Buying a used coordinate measuring machine is a smart, strategic way to save money while improving your measuring capabilities. But it also raises a number of questions, including where you should buy a used coordinate measuring machine, what brand you should buy, and what you should expect.
The good news it that the majority of coordinate measuring machines use frictionless air bearings, which means their mechanical structure wears down much slower than your CNC tools. A good coordinate measuring machine can last as long as 30 years, so a used machine will have plenty of life left in it.
Coordinate measuring machine buyer’s guide
Carefully consider where you go to buy metrology instruments, as there is a big difference between going online or buying at auction and going to a reputable coordinate measuring machine dealer. What are the things to consider?
One important thing that a metrology dealer can offer that you won’t find online or from an auction is a guarantee on the machine. While warranties are difficult to come by wherever you go when it comes to used coordinate measuring machines, a guarantee means that the machine will operate as specified when it arrives in your shop. Metrologists meticulously inspect and test machines that they buy for resale.
An independent metrology dealer like Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM) will have a large inventory of coordinate measuring machines from dozens of different OEMs.
Sheffield, Mitutoyo, ROMER, DEA, Leica, and Zeiss should all be available from an independent metrology dealer. Zeiss is a well-known and trusted metrology brand that began as an optics company in Germany in the 19th century. Along with brands under Hexagon MI and the Japanese company Mitutoyo, they produce some of the most widely used coordinate measuring machines on the globe.
3. Original software
One of the other issues you may encounter with a used coordinate measuring machine from Zeiss is if it comes with the original software. Programs like UMESS and USoft are quite simply obsolete, and will need to be replaced right away. Calypso is a more commonly-used native Zeiss software, and while some users are comfortable with it, others have criticized its instability.
If you want to upgrade your software, it’s easier if you do it with the metrology company you buy the coordinate measuring machine from. PC-DMIS is the metrology software of choice used by CMM, and it’s the OEM software used by Hexagon MI, but it’s compatible with a wide range of coordinate measuring machines, including Zeiss, Mitutoyo, Leica, ROMER, Faro, Leitz, Brown & Sharpe, DEA, and Wenzel. PC-DMIS is also one of the most widely-used software programs for coordinate measuring machines, and because of its compatibility across manufacturers, it can help you standardize software in your shop.
4. Replacement parts
Finally, one last element to keep in mind when you’re buying a used coordinate measuring machine is the availability of replacement parts. Major OEM brands are more likely to have replacement equipment available for a used machine. These brands include Brown & Sharpe, DEA, Mitutoyo, and Zeiss, which is one of the reasons new and used Zeiss CMM equipment is a valuable, long-lasting purchase.
Check with your metrology dealer about the availability of replacement parts as OEMs, who prefer shops buy new machines, may not be forthcoming about the information. Work closely with a reliable metrology dealer any time you’re buying used equipment.