Even though CMMs are widely used and have become important to the quality operations of many companies, they remain complex and expensive. The value of this data collection is invaluable yet the cost of these can be in the tens of thousands, hardly a minor investment. Plus the cost to fully train the CMM programmer and produce the desired output can be an added drain to the company’s budget and resources. In the best-case scenario, CMMs provide a seamless and efficient way to measure parts and provide the quality team with fast, accurate measurement data.
Yet when it is time to create the First Article Inspection (FAI) or similar inspection report, many progressive companies with their high-tech CMM machines are not maximizing the digital nature of the CMM output. After running the CMM, many quality personnel will manually enter the data into the inspection report and the chance of transcription errors rises immediately. The gains of the fast, accurate CMM data are virtually compromised in this situation.
Apparently, these companies are locked in a classic "Catch 22" situation: using the CMM to glean the measurement data for maximum precision, yet relying on manual entry to replicate the data in the inspection reports. As we know, humans make mistakes: misinterpretation of data, not saving work and mistyping in the wrong fields are all common errors seen in the data entry fields for most inspection reports. Ironically, a CMM program was supposed to eliminate this problem.