Top 5 questions to ask yourself when budgeting for a CMM

The manufacturing landscape changes incredibly quickly. This places a huge importance on continually reviewing your technology needs. Looking at market opportunities, production weak points and past performance are all good ways to start prioritising technology investment.

Is purchasing a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) in your plan for this year? If so, there are some questions you need to ask yourself before establishing your budget.

1. Can I base my budget on the cost of a previous CMM purchase?

The short answer: It’s not the best idea. A common mistake most consumers make is establishing a budget based on previous CMM purchases. If you purchased a CMM before, and then begin your budgeting process with what you established previously, you may end up disappointed. If you use the previously established price, to buy the same system, you would likely end up short due to inflation alone.

After overcoming this cost deficit, the next issue that you will face is the change in technology. What may have been top of the line for speed and accuracy 5 or 10 years ago could be drastically different today. This may result in you developing a budget that does not cover modern technology. When this happens you may end up going the route of a lesser system or buy one used on the open market.

Your best bet is to talk to a metrology expert. They can help you perform a measurement review that will offer a budgetary number that can be used for budget processing.

2. What is this really going to cost me?

When establishing a budget, determining the real cost is important. But what is the real cost exactly? You are not only buying the equipment, training, servicing, installation/programming and accessories when you search for a CMM. You must also evaluate your current process for measurement and translate that into how much it is costing your business today.

3. Where will my new CMM live?

Every square inch of your manufacturing floor matters. If you know metrology, than you know that the environment in which your machine lies, heavily impacts how reliable your measurements truly are. Having the proper environment is essential to obtaining accurate measurement readings.

Where are you thinking of putting your CMM? Is it temperature controlled? Is there access to air? What are the work area measurements? What is the environment like?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you evaluate what type of CMM you need and help you predict the incurring costs associated.

4. What levels of CMM accuracy and functionality do I need?

While starting to plan, it might be tempting to look at your goals for next year. But in this age of rapid innovation and changing customer needs – you may require a CMM with certain functions, features or capabilities to meet your future needs.

The projects you are acquiring now will be different to those you do 5 to 10 years from now, so you need to be ready. Understanding the future bandwidth of your company is imperative to the measurement choices you are making today. A system that has the capability to be updated with accessories such as scanners and probes, or software updates and integrations will allow you to perform the necessary tasks required by your customers. This is all very important as tolerances become ever tighter.

5. Is buying a preowned or used CMM right for me?

So you’ve asked all the questions and calculated the costs. Now you’ve come to the conclusion: will the requirements I need fit into my budget? If your needs are high accuracy measurements without the hefty price tag, maybe a preowned or used machine is what you are looking for.

Some companies, like Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, offer used CMM trade-ins, sell preowned factory certified, demo and factory reconditioned CMMs in an effort to help customers get the most out of their spending. We also buy used CMMs and put them through our factory reconditioning programme, assuring quality and creating a hassle free buying experience.

If you’re looking for further information to smooth the procurement process, check out our CMM buyer’s guide here.

Finally, buying isn’t the only way to secure a new CMM so if you’re interested in renting or capital leasing, check out this guide.


  • Andrew Scarella

    Andrew Scarella is the Digital Marketing Manager for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America. He contributes to this blog as well as updates the North American website and provides content for the company social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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