Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0, digitization, automation and 3D printing—the manufacturing process has changed dramatically over the last decade. Now, looking ahead to a new year and the start of a new decade, one of the biggest changes for companies is data. Automation and precision measurement will help companies make better products faster but those elements rely in part on a database infrastructure.

Data is paving a pathway to predictive decision-making and the adoption of flexible metrology systems that can be automated will play a big role in that.

Reshoring is another factor. The need to get products to market faster, improve response time to customers and reduce the cost of transportation and warehousing are prompting more companies to bring manufacturing back to the US. According to the Reshoring Initiative the rate of reshoring combined with foreign direct investment (FDI) job announcements in 2018, was up 2300 percent from 2010, “representing a major macro-economic impact.” The organization stated that “policy makers can use these continued successes as proof that it is feasible to bring millions of job back.”

With manufacturing operations migrating back stateside, a trend to push quality control downstream is growing; again putting the spotlight on metrology.

Customers are demanding a 100 percent acceptance rate on parts along with real time data-driven reports. The ability to measure complex features in a smart factory environment is creating greater interest in CMM equipment like the HB and in programmers and operators who know how to use them.

The HB is a critical component in digital factory spaces because it can monitor process flow in real time while the PH20 quickly obtains high density points for feature size, location and form for accurate and actionable data. This gives a manager or machinist the intel to act at any point during parts production.

To help companies reclaim lost production time, we have also equipped our LM CMM with a Renishaw 5-axis REVO 2 head and the new SFP2 probe. Because the SFP2 is interchangeable with other probe options, it gives manufacturers the flexibility to inspect a diverse range of features on one CMM. The SFP2 automates surface finish measurement for reduced part handling and higher throughput.

At AIMS we are constantly looking for ways to help customers handle inspection tasks and, in turn, be more efficient and profitable in terms of manufacturing quality. We’ll be making some major announcements in February and March regarding the introduction of a new HB and a new LM. Our vision is to see 5-axis scanning with REVO technology adopted as the standard on the shop floor, an option that would free fabricators from needing a controlled environment or laboratory to measure and inspect parts.

Our commitment to manufacturers doesn’t end with the development of new equipment but includes ongoing support through refurbished machines and retrofits. We’ll be attending IMTS 2020 in September and participating in our distributors’ open houses.

We’re also committed to partnering with colleges and universities to expose students to metrology and its role in the evolving supply chain. In late 2019 we supplied our 5-axis HB to Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. We also shipped an HB to the Technological University of Chihuahua (UTCH) and we’ll be delivering 16 more this year.

We believe we can help companies get ahead of the competition and plug into the technology that continues to reshape the industry. It’s more than just a business to us. It’s a team effort.