Digital manufacturing and model based definition have become accepted as integral to measurement. As manufacturers strive to reduce costs and speed up design to product, digital technologies are being implemented across entire supply chains. For example, in the realm of inspection, model based definitions supply all of the dimensional and tolerance information.
There are no drawings. The CAD model contains all of the specifications, including the GD&T callouts. Typically, dimensional specifications may be either annotations within the model file or digital specifications linked to a feature. With the latter approach, inspections are completed by referencing the CAD model and picking the appropriate points on the object. This eliminates all manual documentation and data entry and expedites the inspection process.
The issue is how to get this technology further down the supply chain into the smaller manufacturers. The big companies can look after themselves when it comes to implementation. But clearly, to be successful, the entire supply chain, such as aerospace, has to go down that route. And it can be a costly exercise in terms of skills requirement, IT investment and technology risk.
When it comes to measurement, we are seeing increasingly significant developments in software , systems and sensors which bring the technology down to the SME’s at affordable rates with low technology risk, particularly when it comes to portable systems.
Brendan Coyne - Editor