As markets begin to stabilize and production levels are slowly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, companies from around the world have yet another challenge to navigate – namely the ongoing labor shortage. In fact, some studies are showing that there will be an estimated shortfall of 85 million workers around the globe by 2030. While there are many reasons for the shortage being offered by ‘experts’ there is little doubt that. throughout the pandemic, many employees faced additional pressures at work including, sudden layoffs, lockdowns, and extraordinary personal challenges, such as children homeschooling and caring for aging parents. These stresses appear to have motivated a shift in workers’ expectations and at the forefront of these is the desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Today’s workers are looking for greater flexibility through remote work options, flexible schedules, additional paid leave, and greater autonomy to set their own schedules. This all leaves the manufacturing sector, with its constant production heartbeat, as potentially a less attractive employment option.
Since the ‘show must go on’ for manufacturing companies, it’s no surprise that automation of production operations has gathered significant momentum during 2022. This was all too evident at the recent IMTS expo in Chicago and the AMB expo in Stuttgart. In addition to replacing humans, automated manufacturing cells typically perform manufacturing processes with less variability, resulting in greater control and consistency of product quality while streamlining equipment and processes, reducing scrap, and using less space. The recently published North American robot statistics reported record robot installations for a third-straight quarter. China also reported a 44 percent increase in its robot population in 2021, with the country’s aging population’s demographics causing a shortage of labor, driving the government-backed initiative for the growth of robotic automation.
Being back at physical exhibitions was summed up best by the IMTS organizers in their post-show press release: “Handshakes, hugs, high-fives, and hearty backslaps as people greeted each other after four years apart, the connectedness of the manufacturing community was the literal showstopper at recent International Manufacturing Technology Show”. For me it was great meeting again so many ex-colleagues, friends and industry associates. With automation evident everywhere you looked one has to question whether some of the manually operated production metrology equipment, with sophisticated software’s for capturing data, will start to find difficulties in finding operators over the coming period, as skill shortages bite further, and manufacturing continues to be ‘out of favor’ with graduates and experienced employees alike.
The Metrology News take away from IMTS was the Three S’s – Sensors, Software and Systems – all focussed on delivering automated and integrated metrology directly into manufacturing processes.
This month we published a number of articles covering Digital Manufacturing including ‘’3D Metrology Performance Critical To Digital Manufacturing’; ‘Future of Manufacturing Powered By Data and Analytics’; ‘Multisensor CMM Drives Fast Production Line Quality Control’, ‘Machine Vision Solution Accelerating Smart Manufacturing’, and ‘Smart Machining With Metrology Feedback’. We also reported numerous new product introductions along with several strategic acquisitions including Nikon entering into the Additive Manufacturing market.
The magazine below highlights a selection of our September published stories; the complete library of September articles can be accessed by clicking here.
As usual I welcome your comments, news and views along with guest articles – my inbox is always open.
Keith Mills – Publishing Editor
Metrology News recently sat down with Laurent Monge, the new President at Metrologic, for a discussion on its future vision for 3D metrology software and how it fits into Sandvik’s strategy for the digitization of manufacturing. Q: What strategic role, as an enabling software, do you envisage for Metrolog software as the manufacturing world focuses on its transition to Industry 4.0 and adaptive manufacturing? … read more
The Mitutoyo TAGLENS operates at ultra-high-speed and doesn’t focus at just a single focal length, but at a wide range of focal lengths allowing everything, even subjects at different distances, to remain in crystal clear focus. TAGLENS has the unique ability to change focus in 70 kHz enabling productivity and cost improvement … read more
Manufacturing industry is on the verge of a data‑driven revolution. Companies are collaborating in hyperconnected value networks, using data‑and‑analytics applications to drive productivity, develop new customer experiences and improve the societal and environmental impact of companies. This technological advance has come at a time of uncertainty. Climate change, supply chain disruption and conflict … read more
When Lumafield, a developer of accessible X-ray CT technology, emerged from stealth in April 2022, it offered the world’s first accessible industrial X-ray CT platform. Lumafield’s Neptune industrial CT scanner is an order of magnitude less expensive than legacy systems, and it brought this powerful technology to engineering teams … read more
Nikon Corporation has announced the signing of an investment agreement with SLM Solutions Group AG, a global leader in metal additive manufacturing solutions headquartered in Lübeck, Germany. In conjunction, Nikon AM. AG, a direct subsidiary of Nikon, announced its decision to launch a voluntary public takeover offer … read more
Nikon Corporation (Nikon) has announced an investment in Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Global, Inc. HMT, an award-winning industry leader in additive manufacturing, successfully created an approach that enables users to integrate additive tools onto any platform. The technology allows users to take full advantage of the manufacturing process by unifying multiple technologies … read more
Since the first Lotus car was built in 1948, the company has been a beacon in the automotive industry for the design and manufacture of high performance cars born out of legendary success on the racetrack. The latest sports car, the Emira, is by far the most accurate model ever built by Lotus thanks to an upgrade in quality control … read more
Optical Gaging Products (OGP), a manufacturer of optical and precision multisensor metrology systems for industrial quality control, has announced the addition of the new FlexPoint 12-Series to its family of large format multisensor coordinate measuring machines. Made for large, heavy parts with complex dimensions … read more
FARO Technologies, Inc has announced the acquisition of UK-based GeoSLAM, a leading provider of mobile scanning solutions with proprietary high-productivity simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) software to create 3D models for use in Digital Twin applications. Founded in 2012, the addition of GeoSLAM is expected to significantly expand and accelerate FARO’s market growth … read more
AAT3D returned to IMTS to showcase its latest on-machine measurement and metrology solutions for the ‘Smart Manufacturing’ era. Demonstrations included CappsNC in action on a DMG MORI DMU50 machine performing multi-axis, in-machine, non-contact scanning using a NIKON laser scanning sensor … read more
Creaform, worldwide leader in portable 3D measurement solutions has announced the release of peel 3 and peel 3.CAD, all-new 3D scanners that offer the best 3D scanning value. These professional-grade scanners will provide amazingly high performance, great versatility, and unmatched affordability to anyone who needs it … read more
Shining 3D has launched EINSTAR, an affordable handheld 3D scanner, making high-quality 3D data available to everyone. The standard EINSTAR package is equipped with Exstar software, and a lightweight carrying case. EINSTAR is quipped with three Infrared VCSEL Projectors, two Stereo Depth Cameras and one RGB Camera … read more
Photoneo, a leading provider of machine vision and smart automation, has introduced a new version of its flagship 3D camera MotionCam-3D. The new MotionCam-3D Color brings a game-changing combination of highly accurate 3D data, the ability to scan in motion, and now adding color. This technology opens new possibilities … read more
GelSight, a pioneer in tactile intelligence technology, has announced the release of its new AI-powered 3D tactile sensor, GelSight Mini. For the first time, GelSight Mini offers superhuman touch resolution to the commercial market, with a compact form factor comfortable for human hands and robust enough for use by robots … read more
Opened in January 2003 and located in Irvine, California, Hyundai Design North America’s design and technical center is a 90,000 square foot, $30 million state-of-the-art facility where automobile designers, engineers, model makers and other experts create new vehicles. The team offers alternative designs … read more
Waygate Technologies, a Baker Hughes business and leader in nondestructive testing (NDT) solutions for industrial inspection, has introduced Krautkrämer SpotVision, a new phased array ultrasonic solution for spot weld inspection. SpotVision was developed specifically for the spot weld inspection in the auto industry … read more
At the recent IMTS expo Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence presented its new patented HxGN Machine Trainer. Taking the initiative from the training of professionals in other critical occupations, such as pilots, Hexagon has created a ‘hands-on’ professional training solution for 3/5 axis machines, Mill-Turn and CMM … read more
Olympus Corporation (Olympus) and EVIDENT Co., Ltd. (Evident), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Olympus, recently announced that Olympus has concluded a definitive agreement with Bain Capital Private Equity, LP (Bain Capital), regarding the transfer of Evident. All shares of Evident will be transferred to Bain Capital on … read more
BMW i Ventures has announced their lead investment in a $10M Series A round for Alitheon, an Optical AI technology company. The company’s FeaturePrint technology quickly and easily digitizes physical objects for irrefutable identification, authentication, and tracing, and eliminates misidentification and misuse of items … read more
Blum-Novotest has introduced FormControl X measurement software for reliable process automation of CNC machining operations. “The foundation of intelligent automation solutions is process data that is evaluated live or very quickly and serves as a control variable for process optimisation … read more
Manufacturing will never be the same again: the industry has taken a quantum leap forward in the past 12 months with smart factories becoming a core component of Industry 4.0. Designed to meet the needs of today’s market, these high-tech factories of the future are more computerised, connected and digitised … read more
Organisations of all sizes and types aren’t simply facing a higher velocity of change in their business, market and industry. Today, they must keep pace with rapidly accelerating change. This became especially true during the COVID-19 health crisis. Organisations that had already begun their digital transformation journey … read more
For the third-straight quarter, robot sales in North America hit a record high, driven by a resurgence in sales to automotive companies and an ongoing need to manage increasing demand to automate logistics for e-commerce. According to the Association for Advancing Automation, of the 12,305 robots sold in Q2 2022 … read more
The industrial robotics market in China achieved strong growth with a new record of 243,300 installations in 2021 – a rise of 44% compared to the previous year. These preliminary data have been published by the International Federation of Robotics. “China was leading the global recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic … read more