The role metrology will play in the digital factory – Metrology and Quality News


The question is what role will quality assurance (QA), and in particular metrology, play in the digital factory? What is changing due to digitization and which technologies will be in demand in the future? – Teacher. Dr. Heiko Wenzel-Schinzer, CDO of the WENZEL Group, provides the answer.

Of course, metrology will also play a major role in the digital factory. It’s probably even more important than before. The reduction of batch sizes, the individualization of products and the use of innovative manufacturing processes such as additive manufacturing pose new challenges for metrology, since the control of random samples is often no longer sufficient. Metrology solutions are ideally suited to ensure process stability in addition to product inspection and adherence to tolerance limits.

Metrology – The production partner

Metrology within the framework of QS will impose itself as a partner of production, and not as its controller. This has been a wish for a long time, but certainly not the reality everywhere. If metrology is established directly on the shop floor, existing processes and organizational boundaries will disappear, improving the direct dialogue between production and quality assurance. Metrology provides early and therefore directly implementable information and thus reduces ‘wrong and right’ scrap.

Digitization is THE driver of change, because technical innovations make possible the possibilities described in the first place and, on the other hand, also require a radical overhaul. Digitization increases customer individualization, reduces batch sizes and often makes subsequent testing of individual parts as random samples unnecessary. More flexible production facilities such as flexible booking of open orders to currently free capacities require more flexible metering solutions. Measurement programs should be created in such a way that they can be quickly transferred to other machines and adapted, if necessary, without compromising the comparability of measurement results.

Of course, new technologies such as optical sensors or computed tomography solutions also give new impetus to metrology. While “in the past” it was mainly a question of identifying the sensitive points of a component for further processing, now gigantic amounts of data can first be collected and then processed as desired. The art is soon no longer to find and measure points, but to find the correct and relevant parameters from the enormous amounts of measured data and, above all, to interpret them. And here, too, new possibilities – AI and machine learning – will play a vital role in the future. We see these technologies as a “finding machine” for the measurement technician; if the technology identifies and selects outliers and potential problems, the measurement technician can focus on analysis, interpretation and feedback.

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