Control Expo Review – Metrology 4.0 Taking Control of NextGen Manufacturing With Smart Sensors & Actionable Data

The takeaways from this year’s Control Exhibition in Stuttgart were Automated Metrology, IoT, Smart Sensors and the changing role of metrology as global manufacturing industry reinvents itself and delivers products using smart manufacturing processes – Industry 4.0.

Metrology 4.0 is a critical component in the successful delivery of Industry 4.0. We have all been reading what the predicted upcoming manufacturing revolution means but judging by the many products exhibited that are Smart, Connected and with ‘Plug & Play’ integration and connectivity many aspects of integrating the next industrial revolution are rapidly becoming deliverable.

The Control exhibition expanded to 6 halls this year covering 565,000 square feet, all of which were crammed with exhibitors (939 exhibitors from 31 Countries). This unique exhibition is unparalleled globally and should somehow become a road-show since every global quality and manufacturing professional should have the opportunity of walking the show-floor, physically absorbing the showcased technology, solutions, trends, and engaging first hand with the supply base.  Congratulations to the show organizers and exhibitors in delivering an outstanding experience and clearly demonstrating the growth opportunity of the metrology sector over coming years.

The focus at this year’s Control was all product with no significant company acquisitions or mergers announced during the show. New products, upcoming products and development initiatives were displayed aplenty; sector product dynamics are surely at a all-time high and you could sense an atmospheric buzz while walking the floor.

Robots, including a large number of Cobots (Collaborative Robots), were everywhere performing part loading while many were supplying sensor motion directly. Various solutions to reduce robot inaccuracy from the captured metrology data were exhibited. Will we see the first Metrology Robots and Cobots specifically designed for metrology emerging at next year’s show? The current Robot offerings being used are economical, with well proven robustness, but never designed for the metrology application. If Robots become more repeatable and accurate the cost of these systems will reduce as external tracking and expensive robot calibration techniques are eliminated.

At a break-out session, away from the exhibition floor, structured light scanning company GOM showcased their automotive virtual assembly ‘mock-up’ capability integrated into their upcoming v2018 revision of software. Measured data from inspected parts are virtually assembled into a common coordinate system allowing real time analysis and process control before parts are physically assembled on the production line. Actionable Data in advance of physical assembly is one of the underlying goals of Metrology 4.0 and appears to be not so far away.

Metrology.News will surely be busy moving forward keeping readers current with all that’s new and emerging; judging from the numerous positive comments received at the show Metrology.News is being well received, widely read and performing a critical communication role for the metrology sector.