Gretchen Salois Portrait

From the Editor

Clear connection

he global Industry 4.0 market was estimated at $70 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $210 billion by 2026, according to a Facts and Factors research report.

The ability to point and click in order to inspect parts, reverse engineer out-of-production parts, and collect data for assembly guidance and best fit analysis is increasingly valuable to shops in search of ways to gain an edge within the industry. Software can make current processes run smoother while leaving the possibility to grow and evolve as customer demand changes.

Automating the shop floor continues, with 5G bringing true wireless connectivity to fruition without sacrificing quality and reliability. Robots will be able to unplug and run autonomously, creating a true smart factory with the kind of flexibility not available before now.

A digital thread connects today’s shop floor from production to delivery in one database. Model-based metrology allows manufacturers to adapt to customer expectations for fast results without sacrificing accuracy. One hundred percent inspection is now the norm.

5G technology will create a true smart factory with a flexibility not available before now.
In this month’s cover story, model-based metrology is used to ease design build processes for new projects, such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, as well as reverse engineer parts for vehicles no longer in production.

According to Verisurf Technical Operations Manager Nick Merrell, the key is to not be overwhelmed or intimidated by model-based definition (MBD), but rather to get onboard with the concept at a level that makes sense. More than 20 years ago, Verisurf Software developed MBD as a concept for the PC platform. 3D CAD models should contain everything needed to confirm design, manufacturability as well as verify quality. “MBD is a scalable strategy and model-based metrology is an excellent way to start by supporting the design-build process, validating finished parts, and maintaining and collecting data that can be shared downstream with product life cycle management (PLM) applications,” writes Merrell.

Whether an OEM, tiered supplier or job shop, MBD saves time, improves quality and reduces scrap and rework, all while maintaining the digital thread. MBD opens the door to model-based engineering, digital product definition (DPD), model-based manufacturing, product manufacturing information (PMI), model-based inspection and reporting, and PLM.

It’s not about whether it is worthwhile to consider how software can help a fabrication shop, but rather, which type of software suite will work best.