There can be no denying that especially in the last quarter century, metrology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Optical technology, 3-D scanners, and the advent of lasers have all served to evolve metrology to where it is today. So it only makes sense to assume that new developments, improved inspection, advanced quality control, and more will continue to evolve and make the manufacturing process one that is ever-changing. What will the next ten years bring?
An Automated Measurement System
Will automated measurement systems eventually replace physical inspections and human intervention? Quality control teams may soon see nightmares when comes to programming and will, therefore, want to use intuitive, flexible software integrated with hardware. But one day, trajectory could be independently recorded and programmed by a robot.
Hardware and Software Integration and 3-D Scanning
Between each of a system’s components, eventually, there needs to be better synergy. In order to give users maximum capabilities, and for equipment hardware and software to fully operate and interact, both will need to be developed jointly by the same company. Rather than generic software being compatible with all pieces of hardware, there will be an integration which will provide users with important benefits and allow for more possibilities. This will especially apply to ease-of-use and in terms of simplicity.
There are three distinct reasons why metrology solutions involving 3-D scanning will soon replace probing solutions. They are as follows:
- Less time will be needed for complete part characterization
- The density of analyzed information
- Acquisition speed
Flexibility and Simplicity
Soon to take place right on the production floor, more operators will be required to execute inspections and quality control. What this means for metrology equipment is that it will need to be easier to understand, simpler to use, and more intuitive. There will be a decreased level of expertise needed in order to operate measuring and metrology equipment. A transition period of sorts will exist, however, and quality control teams will still manage inspections. They may not immediately be familiar with robot programming and optimization. Eventually, the task will move on to production teams who are not currently familiar with methods of measuring. During this period, metrology will have to depend on solutions that are more flexible in order to get the right measurements. Eventually, however, those measurements will be self-corrected and automated.
More Measurements Will Be Taken During Manufacturing
In the near future, those responsible for the manufacture of parts will also be responsible for their inspection. This is what comes from metrology equipment becoming easier to use, simpler, and moving closer to the floor of production. It will no longer be a parallel procedure, that of quality control and inspection. It will morph into one important stage during the process of manufacturing. During the manufacturing process, measurements will be taken on many occasions so that, by the time the production process is completed, the part has already been measured numerous times.
When equipment becomes more flexible, simpler, and more portable, that will be the key to a significant transition. And automated measurements could mean a manufacturing process that will self-correct and eliminate, at least partially, the need for human intervention. Someday, after an automated measurement inspection, a pinpoint location of a fault could be discerned and transmitted to the software responsible for manufacturing. This would allow errors to be dealt with during the production process. Could this be the future of metrology?