Industry 4.0 is the next revolution in manufacturing, based on digital technology and data analytics to improve your delivery times and quality, while keeping prices low and competitive on the global marketplace. At the core of Industry 4.0 is complete digitization and data analytics, and metrology equipment, as your primary means of collecting data and QA, is at the heart of this transformation.
The days when measurements were isolated in the lab are long gone – shops can see significant time and cost savings when they stop loading and unloading components and measuring in the metrology lab. It may not be feasible for all parts, especially given the high accuracy provided by fixed bridge or gantry-style coordinate measuring machines, but if you’re moving your entire shop toward a more automated, efficient system, metrology will play a key role in that transformation. Modern shops are using metrology in modular production lines and relying increasingly on vision systems, laser scanners, and portable arms to bring inspection inline.
The first step you need to take toward introducing inline metrology in your shop is calling a metrology dealer; Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM), for example, is an independent dealer that offers a comprehensive inventory of new and used coordinate measuring machines, portable arms, laser scanners, vision systems, software, training, and more. Independent metrology dealers will help you find the right machine and software for the job.
In the past, machines often became data silos and part of the issue was often incompatible software – machines couldn’t adequately communicate with each other. Harmonized metrology software is often considered a pre-condition to creating a seamless data stream that can be better mined to find meaningful data and find causal connections. That means spending less time identifying the source of defects and machine tool drifting and creating new efficiencies through smart data.
With all of this data, you need a software that allows you to collect it in a single place and easily analyze it, which is where DataPage+ SPC comes in. There is plenty of information on DataPage+ SPC and other software solutions available on Cmmxyz.com/cmm-software.html for shops looking to prepare their processes for the future.
Because laser scanners are frequently used to reverse engineer a CAD, unique software is often required to gather 3D Data. PC-DMIS Reshaper, available from Canadian Measurement Metrology, enables parts inspection, reverse engineering to CAD or CAM, and rapid prototyping. When it comes to data processing, laser scanner software can bring your shop into a new realm.
Chinese manufacturers seem keen to adopt Industry 4.0 technology and move from a labor-intensive sector to a highly automated one. However, when it comes to metrology, they face a significant knowledge deficit on control loops and implementing this technology. One way North American companies can stay competitive is to improve their skill base and utilize Big Data to produce higher quality components in automated environments.
As your clients demand faster delivery times and higher standards, while also requiring low prices, the key to survival is digitization and data analytics. As you update processes and equipment in your shop, talk to a metrology dealer about the equipment and software you need to stay competitive.