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Metrologic Group’s constant focus is on standardization and making it possible for the quality chain to work as a whole, from quality labs to inline production, and be fully integrated in the manufacturing workflow. During this year’s Control Show, in Stuttgart, the company will demonstrate its software packages’ ability to operate any kind of 3D measurements; to make the most out of them; and, above all, to simultaneously supervise operations taking place on different measurement equipment pieces.

By nature, metrology is central to the manufacturing industry, and to the smart factory in particular:

  • because it links model and manufactured part;
  • because a universal software connects a whole chain of measurement equipment, whatever the brands or technologies, making them inter-operable;
  • because with a universal software the inspection data is consistent and instantly shared with engineering for necessary part adaptation, in an adaptive manufacturing process; etc.

This list could go on for a while.

Metrologic Group designs and develops its 3D measurement solutions in this smart factory perspective and has been for over 35 years now. “Our software solutions are universal –meaning they are efficient for all kind of applications, with any measuring tool– and capable of seamlessly integrating and communicating in network organizations. It is a prerequisite for 4.0 factory metrology, and it makes our software suite the best take-off runway towards it”, says Bertrand Gili, President of Metrologic Group.

That is the main point Metrologic Group will illustrate at Control Show, Stuttgart, this year (April, 24-27, hall 3, booth 3314). Central to the demonstration, no less than four different 3D measurement pieces of equipment will simultaneously inspect a body-in-white:

  • The new to the market Coordinate Measuring Robot (CMR) –jointly developed by Metrologic Group, Stäubli Robotics and Kreon Technologies, powered by Metrolog X4 i-Robot– for robotized CMM measuring quality with no tracking system;

> Read more on the Coordinate Measuring Robot

  • Kuka’s KMR iiwa with Faro Cobalt scanner for autonomous collaborative inspection, a solution fully driven by Metrolog X4 i-Robot;

> Read more on the autonomous and collaborative inspection solution

  •  A Kuka robot equipped with a Creaform MetraScan and C-Track tracking camera, also controlled by Metrolog X4 i-Robot;
  •  A Nikon Laser Radar MV operated by Metrolog X4.

To complete this smart factory 3D measurement snapshot, visitors of the Metrologic Group booth will also be able to:

  • Experience immersive mixed reality inspection with Microsoft HoloLens and X4 i-Holo software;

> Read more on X4 i-Holo

  • Experience 3D measurement simulation with Silma X4, Metrologic Group’s offline analysis and virtual programming software, offering advanced GD&T, virtual gaging, reporting and simulation;

> Read more on simulation with Silma X4

  • See a comprehensive CMM solution (Erowa’s QI CMM with a SP25 and a Kreon Zephir II line scanner) showing the Metrolog X4 software package’s ability to drive the automatic switch from tactile to contactless probe;

  • Test three articulated arms from three different brands (Faro Quantum S, Romer Absolute and Kreon Ace), equipped with optical scanners for high density point cloud inspection and operated by the same software, Metrolog X4;

  • Discover Metrologic Group’s application for 3D measurement supervision, X4 i-Supervision.

> Read more on the X4 i-Supervision

These demonstrations will highlight the ability of the Metrologic Group software suite (Metrolog X4 for driving 3D measurements and analyzing results; its robot-dedicated version, Metrolog X4 i-Robot; and their virtual programming versions, Silma X4 and Silma X4 i-Robot) to virtually program and get the most out of all kinds of 3D measurement devices and technologies, including most challenging point clouds.

Above all, the Group will show how its software platform simplifies day-to-day 3D inspections, connects services concerned by metrology through data, and offers robotized, flexible, autonomous inspection solutions. In short, how Metrologic Group can be any manufacturing industrial’s best partner to take off for smart 3D measurement and 4.0 factory.

Focus: Robotic Inspection Made Easy

Many industrial roads –if not all– lead to the smart factory. One of the many treaded by Metrologic Group is bringing CMM quality measurements onto or just beside de production line. That means designing powerful, tolerant and flexible software packages able to work in harsh environment; that are compatible with many equipment enabling fast measurement technologies; and generate data that can easily be integrated in the workflow.

The CMR solution with the Kreon Zephyr II touch+optical sensor, and no stickers, no tracking device.

At Control Show, the company will introduce the first-of-its-kind Coordinate Measurement Robot (CMR) solution, offering CMM accuracy to robotic inspection beside the production line, with no associated tracking devices. This “off-the-shelf” solution, jointly developed with robotics manufacturer Stäubli and 3D measuring devices manufacturer, Kreon Technologies, combines:

  • a Stäubli highly efficient mechanical robot (6-axis TX60, TX90 or TX200 series robots);

  • a Zephyr II tactile and optical sensor from Kreon;

  • and state-of-the-art robot-dedicated 3D measurement software suite, Metrolog X4 i-Robot and Silma X4 i-Robot.

That’s all.

> Achieved accuracy in a 1 cubic meter volume: +/-100 microns in touch trigger mode; 
+/- 150 microns in optical laser scanning mode.

In this solution, Metrolog X4 i-Robot improves the accuracy of the robot and the integration of the laser and touch sensor; it also fully controls the robot and makes the most out of the inspection results. Silma X4 i-Robot is used for virtual programming based on inspection features: it makes it easy for any metrologist to program CMR movements and measurements as simply as with any classical CMM.

Focus: Simulation, the Smart Factory’s Corner Stone

First step on the 4.0 factory path, 3D inspection should be simulated and virtual. Why is that?

  • Because when metrologists program offline inspections on complete simulated twins of their actual environment and equipment, this one is free to measure. So, better throughput.

  • Because when programs have been simulated and virtually tested, they are error and collision-free. So, better efficiency.

  • Because, an offline simulation program like Silma X4 or Silma X4 i-Robot can work directly with native or neutral CAD files; and because it imports and automatically interprets GD&T. So, faster programming and results interpretation.

Unparalleled Virtual Programming Software

Silma X4 is a complete offline programming solution. The integration of all the real-world components into the virtual world gives the user an endless range of tools to create, simulate and validate offline part programs. Silma X4 consumes digital data from engineering. Thus, inspection programs may be created and validated even before the first part appears on the manufacturing line. Once the inspection system is working, Silma X4 retrieves measurement data and updates its virtual model. This loop between reality and simulation guarantees that simulation sticks precisely to the real world, thus allowing to create a virtual twin of the real inspection process.

Focus on Metrolog and Silma X4 i-Robot: Taming Robot Sophistication

Modern 3D metrology (universal software packages, measuring robots, virtual programming, quick point cloud computing) makes it possible for industrials to measure directly on, or just beside the production line. With modern metrology, measurements are fast, results are analyzed in real time. This allows for important economies of scale.

Precise robot cells, capable of measuring on the production line, instantly show exact 3D defects of the parts, eliminating the need for time-consuming back and forth trips to the 3D metrology lab. 

As different part models now travel on the same production line –as it is the case in the automotive industry–, 3D measurements should be able to adapt and inspect them indifferently. Those inline or beside-the-line robot cells, programmed and controlled by universal and easy-to-use software packages such as Metrolog X4 i-Robot and Silma X4 i-Robot, are quickly adaptable and able to change their trajectories according to different parts and features.

Human-Machine Cooperation

Cobots are another essential asset of the 4.0 factory, as the most common vision now is not that of a factory where machines take over humans, but where machines work collaboratively with them, safely sharing working spaces. Here too, modern metrology and better software packages are helpful. They offer the possibility to manually and intuitively program measurement robots and allow cohabitation and safety.

An example of such a collaborative interaction is the mobile and autonomous inspection robot KMR iiwa from Kuka, an independent, flexible, programmable, and collaborative tool powered by Metrolog X4 i-Robot for 3D measurement. An operator can simply “teach” the robot its measurement positions by manually taking control of the iiwa. Metrolog X4 i-Robot singly controls measurements as well as robot movements and positioning. The software is able to provide inspection orders and monitor live measurement results. This unique combination between a mobile cobot and a universal metrology software works with a live link to the plant monitoring system. All these assets allow to include the KMR iiwa directly into manufacturing activities. With such a tool, integrating measurement operations in the workflow becomes very simple, without the need of dedicating one measuring device to one kind of operation, in a fixed place.


Focus on X4 i-Holo: Mixing Real and Virtual 3D Inspection, Live

Imagine a completely new vision of 3D metrology. Now just try it. With X4 i-Holo, Metrologic Group offers the first 3D measurement mixed reality solution of the market. Based on the Microsoft HoloLens platform, X4 i-Holo provides an easy-to-use and simple collaborative tool.

Using the HoloLens interactive interface supporting gaze tracking, voice activation and self-repositioning, X4 i-Holo snaps the computed measurement results to the real part, color-maps deviations and gives instructions to the operator using live hologram representations directly over the real part, in front of the operator’s eyes. No need for a fixed installation or a complex tracking-based system.

How does it work?

Metrolog X4 sends the data to the HoloLens in real-time, which allows for immediate and on location detection of major defects and quick response planning for a collaborative manufacturing or engineering review of the real part.

X4 i-Holo may be used from start to end of the measurement process:

  • During planning and preparation to assess reachability: using virtual probing and machine motion around the real part, X4 i-Holo may merge the inspection plan with the real part and tools to validate reachability.

  • During manual measurements, offering probing assistance: the operator is guided and receives visual instructions that X4 i-Holo projects live onto the part, in front of his eyes.

  • For reporting: X4 i-Holo displays analysis results in real-time over the measured part, with gaze-tracking stickers, color mapping and other readily available standard Metrolog X4 tools.

Focus on X4 i-Supervision: Reveal 3D Measurement KPIs

Monitoring the productivity of an expensive 3D measurement equipment is a delicate task. Imagine monitoring several of them, from afar. This is what X4 i-Supervision offers: the simultaneous supervision of 3D measurements taking place on different kinds of measuring machines (such as CCMs, arms, robots, etc.).

Live Monitoring

Regardless of the connected measuring devices, software packages from Metrologic Group’s X4 product line have a native, direct and live connection to X4 i-Supervision. The web-based application displays measurement data in user-friendly, visual graphs and charts. Operators and supervisors may access the information from their desktop or from any mobile device. They may check on inspection progress, get reporting information on specific KPIs, and analyze production data.

Basic Machine Control

The application can be set up to send specific warnings (email, smartphone alert, or a light signal on the shop floor) when defined criteria are reached, such as measurement deviation or reduced productivity. The system allows for quick response action, even when the operator is away from the measuring machine.

On the other hand, X4 i-Supervision can control basic measuring machine functions. The operator or supervisor may use the web interface to stop one or several machines, send them a “return to safety position” command and, after checking security, restart the execution of selected measurement programs.

Control, international trade fair for quality assurance

Stuttgart, Germany, 24-27 April 2018

Metrologic Group: hall 3 - booth 3314

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