For many shops, purchasing a new coordinate measuring machine is either beyond their budget or not a practical decision given their reasons for investing in the equipment. For two-thirds or less the cost of a new one, shops can purchase second hand equipment that that will remain reliable and accurate for years to come from a metrology dealer. Because they rely on air bearings and are not used under load, coordinate measuring machines can last for decades before they need to be replaced, and working with the right metrology dealer can help you realize a better ROI.
Before you invest in a used coordinate measuring machine, there are 4 factors you should keep in mind as you look:
#1 Make Sure It Works: A good metrology dealer should run thorough inspections on every piece of equipment it acquires for resell and replace or repair any part that’s not operational or intermittent. When you buy directly from an auction, you’re often left with no idea whether the piece will work once it’s arrived, throwing a wrench in your inspection plans.
#2 Delivery: If you buy the piece from an auction, you will also be responsible for managing its delivery on your own, and that won’t be built into the cost of purchase. Metrology dealers will not leave you surprised after you’ve accounted for all the costs and a company like Canadian Measurement Metrology Inc., or CMM, can deliver equipment within a week because they have already inspected it.
#3 Maintenance: Proper maintenance of any coordinate measuring machine, new or used, will not only extend its useful life for years, but also reduce unplanned downtime due to breakdowns. The four biggest preventative maintenance areas you should pay attention to are: air supply, electrical supply, controller filters, and the ways. Because they run on air bearings, it’s important that you maintain a good quality air supply to prevent a breakdown, while a fluctuating current in the power supply is also a frequent culprit for service issues. You will also want to regularly check and replace computer and controller filters to prevent overheating and clean dirt and particles off ways before they find their way into the air bearings.
#4 Replacement Parts: Replacement parts from known brands like Brown & Sharpe or Mitutoyo can be accessible for anywhere from 10-15 years, and it’s important to plan for their availability when you’re basing your budget on how long the equipment will last.
Almost everyone who purchases a used coordinate measuring machines requests a retrofit or upgrade before it arrives on their shop floor to meet their shop’s requirements, and often they request new probe heads, a different computer system, or new software. Typically, metrology dealers will provide a guarantee on used equipment, because they carefully inspect, repair, and replace the parts on a machine before reselling it, which means it’s guaranteed to work when it arrives on your shop floor. However, if you request retrofits or upgrades from a dealer like CMM, you will get the manufacturer’s warranty on the upgraded parts themselves, so you can request upgrades with the same confidence you would when buying a new machine. When you purchase your equipment from the right dealer, upgrade with the parts that best fit your measuring requirements, and take proper care of the instrument, you can get years of use at a fraction of the cost.