Building Open Systems to Take Advantage of Connected Data

by Benjamin Bickel on November 29, 2017 From Technology
HxGN SMART Quality Connectivity

In my previous blog, I examined how to utilise data to strike a balance between quality measurement and optimising the costs of achieving that quality. Today, I’m looking at how HxGN SMART Quality increases network connectivity to enhance the value and communicative potential of data. 
      
As with all networks, HxGN SMART Quality applies the principle of positive network effects, namely that the value of a network increases with the number of units involved. This was already the case with the invention of the phone and is no different in the computer age. In an ideal world, either a) one provider would provide all measuring systems and thus set a quasi-standard for data formats and the data connection or data transfer, or b) there would be a common standard and open interfaces between all manufacturers involved. Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking. In reality, most companies use a variety of different measuring systems for different purposes from different suppliers, and this certainly has its justification.

But let us go back to the ‘value of a network’. Even in a non-ideal world it should at least be possible to connect most measuring systems. This is one of the main objectives of HxGN SMART Quality, to connect the largest possible number of measuring systems to the central server unit. This is achieved via the construction of a bidirectional network in which the input data from the server is supplied to the measuring systems (measuring programs, etc.); the results are then sent back to the server for further processing, but with additional data and documents to represent and support the entire process. Of course, the data flow doesn’t end here in the server unit. 

Today’s companies use a variety of different software systems, from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems through supply chain management (SCM) systems to manufacturing execution systems (MES), providing a whole range of coverage for operational requirements. Here, too, HxGN SMART Quality is open and strives to create as many combinations as possible.

Currently, HxGN SMART Quality can completely or partially cover this bidirectional data traffic with the measuring programs PC-DMIS, QUINDOS and other metrology software packages and process data from the creation of a CAD drawing to the creation of a measurement program up to evaluation, preparation and action recommendation. HxGN SMART Quality uses a flexible framework that provides all the necessary functions centrally and uses specific adapters to quickly extend these functionalities to other measuring programs. Of course, they can’t be integrated all in one go due to the large number of different measuring systems and programs. However, we’ve begun work on this and subsequent steps will be driven by customer demand. 

New technologies are also supported by HxGN SMART Quality, such as the networking of measurement systems using the Internet of Things (IoT), in this case by means of an MQ telemetry transport (MQTT) adapter. Increasing network connectivity also benefits all the measures that I described in my previous blogs to ensure quality while optimising quality costs; the larger the network from which they receive the data, the more effective the measures.  

Benjamin Bickel

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.