Make way for a bigger and better testing and measurement (T&M) equipment market.

After topping $23 billion in 2017, the T&M market could reach nearly $30 billion by 2023. Curious what’s driving such growth? Consider these three factors:

Increased modular instrumentation — Once confined to specific sites, testing instruments are now branching out beyond traditional roles and responsibilities. This improved portability can help set the stage for increasingly varied testing.

Enhanced networking and communication technology — Rising consumer expectations have ratcheted up the pressure for manufacturers. As demands and technologies continue to evolve, it’s more important than ever to work out kinks in processes and products before going to market. Newly developed T&M solutions offer an opportunity to do just that.

Increased electronic device adoption — Advanced devices require equally advanced T&M processes. The development and functionality of new innovations will continue to be spurred by superior testing.

Though demand for new and improved services will continue to push the T&M equipment market to new heights, perhaps no other industry promises to deliver greater benefits than automotive production. The advent of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) as well as state-of-the-art designs figure to keep technology providers plenty busy moving forward. Explore how keeping pace with such innovations could help pave the way for exceptional T&M services.

Industry 4.0

Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be. Once defined by data silos, factories are now ushering in automation along with smart devices designed to facilitate data sharing and communication between workers. Otherwise known as Industry 4.0., this new trend is made up of several different components, including the Internet of Things (IoT).

For auto manufacturers, monitoring the health and efficiency of assembly equipment is far from easy. Crucial information — such as the length of time a specific piece of equipment is being used or the most recent repairs made — hasn’t always been available. At least until now.

Widespread access to equipment and worker activity sheds light on the potential impact of the IoT. For example, instead of waiting for a precision dispense valve to falter, auto manufacturers can leverage the equipment’s usage rates to perform predictive maintenance long before an issue arises.

A similar increase in efficiency may be introduced by cloud computing, which can open the door for clear communication between vehicles. All too often, human error leads to crippling traffic jams and potentially fatal accidents. Cloud computing as well as ADAS aim to make vehicles more aware of each other than ever before. This transition from individual pieces to a functioning whole can help cut down on commute times — and better yet — save lives.

As more automakers adopt such technologies, enhanced T&M services are sure to follow. To ensure new automotive features function alongside Industry 4.0 standards, quality assurance providers must create a culture that stresses excellence above all else. Through a management system that encourages employees to avoid cutting corners, providers can begin to build quality into their culture.

Machine Vision

With machine vision (MV), quality doesn’t have to come at the expense of speed. This industrial image processing system not only accelerates production processes through quick detection of objects, but it can also maintain quality standards no matter the scale of production.

Careful inspection of product surfaces using a high-speed algorithm helps pinpoint potential defects in just seconds. Regardless of how high production numbers rise, manufacturers can rest assured their inventory is up to par. And given this boost in production and quality assurance, you can bet MV will become even more prevalent within the automotive industry.

As additional MV equipment is developed, the T&M industry must step up to the plate with services auto designers can trust. From identifying a faulty fuel pump to speeding up assembly line production, the potential impact of MV technology across several different areas of automotive manufacturing is simply too significant to ignore. But without T&M systems capable of perfecting such equipment, automotive innovation could be stopped in its tracks.

By offering manufacturers the peace of mind needed to employ MV, quality assurance providers stand to advance both T&M as well as the industries that rely upon them.

Real-Time Measurements

Intelligent vehicles are taking the automotive industry by storm. From big name brands to mid-size manufacturers, just about every automaker is exploring the potential impact of autonomous vehicles. Although there are few self-driving cars on the road today, it won’t be that way for long. Nearly 95 percent of new vehicles sold — or 96.3 million cars — could be fully autonomous by 2040.

But in order for this burgeoning technology to realize its full potential, real-time measurements need to be introduced. In the same way MV systems contribute toward the production and quality assurance of autonomous vehicles, real-time measurements can help bring along such innovation through reliable safety checks.

Before pushing the boundaries of automotive design, manufacturers must ensure their ideas fall within specific parameters. Established with the safety and functionality of vehicles in mind, regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) are crucial to the success of autonomous technology. With real-time measurements, adhering to these parameters could become a lot easier.

Change is nothing new to the automotive industry — and that’s especially true when talking about the frameworks used to ensure safety. As designs shift based on new technology, so must the T&M strategies that help support them. By constantly pushing for quicker and more accurate measurements, quality assurance providers can help ensure safety remains a top priority — even as innovation begins to heat up.

Pushing T&M forward

In addition to supporting growth through improved T&M systems, quality assurance providers must remain one step ahead of the challenges that accompany innovation. Continued training can go a long way toward leveraging new technologies and competing on a global scale moving forward.

Exciting times are ahead for the automotive industry. From Industry 4.0 and MV equipment to the impending flood of autonomous technology, there’s no shortage of innovation on the horizon.

As demand for bigger and better designs increases, so may the quality of T&M services. Manufacturers all across the industry are looking to push the envelope when it comes automotive design — and T&M systems can deliver. Whether it’s ensuring safety or functionality, T&M services could play a crucial role in the success and scale of new technologies.

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