Are we there yet?

By Lynn Stanley

February 2018 - In my 15-year stint as a civil servant, I reached the status of a GS-12. This denotes the 12th pay grade in the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, used to determine salaries for most civilian government employees. The sheer volume of  acronyms in industry and government is daunting. Those who need to learn “govspeak,” turn to resources like the DoD Dictionary and Terminology Repository.

Industry 4.0, meanwhile, has its own version of alphabet soup. Manufacturers and job shops are peppered with IoT, IIoT, M2M, HMI and SCADA, to name just a few. This fresh crop of acronyms  multiplies alongside the technologies companies use to integrate and connect IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) tools.

In this issue, we examine one technology that is shouldering a bigger role on smart production floors. We also find that teamwork makes it easier to navigate the Industry 4.0 landscape and fuel growth.

With quality requirements heating up, Advanced Industrial Measurement Systems (AIMS), saw the need for versatile, cost-effective coordinate measuring machines that could help manufacturers process big data and perform complex part inspection in an IIoT world.

AIMS paired its CMM machine designs with Renishaw’s PH20 5-axis probe head to produce the industry’s first 5-axis mobile CMM—the Revolution HB. The 5-axis workhorse attracted the attention of Beau Easton, owner of Meyer Tool Inc. This early adopter talks about how his IIoT-ready company has incorporated the tool into production cells to perform multiple tasks.

The CMM is proving its mettle, but we recommend manufacturers also examine how this type of equipment will fit into a supply chain that continues to evolve. Manufacturing is headed to where it will soon be common for companies to match their digital designs to their digital inventory and make parts.

Near-net-casting (NCC), a family of techniques that produce parts with a shape and surface quality that closely matches the finished design, supports Industry 4.0 initiatives. The Revolution HB reduces scrap and can be moved to any job for in-process inspection. The HB’s Renishaw open architecture controller and Modus software makes it possible for the CMM to talk to other machines and facilitate the flow of data to ERP and SPC systems. This provides a feedback loop to the machinist that lets him or her know whether or not parts are meeting customers’ specifications. This allows for quick adjustments to ensure part requirements are met.

Reshoring, additive manufacturing and requests for 100 percent inspection make a mobile 5-axis CMM invaluable to a job shop but it also positions fabricators for rapid technology changes.

According to one expert, during the next five years automakers will see more changes than the industry has witnessed in the last century. Greater fuel efficiencies and emission reductions are driving modifications. But it won’t stop there. Sensors in cars are already conditioning drivers to trust them, opening the door for automated operation.

We won’t get there by standing still. As a programmable gauge, the mobile 5-axis CMM equips manufacturers to adapt to rapid changes and gives them the momentum to keep moving forward. Of course it’s never one size fits all. The customer, the part and the industry make each situation unique. And that’s where collaboration—like that which exists between AIMS, Renishaw and Meyer Tool—can make the difference. FFJ

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Mobile, 5-axis coordinate measuring machine technology takes starring role in smart production environments.


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