If you’ve been running a production line for a long time, you probably understand how dangerous inertia can be. When an assembly line is first being designed, so much thought goes into planning out the most efficient systems for producing high-quality products in as cost effective a way possible; but as time passes, it requires real intention to make sure that the best new technology is being incorporated.
This is especially true in the case of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). While they provide the backbone of many quality control procedures, because they are often seen to fulfill a fairly straightforward function — measuring recently produced parts to ensure they match design specifications — many production line designers are not aware of just how many new developments there have been in recent years.
People who do not actively follow developments in metrology may not realize that great strides in creating more integrated and responsive production lines have been made due to new advancements in the world of CMMs. If you want to make sure your production line is working as efficiently as possible, you should check out the latest CMM machine and software information to learn how improvements in metrology can put your production line ahead of the competition.
For example, one of the biggest advancements in 2017 was the release of PolyWorks Inspector, a new software that expands CMM capabilities and makes it easier than ever before for CMMs to network automatically with other machines in the production line. A point cloud inspection software, PolyWorks uses digital datasets for prototype parts to quickly identify errors, and can conduct random sample tests and provide approval of assembled products through an automated process. But its high level analysis also allows it to fix problems at earlier stages in the production line, which makes it an important software to use if you want to create a more integrated production line.
Perhaps most importantly, PolyWorks Inspector makes it possible for CMMs to monitor wear and tear upstream in the manufacturing process by tracking degradation of tools, thus allowing CMMs to alert of potential problems before they can introduce serious errors into parts or products.
All evidence suggests that we are in the middle of another major technological shift. As with previous industrial upheavals, there will be big winners and big losers, and the winners will be those who are able to comprehend the creative potential of new technologies and new ways of producing the goods people need. If automation is the future of manufacturing, the companies that are able to automate fastest will be best placed to reap the benefits.
In a business as competitive, labour intensive, and reliant on technology as manufacturing, the advantage will always go to the company that is constantly evolving to keep up with the most groundbreaking innovations. With production lines becoming ever more integrated, and CMMs playing a major role in the automation of quality control and maintenance, ensuring that your CMMs are running software that maximizes their capacities is vitally important.