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What’s happening in manufacturing facilities today?

Picture this: Your coordinate measuring machine (CMM) has crashed for the umpteenth time, and now it’s out of commission because you need to replace the probe head. Does this sound familiar? Across the world, manufacturers are facing the same problem: A situation occurs, you have to call the CMM’s manufacturer to evaluate your machine, and productivity suffers until a repair is made. This is because most CMM manufacturers have a reactive enterprise, which causes loss in time, money, and production.


With the emergence of Industry 4.0, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence set out to convert a reactive problem into a proactive solution. In this article, we will take you through the questions you should ask yourself about your manufacturing process to help you transform these reactive instances into a more efficient solution.

It all starts by connecting you to your machines. This allows you to be aware of changes on the machine in real time. The collection and analysis of these data give you the power to be more proactive and predictive in your measuring decisions.

This connection is made using a solution we call MMS PULSE, a system of sensors that monitor environmental situations as they occur.

Is this the right solution for me?

When designing MMS PULSE 1.0, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence looked to its customers for inspiration by asking this question: What are the most common situations you encounter when running your CMM unattended? From these data, we developed the following questions for manufacturers to ask themselves about their manufacturing process:

Do I run my CMM unattended?

For most manufacturers, there is little time for operators to wait for their CMMs to finish a program measurement before moving on to their next task. In order to give operators confidence to leave their machine unattended, Hexagon needed to offer a solution that allows them the visibility they need to be effective, without having to physically be near their machine.

How do I know if there was a crash? How do I handle a probe crash?

If your machine crashes, your entire program stops, slowing down production and possibly damaging your CMM. In these situations time is of the essence, and you need visibility to any damage to your machine as soon as it happens.

A probe crash can be a hindrance to productivity, especially if there is major damage involved. An evaluation of the machine’s condition and the probe itself must be addressed. Being aware of the occurrence as it happens is imperative to eliminate extensive damage and possible downtime to your machine.

What is the effect on downtime?

Time is money. Every time you turn off your machine due to a crash or other repair reduces productivity and uptime.

How do I ensure the CMM is measuring my parts in acceptable temperature and humidity conditions?

Unless it’s a temperature-controlled lab, most production floors endure major temperature and humidity swings. Having a handle on these environmental conditions could be the difference between catching an out-of-tolerance part, or letting a bad part into your manufacturing cycle.

How do I know if vibration is affecting my process?

Vibration can come from the production floor, but it can also come from your machine. How do you know if vibrations are affecting your measurement accuracy? Understanding if and when vibrations are occurring is essential to taking accurate measurements.

What is MMS PULSE?


With this information in hand, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence sought to develop a solution to these situations that would allow manufacturers more visibility into what is happening around their CMM systems. This was the foundation for engineering MMS PULSE.

MMS PULSE is a reactive system that provides the connectivity necessary for building a proactive and, ultimately, predictive system. This self-contained system can be adapted to Hexagon’s or any other manufacturer’s CMM.

The system continuously measures the temperature, and more important, the rate of change of temperature, which is a component that can truly affect the performance of a CMM. Those parameters are drawn straight from the machine performance specifications. In addition, the system monitors humidity, also an important component of the machine’s environment, especially in certain areas of the world.

MMS PULSE monitors the CMM’s Z-column forces using an accelerometer that continuously monitors the movement, and when a large disruption occurs, it can report and record a crash. This also allows Hexagon to tell you the severity of that crash, and notify you if service is required. Finally, MMS PULSE monitors vibration near the base of the machine to inform you of any large disturbance that has occurred nearby or on the machine itself.

As instances occur, MMS PULSE immediately informs you of any of these events via a short message service or an email within minutes of the occurrence. The ability to monitor the environment of the machine, in real time, and be aware of any disturbance creates the foundation for a proactive system.

As Hexagon collects the data from MMS PULSE, we will begin to run more analytics that in the future will provide you with information on how these disturbances affect the quality of measurement.

How do we intend to make all of this more proactive and, ultimately, predictive?

The future of manufacturing intelligence

The intent of MMS PULSE is to provide zero unplanned downtime (or as close as we can possibly get to it) so that your machines can fully function 99.9 percent of the year.

In our effort to provide zero unplanned downtime, we are continually working toward enabling MMS PULSE to provide more sensor capability, basic overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) calculations, assignable causes, and connection to the cloud. With these capabilities in place, Hexagon can provide more proactive, and eventually, predictive solutions to its customers. This will give users the ability to see where clusters of problems are occurring in order to react more effectively while also providing visibility to your CMMs in any place, at any time, or on any device.


Cloud connectivity is what ultimately brings us to the proactive and predictive value of MMS PULSE, and the ability to provide you the real promise of Industry 4.0. If your machines are connected to our back office systems, we will be able to collect operational data about the machines and let you know when they are in need of service, know what service is needed, and get as close to zero unplanned downtime as we can.


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