Industry 4.0: The Role of Portable CMMs and Metrology

by James Rawstron on December 29, 2016 From News And Comment

Industry 4.0, otherwise known as the fourth industrial revolution, is the latest trend of automation, Internet of Things (IoT), and data in manufacturing technologies. Industrial 4.0 includes key systems, such as cyber-physical systems that can collect data using sensors, advancement in big data and analytics, and higher levels of security that can maintain these new technological innovations.

What is Industry 4.0’s Impact on Metrology and Manufacturing?

The impact of Industry 4.0 on manufacturing is expected to be enormous. According to a report by Accenture, Industry 4.0 could add $14.2 trillion USD to the world economy over the next 15 years. “Smart factories” are changing supply chain and production lines by using automation and high-level communication technologies that result in better quality products created more quickly.

It may also have a significant impact on metrology and quality control. “Smart measurements” are expected to revolutionize the entire production process. Using automated measurements, a manufacturing process would essentially be able to correct itself if an error occurs -- all without the need of a human. A manufacturing run that can detect, identify, and correct these errors is the future of the metrology industry. This concept of data-driven manufacturing, where machines can make real-time adjustments to upstream conditions enabling is revolutionizing the industry. Along with predictive analysis, manufacturers can make data-driven decisions that positively impact the entire process.

What Role Will Portable CMMs Play?

Measurements can be taken right on the factory floor using a portable coordinate measuring machine (PCMM). This machine scans the parts and sends corresponding data in real time, which can then be analyzed and compared with the original CAD file. Portable CMMs allow operators to get precise measurements and compare them to existing data on complex parts right in the factory line. With the advent of Industry 4.0 and its technological innovations, this data can now be connected to other machines or even other factories, sharing data internally and across suppliers in order to reduce waste and improve productivity. Measurements taken are stored in the cloud, which means they can be accessed whenever necessary and are never lost.

The fourth industrial revolution has had a large impact on portable CMMs, as manufacturers are able to improve supply chain tracking and optimize real-time production. Being able to use a portable CMM right on the factory floor, gaining data in real-time that can be shared across multiple factories improves production on a larger level than just a single manufacturing run.

Implementing the widespread capabilities of IoT and innovative concepts of Industry 4.0 in conjunction with the precise measurements of portable CMMs can push the metrology and manufacturing industry forward as a whole.

James Rawstron

James Rawstron is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America, located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Rawstron has 20 years of marketing communications experience in the software, high tech, industrial, advanced manufacturing machinery and medical device markets. He has written numerous articles for B2B publications, including blogs for a variety of industries. Prior to joining Hexagon, Rawstron served as a web marketing professional at IBM and a Marketing Manager at Vector Software. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and European History from Union College of Schenectady, New York.