Introducing HxGN SMART Quality: A Smarter Approach to Quality Data and Measurement Resource Managementby Benjamin Bickel on September 19, 2017 From Technology
As Product Manager for HxGN SMART Quality, I’m very pleased to announce that this new software is available now for customers worldwide. But what is HxGN SMART Quality?
To answer this question seems at first glance quite simple - simply a description of the functionality of the software. However, that would be too short, as it would neglect an important aspect. HxGN SMART Quality as a concept forms an essential pillar of the Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence strategy for smarter manufacturing.
HxGN SMART Quality is an open, web-based software platform
Let us start then, with a product description at a glance: HxGN SMART Quality is an open, web-based software platform that combines tools for the statistical evaluation of quality-relevant features with a rich toolset for managing all the resources involved in the measurements, such as coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
If we think about manufacturing in general for a moment. In my opinion, the challenges for production in the future lie essentially in two areas. On the customer side, greater personalisation and customisation of the products is required, which leads to increased quality requirements but realistically represents a negligible cost-driver. The second area is the technological development; the keywords here are smart and connected devices or machines. In other words, the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT.
To enable our customers to meet these new challenges, HxGN SMART Quality consists of three core areas: Connectivity, Statistics and Resource Management.
Connectivity is the first step towards building a ‘smart factory’. This is why HxGN SMART Quality offers an extensive set of tools for connecting a wide range of measuring instruments, ranging from handheld measuring instruments and CMMs to production machines in the future. As an open platform, one main goal is to continually expand this connectivity to steadily increase the number of supported vendors as well as the amount of available data from the measurement devices. For our customers, the advantage with HxGN SMART Quality is the greatest possible number of measuring instruments being connected and data stored centrally in a single database.
A key feature of a ‘smart factory’ is that quality data is both available and used for production and product development. This could be implemented through the user-centric formatting and representation of data, or by the direct inclusion of quality-relevant data in the production. The keywords are ‘intelligent feedback loop’. Here, HxGN SMART Quality offers exactly the right toolset, including complete compatibility with Q-DAS statistical software products in order to optimally embrace the new importance of the quality data.
Delivering products to the required quality means expenditure. Measurements must be carried out regularly, which occupy personnel and measuring instruments. It’s long been perceived that these expenses do not directly add value to the final product. The aim of the resource management toolset of HxGN SMART Quality is to take account of these efforts and to optimise the utilisation and the processes, and thus the costs. HxGN SMART Quality therefore offers a way to reconcile the quality requirements for products and the costs incurred for the quality of these products.
Of course, this brief overview can’t really do justice to the functionality of the software itself, so follow the blog over the coming weeks and months to learn more about HxGN SMART Quality, find out what value it adds as manufacturers work to establish Industry 4.0 and Quality 4.0, and get a preview of the developments we are planning in the future.
In the next blog, we'll look at how to optimise 'non-productive' expenses with HxGN SMART Quality.
Benjamin Bickel is the Product Manager for HxGN SMART Quality at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. He studied mechatronics, industrial engineering and business administration and holds a diploma in industrial engineering as well as a master’s degree in business administration.
Before he joined Hexagon, he worked for several years as a business consultant for company specialising in technology consulting. He himself specialises in project and product management for the software industry, and innovation management.