Consolidation in the World of Metrology

FARO and Hexagon announce acquisitions of smaller competitors.

We’ve already discussed consolidation as a creeping trend in the machine tool industry. Is that same trend coming to the world of metrology? Two recent acquisitions suggest that we could see competition in the test and measuring instrument industry decline.

FARO Acquires Laser Projection Technologies, Inc.

Already a major player in the metrology game, FARO recently announced its acquisition of Laser Projection Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of high-speed, long-range 3D laser projection and measurement systems. LPT systems are designed for use in manufacturing applications that require precise component alignment.

Mounting a LPT projector. (Image courtesy of Laser Projection Technologies.)

Mounting a LPT projector. (Image courtesy of Laser Projection Technologies.)

“The acquisition of LPT enhances FARO’s robust portfolio of 3D measurement solutions,” stated Simon Raab, president and CEO of FARO. “In addition to LPT’s leading laser projection solutions, we believe LPT’s proprietary imaging laser photogrammetry and imaging laser radar technologies have tremendous potential to disrupt the market by establishing a new class of high-speed laser measurement with advanced 3D imaging capabilities and we will focus our integration efforts on rapidly leveraging this potential.”

According to Raab, LPT’s technology is orders of magnitude faster than other LiDAR systems used in manufacturing.

“In addition, this promising technology incorporates a well-developed laser projection capability to guide assembly, making it a fully robotic, high-speed collaborative tool for manual or automated assembly and verification,” Raab added. “In this case, ‘seeing’ is truly measuring.”

Hexagon AB Acquires Apodius GmbH

Another major metrology player, Hexagon AB, recently announced its acquisition of Apodius GmbH, a start-up specializing in measurement solutions for fiber composite components.

Apodius serves original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well as suppliers in the automotive, aerospace, electronics and appliances industries. Apodius offers development, production and integration of measurement solutions for carbon fiber.

(Image courtesy of Apodius GmbH.)

(Image courtesy of Apodius GmbH.)

Carbon composite materials are becoming increasingly common in the aerospace and automotive sectors, and this acquisition will support Hexagon’s implementation of measurement solutions in multi-layered textile reinforced structures for light, rigid and robust fiber composite components.

“The requirements for composite fiber inspection go beyond the classical dimensional metrology which Hexagon’s current offering provides,” said Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence president Norbert Hanke. “Apodius’ solutions offer a perfect complement to our portfolio, in terms of technology and application expertise.”

Trends in Metrology

FARO’s acquisition echoes recent predictions that automation will be a driving force in the growth of the quality assurance industry. The company’s robot-mounted 3D imager, launched earlier this year, is a similar portend of the future of metrology. Hexagon’s acquisition of Apodius can also be seen as a hint at things to come; though in this case, it’s about trends in manufacturing materials in general, rather than metrology specifically.

So do these acquisitions foreshadow a trend toward consolidation in metrology? It’s difficult to say for certain, but even if it is the case, consolidation is not necessarily a bad thing. Although decreased competition in a highly specialized market can result in negative outcomes for the consumer, in the world of metrology it could also increase the standardization of equipment and make calibrating multiple systems much easier.

Would you welcome more consolidation in metrology? Comment below.