How Will Metrology Impact Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution. It represents the digitisation of industry, an age bolstered by automation and interconnected machines that learn and make decisions with the help of AI informed by real-time data.
In simple terms, it’s the industrial Internet of things. There are many ways that machines can be integrated into these networks. Automated metrology is just the beginning – where does the practice as a whole come in to Industry 4.0 processes?
Metrology means data
Integrating metrology systems into Industry 4.0 workflows meets the need for data without sacrificing the speed and efficiency of automation.
Software such as ZONE3 empowers OGP metrology machines to gather data points automatically. They’re able to generate their own measurement paths using the software, and models like those of the Vantage range can swap sensors automatically as needed.
On the shop floor, parts being able to go from the CNC machine straight to the metrology system yields the real-time data that informs smart industry. This allows users to keep production within tolerances, allows errors to be detected and corrected early, and keeps users informed of any emerging trends or challenges.
Fast-moving production needs to be accurate and adaptable. It’s no use completing jobs quickly if the job needs to be tackled all over again due to errors. Not only does this waste time, it wastes material and may lengthen a customer’s lead times. For this reason, metrology will be an essential component as more businesses step into Industry 4.0 processes. Data will be more vital than ever so that industrial hubs aren’t working in the dark.
Automation on the shop floor aims to minimise human error and reduce bottlenecks. Automated metrology machines are no different. The technology of OGP’s solutions means measurements are taken faster, more accurately, and more repeatably than even the most seasoned metrology expert can with manual tools.
Additionally, inline metrology using machines built to withstand production environments eliminates the need to move to a separate inspection area. Downtime is cut significantly over time, with small savings on a day-to-day basis mounting up to thousands of hours per year.
Coupled with robotic loaders, parts can even be automatically moved from production to metrology with minimal operator input. OGP’s metrology machines thrive in automated environments thanks to their speed and capability.
Laser, touch, video, and white light probes comprise the machines’ advanced measuring technologies. Using the right solution for the task, OGP machines can detect radii, angles, blind holes, and diameters and lengths – even from transparent and reflective objects. This leads to an adaptive form of metrology, able to capture the finest details of even the most complex geometries.
Industry 4.0 has changed the face of many shop floor practises like applied metrology. However, metrology has the potential to influence it in turn.
The future of metrology is still up for speculation. It isn’t hard to imagine that advancing software and hardware will accommodate more integrated practices. For instance, multiple checks throughout production lines will allow for greater certainty and adherence to tolerances.
As these technologies advance, Industry 4.0 – and beyond – may take a turn towards metrology that requires no interruption to production at all, informing machine tools whilst measuring their work in a seamless flow of back-and-forth data communication.
Find out more: OGP UK’s dedicated team can help you understand how metrology can enhance your throughput and productivity. Get in touch with our experts today.