Integrating Metrology Information With QIF – A Necessity For The Implementation of Industry 4.0

QIF- Quality Information Framework. An Integrated Model for Manufacturing Quality Information

To compete in the global manufacturing economy companies require advanced quality control operations to manage and maintain internal and external quality and inspection processes.  A companies quality operations consist of complex cyber-physical systems that are required to constantly gather and use digital manufacturing data which must be intelligently organized in order to be effectively utilized.

The Quality Information Framework (QIF) is a recent American National Standard that defines, organizes, and associates quality information including: measurement plans, results, part geometry and PMI, measurement templates, resources, and statistical analysis.

QIF has been created and is managed by the Dimensional Metrology Standards Consortium (DMSC); the very same organization that is the creator and manager of the DMIS standard (ANSI/ISO standard) which has been so influential in providing interoperability to users of Coordinate Measuring Machines. The DMSC is represented by some of the most innovative, progressive, and advanced organizations in the world on the cutting edge of research and technology in the field of dimensional metrology.

Today a typical quality department comprises inspection technologies from numerous vendors all outputting part inspection information in a proprietary format. QIF has been developed to allow equipment and software tools to output to a defined standard providing full interoperability of data throughout the manufacturing process.

Founding Principle of QIF

“All information models for transporting quality data should be derived from common model libraries so that common information modeling components can be reused throughout the entire quality measurement process and, as a consequence, the entire process will be inherently interoperable.”

QIF is an integrated and holistic set of information models which enable the effective exchange of metrology data throughout the entire manufacturing quality measurement process – from design to planning to execution to analysis. QIF is a set of XML data models, which if implemented in vendor software allow quality software and hardware to exchange data freely and effectively.

Past quality standards and specifications Past standard efforts in manufacturing quality systems have had a variety of shortcomings, which QIF overcomes.

QIF is different, in that it consist of individual application area standards supported by common data types and generic structures to promote reuse and inheritance throughout the QIF, thus ensuring compatibility between the standards. QIF was the first standardization effort seeking to model the entire quality measurement process (planning through analysis) for all types of quality measurements (dimensional, non-dimensional, and attribute), and is also also consistent with upstream standards such as ISO STEP design models (ISO 1994) and AS9102 first article inspection (SAE 2004).

One of the unique features of the QIF data model is that the semantic connections between features and characteristics, and also between nominals and actuals are guaranteed by implementing strong type identifiers. The QIF data model also models measurement features and characteristics with four main elements: instance, definition, nominal, and actual. This method ensures that QIF library and Quality Management Results (QMResults) schema can be used for both a reverse engineering process where actual measurement data is stored without the presence of nominal information because it is unknown, and a conventional measurement process where actual measurement data is stored and nominal data is known and present.

QIF Offers Enterprise Value

PLM/PDM Owners: QIF can be used to bring quality information into the “digital thread” for a manufacturing operation and associate quality information directly to the master model.

Metrologists: QIF transmit the information on how to measure, as well as transmit the results from the measurement

Metrology Software Developers: QIF is an unambiguous, wholistic, fully digital standard for outputting metrology information. This will help software implementers, whether your organization is large or small; producing and/or consuming quality data. Because QIF is XML based it can be easily integrated with Web applications.

Now through QIF all discrete manufacturing industries have a standard platform that ensures quality while minimizing costs and making processes more transparent.

Watch the QIF Interoperability Demonstration Video from the IMTS Exhibition.

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