In an effort to become more competitive, increase profitability and improve quality, and meet or exceed a customer’s schedule, companies are turning to automated processes that increase production throughput and profitability, while improving quality and work consistency.
Automatic gaging systems often are thought of as dedicated solutions suitable for only long-run, high-volume applications. While that may have been true in the past, today’s technology makes it possible to add a great deal of flexibility to these systems, making them a good choice for many lower volume and family-of-parts applications.
Competitive pressures compounded by increased customer expectations with respect to quality, service and price, has prompted many businesses to seek creative solutions. These manufacturers are experiencing pressure to provide the lowest total cost product with rapid order fulfillment in a highly competitive market. Many companies are launching Lean Value Stream Management (LVSM) initiatives to drive operational excellence and improve profitability.
Many organizations use the concept of entitlement to guide them when setting project goals. Entitlement may be preventing those organizations from achieving breakthrough results, in turn missing potential savings from improvement projects.
Vision dimensional metrology should not be confused with machine vision. While both are based on image analysis, vision dimensional metrology systems generally are off-line or near-line systems, collecting dimensional data points in 2-D or 3-D, analogous to those collected by coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
These days the requirements for coordinate measuring machine (CMM) metrology devices have expanded well beyond touch-probe inspection using automated CMMs. In addition to an array of devices, there also are numerous applications such as reverse engineering, hard-probing, noncontact scanning, laser tracking and digital tool building, using both portable and stationary types of devices.
Intelligent sensors with integrated digital signal processing have become prevalent in an increasing number of applications. As the considerable gain in interference immunity, repeatability, durability and reliability of the gages does not involve any price increase, it is merely a matter of time before digital also will dominate in the field of coating thickness measurement.
Critical dimensions in semiconductor manufacturing are in the deep sub-micron and nanometer range. Over time, specialized measurement systems suitable for these dimensions have been developed with the necessary accuracy and resolution for process control.