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A Glimpse into the Future of Metrology
Ian Wright posted on January 04, 2017 |
(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
Manufacturing is moving ever closer to a fourth industrial revolution—a.k.a. Industry 4.0—and the impact of this paradigm shift will be felt throughout the sector. From the perspective of quality professionals, this means that metrology will become an integral part of the production process.

More efficient metrology tools will be used for inspections that will not only be limited to critical attributes, but will encompass more complete measurements. Simple 3D measurements will be transferred to the production floor and will systematically occur throughout the manufacturing process.

To learn more about how advancements in automation, flexibility and 3D scanning will affect the future of metrology, ENGINEERING.com turned to Steve Boulay, a 3D metrology expert for Creaform, to get a glimpse into the future of metrology.


What challenges does increasing automation bring to quality control?

The perfect metrology should catch all defaults and correct the manufacturing process in real time. To do so, the quality control manager will be responsible for integrating measurements into production and ensuring that corrections are automatically applied to the manufacturing process. 
(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
As a result, quality control managers will face two new challenges:
  1. Integrating all systems.
  2. Managing algorithms for real-time adjustments and corrections.

 

How does flexibility factor into the metrology of the future?

The metrology of tomorrow will identify any type of default and include more flexible measurement systems in the metrologist’s toolbox. Quality control managers will have to manage the inspection of all parts regardless of their size, complexity and material.

(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
The metrology of tomorrow will identify any type of default and include more flexible measurement systems in the metrologist’s toolbox. Quality control managers will have to manage the inspection of all parts regardless of their size, complexity and material.

The new challenges for quality control managers will include:

  1. Becoming familiar with automation.
  2. Assembling more flexible measurement systems in their toolbox.

 

What does the future of 3D scanning look like?

In the future, we will see a rise in the use of 3D scanners as they reach higher levels of precision and speed. This will result in the marginalization of probing, which will be assigned only to specific inspections on critical features. This is a good thing for quality control managers, because 3D scanning will provide more data for analysis and more complete information to accelerate problem solving and decision making.

(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
(Image courtesy of Creaform.)
The new reality for quality control managers will be:
  1. Having complex shapes completely characterized.
  2. Analyzing defaults with important information density.

 

How do these changes relate to Industry 4.0?

In Industry 4.0, metrology will identify defaults and update the manufacturing process in real time. Not only will it correct any type of default, but it will also analyze the impact of any modifications on subjacent parts. Thus, metrology will perform perfect control on collateral damage.

All of this is because density information will be accessible to feed the self-correcting manufacturing process. However, all this will only be possible if 3D scanning becomes as efficient, accurate and fast as probing.

For more information, visit the Creaform website.