It may sound paradoxical, but the fact is many aspects of automation in manufacturing do not happen by machines alone — humans must assist in different stages of the process.
So much has been made of the story of North America’s resurgent manufacturing industry, which was rescued by a wave of automation that has helped local manufacturers to compete in a globalized economy against countries with fewer regulation and lower labour costs.
While this narrative is largely true, it does need to be stated that most production lines are not fully automated. While factories are increasingly automating parts of their production line, there are careers to be had in the metrology industry, working with CMM machines.
Here is some information about what training is like on CMM machines, and the different ways there are to learn.
What to Expect from In-Class Sessions
Metrology is a highly-specialized subject, and it’s important you get training from the experts who work in the field. The teachers you learn from should be associated with an accredited metrology business, as often the best teachers work for companies that primarily sell, repair, and service CMM machines.
The facility you attend should be equipped with a variety of high-grade CMM machines, like a Romer arm, Equator and a Bridge CMM. Lessons need to be supplemented by hands-on experience with the equipment.
There are a range of courses you can learn which teach subjects for different levels and specialties: PC-DMIS levels 1/2/3, PC-DMIS CAD++, PC-DMIS Portable, PC-DMIS Pro, Datapage+, Polyworks and Quindos.
There’s also a specialized Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing training course that will get you up to date on the latest textbook fundamentals, along with multiple revision charts. You’ll be given a few tests and quizzes to make sure you’ve retained the information, and that you’ve reached an operational level of understanding.
Expect the training session to last anywhere between 1-5 days.
How Online Lessons Work
Alternatively, there is an online E-Learning module that students can take to learn about PC-DMIS Portable, PC-DMIS levels 1/2, and MODUS for Renishaw Equator. This course can be done conveniently from your own home, but has the obvious drawback of not being accompanied by actual CMM machines.
Upon completion of the course a certificate will be issued, testifying that you’ve learned the skills taught in the module. Look for companies which have been in business for over 30 years — in addition to supplying a wide range of metrology services they often have some of North America’s foremost experts teaching CMM programs.
While people worry that automation will reduce the number of jobs in North American manufacturing, the fact is those jobs can’t exist if factories here aren’t competitive — no matter how you look at it, automation doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. The good news is that automation itself can be a source for jobs.
So if you’re looking to further develop skills in your employees that will continue to be relevant years from now, teach them how to operate CMM machines. When deciding who to learn from, remember to consult the true experts.