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A coordinate measuring machine, or CMM, is used to measure the geometrics of an object. It can be controlled by an operator or independently through a computer.
A CMM measures the exact dimensions or angularity of an object by calculating the difference in length between probes on moving axes positioned around the object. Accuracy depends on the machine and the precision of the operator, but is usually measured in microns (1/1,000,000 of a meter). Price varies depending on the make, model and size of machine. They are industry products and only available through specialist companies.
The operator controls the machine by positioning the item on the CMM, running the software and then taking note of the measured items for use in reports. She must also keep the machinery clean to ensure it runs accurately. As the machinery is measuring items for safety reasons, the operator must be confident with using computers to guarantee accuracy, as well as possess good math and geometry skills.
No prior qualifications are needed to train to be a CMM operator, with people able to gain the necessary skills during short courses ranging from one day to five days. As an operator gains additional experience, his speed and efficiency in running the machine and performing repeat measurements increases. Experienced operators can also gain CMM accreditation.