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Industry shifts from standard rooms to shop floor solutions in metrology

Industry shifts from standard rooms to shop floor solutions in metrology

January 31, 2024 7:55 pm

Sanjay Sangam, Head of Sales & Marketing – India of Renishaw Metrology Systems Limited, shares how they strive to excel in precision measurement for CNC machine tools year after year. Their innovative solutions, like the Equator gauge, embrace automation and digitisation, ensuring efficiency and quality.

What solutions does Renishaw provide for industrial metrology and precision measurement in CNC machine tool manufacturing?

Renishaw continues to provide innovative solutions for industrial metrology and precision measurement tailored to those utilising CNC machine tools in component manufacturing. The tools effectively enhance productivity and facilitate efficient part and tool setup, maximising machine output.

Renishaw offers the Equator, a gauge designed for shop floor usage. This device enables real-time part measurements, eliminating the need for a standard measurement room. Moreover, it can provide feedback to CNC machines, transforming them into closed-loop systems. This integration ensures faster, more accurate, and easily accessible measurements, ultimately streamlining the manufacturing process.

Renishaw also features a comprehensive range of motion control feedback systems. Often overlooked, these encoder products play a crucial role in motion feedback systems, contributing to the overall efficiency of various applications. We also focus on laser calibration and ball-bar solutions, essential for CNC machine building. These tools are indispensable for large-scale manufacturers, allowing them to qualify and validate their machines before delivering them to clients. Together, these offerings form a comprehensive calibration solution, addressing the critical needs of precision in industrial settings.

How is the precision measurement industry transforming toward automation and digitisation?

A seismic shift is underway for precision measurement. The evolving landscape of skills in the industry drives it. Traditionally, highly skilled experts have been the backbone of this field, utilising their expertise to operate intricate equipment. However, the dynamics are changing rapidly, and the demand for such specialised skills diminishes. The future is leaning towards automation as businesses seek to reduce dependency on a manual workforce. The focus is on providing customers with cutting-edge systems and tools that can seamlessly replace the need for highly skilled personnel in the measurement process.

This shift is not just about automation; it’s also about embracing digitisation. The contemporary mindset is geared towards acquiring vast amounts of data, precisely where advanced sensors come into play. These sensors are adept at autonomously performing tasks, eliminating the necessity for skilled labour. The result is a wealth of data that empowers decision-making on the shop floor. The transition is clear – skills are gradually being supplanted by sophisticated systems, sensors, and technology, ushering in a new era of efficiency and data-driven insights.

How do these machines enhance product performance? 

Efficient production in CNC machines demands constant operation, but often, machines need to be more active due to uncertainties about their condition. The initial phase poses challenges in assessing machine conditions, and tools like the ball bar test provide crucial insights into accuracy and performance patterns.

Interventions are required throughout the three machining phases—before, during, and after—leading to idle machine time. However, sensor-based solutions demonstrated here aim to streamline processes, reduce labour dependency, and enhance productivity by swiftly setting up tools and parts.

Before machining, operators traditionally invest significant time setting up parts and tools. The showcased sensors eliminate this need, saving time and boosting machine capabilities, thus improving overall productivity. Sensor technology plays a vital role in monitoring activities, ensuring the production of quality parts. The ability to detect tool breakage during the process adds another layer of quality control.

Post-machining, the Equator system steps in, facilitating the measurement of produced parts to verify if they meet specified requirements. This comprehensive ecosystem of machining support from Renishaw aims to empower every customer in maximising productivity, optimising assets, and excelling in their business operations.

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What advancements have taken place in metrology solutions in recent times?

A notable shift is occurring in metrology as industry professionals increasingly seek solutions directly applicable to the shop floor rather than relying solely on traditional standard rooms. Conventionally, metrology equipment has been associated with enclosed, air-conditioned spaces characterised by stringent environmental conditions. However, there’s a growing demand for tools that can be utilised on the shop floor for measuring parts, marking a significant evolution in measurement practices.

The Equator gauge is a prime example of this progression. While mechanical gauges have historically been used for specific dimensions, the Equator gauge offers versatility, allowing for measuring multiple dimensions across various components. This innovation provides customers with increased flexibility and ease of operation, signalling a departure from the reliance on standard rooms.

Simultaneously, advancements are also taking place in standard rooms, particularly for Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM). The focus here is on multi-sensor technology, enabling CMMs to go beyond tactile measurements. This means capabilities like measuring surface finish and thickness and incorporating ultrasonic probes for non-contact measurements—all integrated into a single machine. Referred to as multi-sensor technology, this marks a great leap forward in the capabilities of CMMs.

What role are robots playing in streamlining processes, especially in handling tasks requiring efficiency and precision across various industries?

Robotics served specific purposes before, particularly in harsh operations like welding, to minimise risks and accidents. However, the scope of robotics has significantly expanded with the emergence of cobots in critical medical procedures. The applications of robotics are on the rise, and robots are taking over repetitive and critical tasks, such as material movement in large warehouses. This reliance on robotics is for streamlining processes in areas where automation can significantly enhance efficiency. Robotics is expected to play a pivotal role in handling extensive workloads and intricate operations.

How does Renishaw demonstrate its commitment to customer satisfaction?

Renishaw is renowned for its substantial investment in research and development, consistently allocating around 13 to 15% of its annual budget to drive innovation. With a dedicated team working tirelessly, we tend to patent protect to safeguard our products. The commitment to R&D spans various sectors, including additive manufacturing, sensors, shop floor measurement devices, and standard flow measurement devices.

Our approach involves regular upgrades and enhancements to existing technologies, ensuring customers can access the latest advancements. Recognising the prolonged lifespan of Renishaw products, typically lasting 10 to 15 years, we facilitate customer upgrades by offering buyback options. This process allows users to exchange their older systems for newer ones, aligning with contemporary technological trends.

How does Renishaw plan to expand its presence in India?

Over the past one to two years, we have been actively expanding our presence in India, a market we have engaged with for the past two decades. This expansion involves moving beyond smaller offices to establish more substantial infrastructure. Notably, a new 12,000-square-foot office was inaugurated in Bangalore last year, equipped with a technology centre. We also have state of the art technology centre in Pune and similar developments in Chennai, Vadodara, and Gurgaon are underway, focusing on creating technological centres in key locations.

The emphasis is on addressing training, benchmarking, and technical support requirements. Each technological centre is designed to offer customers hands-on experience in utilising our technology, providing training sessions, facilitating repairs, and ensuring swift service delivery. The company aims to enhance infrastructure and bolster the workforce, ensuring increased technical and application personnel. This strategy aims to keep Renishaw closely connected to its customers, offering timely and effective support whenever needed.

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