Robots Position Automated Metrology Systems For Growth
The recent 2023 CONTROL exhibition in Stuttgart, drew approximately 21,210 visitors, marking a 20% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic event in 2019. The exhibition comprised four halls where 589 exhibitors showcased their presentations. This exhibitor count reflected a 32% decline from 2019 when seven halls were filled with exhibits. Despite the decrease in numbers, attendees were presented with a wide range of cutting-edge metrology technology and software solutions with the event once again delivering significant value for attendees.
Representatives from the exhibitor’s steering committee have expressed their interest in transitioning the event to a biennial schedule, aligning it with other significant industry events such as EMO and IMTS. Additionally, next year’s CONTROL event, has been rescheduled to April, creating a direct conflict with the important Hannover Fair.
The prominent role of metrology in automated production systems was a key focus at many booths. The increased presence of robots at the exhibition demonstrated their integration into automated metrology systems, specifically in manipulating optical digitization sensors and facilitating part-loading automation, together with the integration of automated systems directly into manufacturing operations.
Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) machines remained at the forefront on many booths, showcasing their ability to effectively manage multiple sensors and enable comprehensive full part inspection at a single measuring station. Increased measuring speed, enhanced measuring accuracy and CMM integration were the themes portrayed by many of the exhibits.
While manual measuring solutions were still present, their continued use in production roles is anticipated to decline due to manufacturing industry’s inclination towards automation as it moves to ‘smarter manufacturing’ and due to the continuing global shortage of skilled employees. However, manual systems will likely persist in low-volume production, prototyping, and reverse engineering applications, albeit with increased software automation for data generation and analysis.
Many companies showcased automated Electric Vehicle Battery, Stator and Hair Pin measurement solutions as the industry turns it attention to solving the unique measurement requirements of the transitioning automotive industry. Computed Tomography technology appears uniquely positioned to capture the critical hidden defects of EV batteries.
Despite the current widespread attention given to artificial intelligence (AI) in the general media, its prominence at this year’s event was somewhat lower than expected, although machine vision and analysis software companies demonstrated AI based solutions for automated defect inspection.
The exhibits presented by various Chinese metrology equipment companies at this year’s CONTROL event provided an indication of the substantial expansion of the Chinese metrology equipment industry within their domestic market, along with a clear emphasis on export markets.
This year’s event did not feature many new product unveilings, with most new product announcements made prior to the exhibition. There were no notable company acquisitions announcements although several commercial partnerships were announced as companies seek to expand market reach with others who seek to complement existing product ranges.
CONTROL remains a unique event in the industry calendar, solely dedicated to the field of quality assurance. The opportunity to meet and interact with numerous Metrology News readers is always a pleasure and the positive feedback on Metrology News truly appreciated. Despite leaving the show with sore feet attendees departed with a sense of excitement for the industry’s future with its focussed drive to automation.
We will be featuring many of the products that caught our attention at the show on Metrology News over the coming weeks.