How Smart Machining is Improving Metrology

Manufacturing units are under the constant stress of producing a large volume of parts without weighing down the cost component. Even while doing so, other factors such as durability, dimensional accuracy, and other quality control measures are indispensable in dictating the usability of the part. 

In this aspect, inspection and metrology play a crucial role in conforming to the standards. However, these are at par with curative action and will highlight the problem only after the tabletop CNC has performed its role. In other words, the material has been used and if the part fails to meet the standards, it is as good as waste.

So, what if some preventive method could trigger proactive action to the extent that such errors are not introduced in the system at all? Well, smart machining could prove to be a defining piece of the puzzle in this final picture. 

First Things First, What is Smart Machining?

Smart machining is a fully integrated and highly collaborative manufacturing system that can respond in real-time to adapt to the changing conditions of the workshop, output requirements, supply network demands, or customer needs. It leverages technologies like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Automation, Cloud Manufacturing, Advanced Robotics, etc., to uphold productivity, scalability, and competitiveness.

Metrology and Smart Machining: A Match Made in Heaven

Metrology is the science of measurement and its applications. The discipline is divided into three broad categories: scientific or fundamental metrology, legal metrology, and applied technical or industrial metrology.

Now, any manufacturing company may employ metrology for three primary reasons:

 – To prevent the release of bad or poorly fitting parts to customers.

 – To ensure quality control in producing good parts.

 – To develop Statis processes to maintain and improve the production of good parts.

This alone illustrates the interdependence of metrology and smart machining at a superficial level. But dive deeper into the subject, and one can see how the two form a symbiotic relationship.

For instance, the concept of smart machining, from a metrological point of view, can be broken down into:

 – Real-time performance measurement.

 – In-process evaluation framework.

 – Advanced manufacturing technologies.

 – Reliable data collection systems.

 – Assessment of uncertainties.

 – Machine health management and prognostics.

 – System analysis and integration.

Conversely, from a smart machining perspective, metrology can be decomposed as:

 – Intelligent data analysis.

 – Selection and measurement of key metrics.

 – Interrelationship of measurements.

 – Health management of machines and parts.

 – Intelligent assessment of uncertainties.

Through this lens, the links between smart machining and metrology become clearer. On that note, let us look at the different ways in which smart machining is improving metrology.

How is Smart Machining Improving Metrology?

Since smart machining and metrology are necessary for a positive feedback loop that recycles and amplifies efficiencies, augmenting the two would be an excellent strategy for achieving greater accuracy across all your manufacturing processes. Here are some ways to achieve it:

A cyber-physical production system (CPPS) involves the cooperation of computation entities, such as tabletop CNC mills, with the ongoing processes and surrounding physical conditions. Such a system is fueled by data, where actions are based on data-driven decisions to control all stages of production.

Cyber-Physical Production Systems; Source

Since smart machining and metrology are necessary for a positive feedback loop that recycles and amplifies efficiencies, augmenting the two would be an excellent strategy for achieving greater accuracy across all your manufacturing processes. Here are some ways to achieve it:

A cyber-physical production system (CPPS) involves the cooperation of computation entities, such as tabletop CNC mills, with the ongoing processes and surrounding physical conditions. Such a system is fueled by data, where actions are based on data-driven decisions to control all stages of production.

CPPS operates on the tenets of intelligence, responsiveness, and connectedness to develop a collaborative environment where the data acquisition takes place from the physical world while the information feedback is entered from cyberspace.

It is a form of cloud manufacturing that monitors the machine condition throughout the process and performs prognosis based on cloud-based inputs. Resultantly, the control environment boosts autonomy, flexibility, reliability, functionality, scalability, and adaptability through hands-on performance measurement.

Intelligent Prognosis Management

Intelligent Prognosis Management (IPM) monitors the machine, part, or tool conditions to estimate its lifetime. Such a prognosis can help standardize a preventive maintenance schedule that can inject reliability into the production process. This mechanism increases system safety, improves maintenance effectiveness, cuts down maintenance costs, and extends machine lifetime. At the same time, it avoids any downtime and its cost implications as well.

Intelligent Prognosis Management: Source

The prognosis can be classified into three categories – data-driven, physics-based, and model-based. As the name indicates, data-driven systems use data to perform a prognosis. It is one of the commonest forms of IPM. Physics-based systems rely on empirical formulae to describe a system, while model-based systems are a combination of data and empirical formulae.

Concluding Thoughts

Tabletop milling machines are about to witness a whole new world of smart technologies that will make metrology a piece of cake. And by simplifying the quality control and assurance limb of manufacturing, warehouses are making it more of an empowering responsibility than a cumbersome liability. Most importantly, it unlocks the scope for introducing feedback into the manufacturing process, which further eliminates the possibility of future errors seeping into the system. So go ahead, achieve operational excellence through the marriage of smart machining and metrology!

Author: Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.

For more information: www.cncmaster.com

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