most out of your company’s machines.
In addition to selling and servicing metrology equipment, many authorized dealers also offer CMM training and e-learning modules. In-class sessions let factory workers get hands-on training using machines they’re likely to encounter in the field, such as a ROMER Arm or bridge CMM.
E-learning modules, on the other hand, are very well suited to students who already work in the field, and just need to brush up on their skills. They can take the courses remotely, and don’t even need to leave the factory where they already spend their days.
Standardize Your Workflow
Optimizing the productivity of your factory involves ensuring work flow procedures are standardized and clearly defined. What exact form this takes depends on the nature of the goods your factory produces, but the basic idea is simple: workers need to have effective and clearly defined targets that can be measured and scaled up.
Examine the work flow, eliminate pain points, and then optimize what you can, given existing needs and conditions.
Invest in New Software
Sometimes it isn’t new machinery you need to drive efficiency, but new software that makes old machinery do new things. For example, PolyWorks is software compatible with CMM machines which, effectively, enables them along the same production line to talk to each other.
Imagine if a machine on your production line were to gradually break down. How long would it be before you noticed it was working imperfectly? Now, in the early stages of Industry 4.0, a machine with PolyWorks installed can communicate with other machines on the same production line that a breakdown has occurred, mitigating the cost of equipment failure automatically.
Stay current in your knowledge of other software that could help your factory run better, or ensure someone high up in your team knows what software will make your factory run at full efficiency.
Keep Track of Everything
It’s impossible to make the processes inside your factory run more efficiently if you don’t know what they are. This will also change depending on the nature of your factory, but overall, it’s important to track and monitor your worker’s output, their hours worked, and other related statistics.
This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to clamp down on workers; employees who don’t get enough time off for things like lunch or even washroom breaks aren’t likely to be particularly motivated. Determine how you’d like to balance the needs of your factory against the needs of your employees, but you can only do so if you’re tracking everything that’s going on.
CMM machines helped to rescue North American manufacturing when it was threatened by globalization. If you follow these tips, these machines can help your factory become even more efficient. But finding efficiencies in manufacturing means taking a holistic look at how the entire operation is running, not just expecting machines to do all the work.