The future for in-process gaging is bright. Like all technology, the cost of components are predicted to drop and the implementation process is said to become easier. These predictions will lead to a greater use of in-process gaging throughout all industries. However, when predicting the full picture of in-process gaging’s future, one must acknowledge the tie in-process gaging has to the adoption of intelligent manufacturing technology.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
With use of the Internet of Things, in-process gaging information will likely be collected from almost every operation. New software and hardware will allow all the collected information, including uptime, feed rate, spindle RPM, etc., to be uploaded into a central location through data strings and then modeled into a virtual factory.
The virtual factory would then be monitored by software using artificial intelligence. This software then would be able to test various adjustment methods to determine the most adequate corrections. Once determined, the corrections will be pushed back down into the machine tools automatically. Results would then be collected and compared back to virtual models. It is predicted that robust virtual models will eventually exist and be able to make adjustments quickly and accurately to multi-operation processes. They are also predicted to produce less defects and consist of a faster changeover, while also reducing scrap and the need for rework.
STEPS BEING TAKEN TODAY
Many pieces of this predicted system are already starting to take place today. More machine tools are beginning to supply process data to intranet and monitoring software, which in turn is improving machine usage and uptime. Metrology equipment and software is also starting to adapt to the new infrastructure, which aids in a collecting data more simply and quickly. Technical colleges are even starting to teach their students who hope to be future machinists and engineers about the advanced technology to come and the potential gains that are associated with it.