Metav 2016 – Measurement Technology Metrology on the Way to Quality 4.0

Author / Editor: Udo Schnell / Lisa Saller, Lisa Saller

Industry 4.0 and Big Data are innovation motors in measurement and test technology, but also receive in return decisive impulses from this field. The Quality Area puts the focus on the interaction of measurement technology and production and points to ways in which firms can train their staff for these tasks.

The close links between measurement technology and production will be shown at the Metav (photo: 360° all-round view in cylinder bores).
The close links between measurement technology and production will be shown at the Metav (photo: 360° all-round view in cylinder bores).
(Photo: Jenoptik Industrielle Messtechnik)

The trend is unmistakable – measurement and test technology is leaving its protected area, exiting the measurement or test room and going straight to production. The aim is to raise productivity and shorten cycle times. The things that must not be lost along this path are accuracy, processing quality and tight production tolerances. How one can follow this path is shown at the Quality Area at the Metav. "Measurement and testing technology is the core of the quality seal ‘Made in Germany’," as Markus Heseding, CEO of the VDMA specialist group Measurement and Test Technology, underlines. The specialist group represents 160 manufacturers and is a partner of the Quality Area at the Metav 2016.

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Innovation motor material technology

Measurement and test technology is receiving further impulses from new materials. For example: turbine blades in titanium aluminide in aircraft construction. The blades are only half the weight and nevertheless extremely resilient. Insights into how this working material could be successfully processed at all in series production were gained by atom probes and high-resolution transmission electron microscopes – high-tech from measurement technology.

Increasing automation and networking in production have also initiated innovations in measurement technology. Using sophisticated measurement and test technology, quality checks are documented from start to finish. The resulting millions of data-bytes are being transferred ever faster and more precisely to higher-level systems. These, in turn, are the basis of modern process automation. Measurement and test technology thus plays a key role in the intelligent factory in Industry 4.0.

Quality management takes off

with Industry 4.0

For Prof. Robert Schmitt, head of the department of Production Measurement Technology and Quality Management at the machine-tool laboratory of the RWTH Aachen, quality management will take off with Industry 4.0: "With the fundamental changes arising with Industry 4.0, more data will be generated and will have to be coordinated: the game becomes faster. If quality management has until now been based on carefully established causal chains, tomorrow it is probable that the correlation of numerous and apparently unconnected factors will lead to faster QA measures. Industry 4.0 will accelerate quality management, whatever happens."

It is therefore clear that measurement and test technology is not only closely linked with Industry 4.0 but also with another topic which is currently much in discussion: Big Data. There is nothing new about data arising from measurement, but intelligent sensorics, real-time-capable signal processing and high-performance data processing enable new ways of dealing with the data flood.

How is the rising data flood to be mastered? For measurement technology manufacturers, this question leads to new tasks and business areas. "With our products, customers collect much individual data during and after processing and can draw conclusions about the status of production from them," explains Rainer Lotz, CEO of the Renishaw GmbH in Pliezhausen. "This enables preventive maintenance in order to avoid, for example, a standstill. Waste, too, can be reduced drastically by detailed control of the process. In addition, users in the automobile or component supply industries store measurement data of, for example, a cylinder head along with other data on the working material, production process, production conditions and much else. All information connected with this cylinder head is therefore available in one database," he continues. "The field of measurement software and its integration into the customer’s production systems is becoming increasingly important," Lotz emphasises.

Whoever determines the data structure also determines the business model

What this means for the quality data in tomorrow's factory is explained by Schmitt: "Manufacturers of measurement devices must consider who is to be the future master over the data structures, for he will in future determine the business model." Due to the fundamental changes with digitalisation, fuelled particularly by consumer electronics, all users of smart phones are accustomed to comfortable access to even complex data. Their wish, according to Schmitt, is to have similar operating comfort in the workshop. Information at one click and no specific devices with complicated controls, as Schmitt sees it. "I therefore dare to doubt that the classical operating concepts, and thus also the systems for computer-supported quality assurance (CAQ), will still exist in ten years," Schmitt comments, and adds that measurement device manufacturers who cannot integrate their products into the IT world of their customers will get into difficulties. His message: "Understand your customer’s business and the value of his data!"

What, then, could be more logical, in view of this intensive meshing, than that to present quality assurance on the same platform as production technology for metal processing?", asks Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, CEO of VDW (German Machine Tool Builders' Association) somewhat rhetorically. The makers of measurement and test technology hold the same view. In response to their express wishes, the Metav is offering, with the Quality Area, a platform in North Rhine Westphalia and for neighbouring markets. With the Quality Area, the synergies between manufacture and quality testing are set in motion perfectly," says Michael Lücke, responsible for fairs and events at the Carl Zeiss AG in Oberkochen. "The Metav offers customers the opportunity to gather comprehensive information on one single platform as to which solution in measurement technology best suits their products, their machines and processes." The Quality Area is an established part of the fair and shows the entire spectrum of measurement and test technology and also of QM and evaluation systems. The nomenclature in the Quality Area extends to around 200 terms. A lecture Forum presents examples of Best Practice from industry.

New tasks, new challenges do however need new qualifications, new skills. This topic, too, is given a place in the Quality Area. The German Association for Quality (DGQ), Frankfurt am Main, is not only a partner of the Metav, but is presenting, as an exhibitor, samples of its own training and advanced training opportunities. Claudia Welker, CEO of the DGQ Weiterbildung GmbH: "In Germany, nine out of ten firms enable employees to attend further training and thus strengthen the firms’ skilled worker base. The challenges which both the economy and manufacturing firms have to face demand well trained and motivated staff." The training of specialist staff in updating courses on the one hand, and holistic, process-oriented thinking on the other, are making strong demands on firms.

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Industry 4.0 needs Quality Assurance 4.0

Dr. Benedikt Sommerhoff, head of DGQ Regional and managing specialist supervisor of research and masters projects in behalf of the DGQ, names the key point in the rising relevance of quality assurance for tomorrow's production: "For Industry 4.0, what is needed is Quality Assurance 4.0!" The smart factory of the future will be marked by complete networking. From that he deduces the following tendencies: "The significance of quality topics and tests will increase, and the level of automation in quality assurance is rising. Inline measurement technology for small batch sizes in series production, for example, is one of the upcoming challenges." The manufacturers, too, have recognised the potential of training. Against this background, the Metav of course also plays an important role as a platform. Faro Europe, Vicivision and E. Zoller are only some examples of firms which will use the fair to present their advisory and training services. MM

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