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Digital Thread Critical to Leveraging Metrology

By David Olson Director of Marketing, Verisurf Inc.

Manufacturing Engineering: What are some of the biggest metrology challenges facing manufacturers today?

David Olson: One is developing and maintaining an efficient metrology strategy across the manufacturing enterprise, including hardware and software compatibility. Quality managers are asking themselves; how do we manage all our different devices and the software that runs them? How can we best train, cross-train, and utilize our human resources, both in the quality lab and beyond? As automated inspection and measurement technologies advance, these are valid questions. With adoption of 3D scanning, STEP AP242 model-based inspection, robotic automation and new technology at a feverish pitch, managers are now faced with a new challenge—making it all work together, regardless of hardware type, brand or age, and preferably with a common software to reduce license, maintenance, and training costs.

Drawings and dumb CAD files without semantic GD&T are still major breakdowns in digitizing CAI (Computer Aided Inspection).

ME: How critical is fast, precise measurement in the age of Industry 4.0?

Olson: Speed and accuracy of measurement capture, processing and reporting will always be in the forefront, but the biggest requirement facing Industry 4.0 is integration of data and maintaining the all-important digital thread. The metrology integration gap is closing, but there are still many companies and users out there in the digital divide, trying to connect the dots. CAD/CAM/CAE has been a collective term and reality for years. The critical missing link that maintains digital continuity is CAI.

Once you have added the connection of CAI to your digital workflow, you are now at the doorstep of true Model-Based Definition, which starts with the intelligent 3D CAD model and extends to reverse engineering (recreating a part or adding missing features), automated inspection and reporting, assembly guidance, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and more.

As you can see, the concept of the digital thread is big, and it can be overwhelming for some OEMs and supply chains to get their arms around. But it all starts with a commitment to the intelligent CAD model and maintaining digital continuity. Model-based measurement for reverse engineering and automated inspection is a great place for many shops to start. It will get them compliant with emerging OEM requirements addressing digital continuity and bridge the gap to true CAD/CAM/CAE/CAI integration. This concept is at the very foundation of Verisurf software.

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Verisurf software bridges the cyber/physical worlds in real-time, while maintaining digital continuity. During inspection, the software displays any deviation from nominal both graphically and in text form for immediate recognition.

ME: Your company updated its Verisurf 2019 software at the last Control Show. What’s new in this core metrology offering?

Olson: Verisurf 2019 includes many improved productivity features designed to further speed up automated inspection and reverse engineering processes, which is always our goal. From a global usability standpoint, Verisurf software is now available in German, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Spanish language versions. This is big because of global supply chain management and the QA requirements that typically support it.

A few of the highlights the software include:

Feature Data Extraction

This new function quickly and easily constructs measured features by extracting data from point clouds created using laser scanners or touch-probe devices. The software can identify and extract the appropriate measured points based on selected CAD features, or from previously measured features scanned or probed using Teach Mode, which is ideal when a CAD model is not available.

Details Pane and Feature Balloons

These two new features make it possible to view real-time deviations of a measured feature compared to nominal. The CAD model can be used as the nominal, or if no CAD model is available, nominal specifications can be manually entered using the Details Pane.

Power Mesh

This is the most exciting new reverse engineering feature of Verisurf 2019. Power Mesh is a “one-click” tool to create, clean up, refine, smooth and close new or existing mesh models from multiple overlapping point clouds, generated from measured scan data. This is huge time saver for 3D scan to 3D print workflows for additive manufacturing.

High-End CMM Support

With this new release we are very busy upgrading many brands and models of CMMs with Verisurf Universal CMM. This new release supports the popular Hexagon Leitz B3, B4 and B5 controllers and Zeiss Duramax C98, C99 controllers.

ME: The software also has introduced support for Renishaw’s PH20 probe. What does this offer users?

Olson: Using Verisurf software to run a typical CNC CMM outfitted with the Renishaw PH20 probe head can increase the speed and throughput of that CMM by 3X and improve accuracy in the process.

Verisurf CMM programming software and the PH20 five-axis probe-head are used to maximize inspection throughput on new or existing CMMs with Renishaw controls. With Verisurf software controlling the PH20 probe-head, overall movement of the CMM bridge is minimized, eliminating linear error, while the dexterity of the five-axis probe head quickly measures features with improved alignment, avoiding shanking the probe during measurement.

In addition to the enhanced measurement data collection, Verisurf software CAD model-based productivity features speed up the quality inspection and reporting process. Object-oriented CMM programming tools create automatic inspection and quality reporting routines, and during inspection, an Auto Inspect panel and feature balloons present real-time deviations of measured features compared to the CAD nominal.

ME: How can manufacturers leverage shop-floor metrology using your new Master3DGage portable 3D inspection and reverse engineering solution?

Olson: Metrology is no longer bound to the quality lab; it is pervasive throughout the manufacturing enterprise. The Master3DGage is an affordable and portable rapid 3D inspection and reverse engineering solution that enables machine shops to increase efficiency, improve part quality, and reduce scrap. The complete hardware/software solution delivers automated in-process inspection right to the shop floor, providing first-article inspection and reporting in minutes. Because Verisurf software supports all hardware and virtually all CAD software file formats, inspection and measurement routines can be shared between hardware measurement devices, including the Master3DGage, CNC CMMs, trackers, and scanners.

ME: Tell us about the company’s NIMS Inspection solution added last year.

Olson: Education is a key Verisurf pillar. Teaching tomorrow’s inspectors and design and manufacturing engineers is vital to the continued development of digital workflow and CAI. The Verisurf NIMS Precision Part Inspection (PPI) Solution is a turnkey quality inspection and reporting solution in support of the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification testing process. The measurement, inspection and reporting solution lets instructors check students’ test parts right in the classroom, lab or shop in minutes, and includes all software, hardware and programming needed to be up and running quickly.

The solution improves the ability of NIMS Certified instructors to inspect and report on NIMS Level 1 (L1) Mill and Lathe testing parts, greatly reducing the time required to verify machined test parts submitted by students as part of their NIMS Certification process, from weeks or even months to minutes.

Prior to the Verisurf NIMS PPI Solution, schools offering NIMS Certification training were required to send out all their students’ machined test parts to be inspected and evaluated by a NIMS-sanctioned Met-Tec review committee. The individual Met-Tec reviewers are working professionals and volunteer their time so, depending on workloads, the process often takes one month or more, holding up the students’ final NIMS Certification.

ME: How does manufacturing and the metrology market look heading into 2020?

Olson: The economy is always a tough call. It looks like the current [economy] has found some support and [the PMI] has ticked back up towards 50 recently. If this is the case, then we can chalk it up to a normal cycle and get ready for a positive 2020. Either way, companies continue to invest in metrology. In an up-market, measurement and inspection solutions help to push more parts through the shop faster, and with better quality metrics. In a down market, the latest automated measurement technology, like Verisurf, presents a common platform. This eliminates redundant software and associated licenses, maintenance, and training. The quality team can now work as an efficient unit without the need for tribal knowledge dedicated to run legacy equipment with outdated software and controllers.

Siemens Adds Material Modeling to Simcenter

Siemens AG, Munich, Germany, announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire MultiMechanics Inc., an Omaha, Neb.-based developer of the MultiMech finite element software that helps companies virtually predict failure in advanced materials. Siemens plans to integrate MultiMechanics into software from Siemens Digital Industries Software, Plano, Texas, which will add the ability for customers to create a digital twin of materials by closely integrating materials engineering with part design, performance engineering, and manufacturing through the True Multiscale technology for a broad range of material-driven applications.

The MultiMechanics technology helps companies to efficiently predict material properties and behavior, including failure starting at the microstructural level, at high speed and accuracy. This technology will be incorporated into Simcenter software within Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio, implementing materials engineering into the digital workflow and establishing a pervasive link between material developers, manufacturing process developers and part designers.

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Siemens’ acquisition of MultiMechanics integrates advanced modeling of failure and damage of 3D printed lattice structures and other materials.

No financial terms of the MultiMechanics acquisition, which was expected to close in November 2019, were disclosed.

“The addition of this technology enables our customers to build a digital twin of materials, which will help to shrink the innovation cycle of new products and materials, possibly saving millions of dollars and several years in development and certification in aerospace, automotive and other sectors,” said Jan Leuridan, senior vice president, Simulation & Test Solutions, Siemens Digital Industries Software. “Customers will have the ability to fully exploit the potential of advanced materials to optimize weight and performance in an efficient way that is not possible with classical, test-based, approaches.”

Dassault Debuts Solidworks 2020 Update

Software developer Dassault Systèmes, based in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France, introduced its latest Solidworks 2020 3D design and engineering software. The new Solidworks 2020 features enhancements, new capabilities and workflows that enable more than six million users to accelerate and improve product development, from conceptual design to manufactured products.

Among the release’s enhancements in Solidworks 2020 are a new Detailing mode and graphics acceleration for drawings; a Make Part Flexible capability that allows users to display the same part in different conditions in the same assembly; and improvements to Solidworks PDM, the Solidworks Electrical connector and a new Solidworks PCB connector allow for complete electronics design and data management.

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The new Solidworks 2020 software from Dassault Systèmes offers a host of new features designed to accelerate product development from conceptual design to manufactured products.

Solutions like 3D Sculptor, which includes the xShape (sub division modeling) application, 3D Creator featuring the xDesign (parametric modeling) application, 3D Component Designer (data management), Project Planner, and Structural Professional Engineer (advanced simulation), enable users to reduce friction in their design to manufacturing process.

Siemens Expands Additive Portfolio with Atlas 3D Purchase

Siemens announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Atlas 3D Inc., a Plymouth, Indiana-based developer of software that works with direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printers to automatically provide design engineers with the optimal print orientation and requisite support structures for additive parts in near real-time. No financial details were disclosed on the acquisition.

Atlas 3D will join Siemens Digital Industries Software, based in Plano, Texas, where its solutions will expand additive manufacturing capabilities in the Xcelerator portfolio of software. The Atlas Sunata software uses thermal distortion analysis to provide a simple, automated way to optimize part build orientation and generate support structures. This approach allows the designer—rather than the analyst—to perform these simulations, thereby reducing the downstream analysis that needs to be conducted via Simcenter software to achieve a part that meets design requirements. Siemens plans to make the Atlas 3D solution available through its online Additive Manufacturing Network.

“We welcome Atlas 3D to the Siemens community as the newest member of our additive manufacturing team. Our solutions industrialize additive manufacturing for large enterprises, 3D printing service bureaus, design firms and CAD designers,” said Zvi Feuer, senior vice president, Manufacturing Engineering Software, Siemens Digital Industries Software. “The cloud-based Sunata software makes it easy for designers to determine the optimal way to 3D print parts for high quality and repeatability. The combination of Sunata with the robust CAE additive manufacturing tools in Simcenter enables a ‘right first time’ approach for industrial 3D printing.”

New EdgeCAM Software Released

Hexagon, based in Stockholm, announced the release of latest EdgeCAM software which features toolpath associativity for the face mill cycle, the option to extend the solution’s parallel lace toolpath, and enhanced additive undercutting.

The new EdgeCAM 2020.1 features about 30 updates, and an optional CAD for CAM Designer module has now replaced Part Modeler. From model design to part repair and modification, EdgeCAM Designer is said to be the ultimate solution for taking geometry through to manufacture.

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Enhancements to Hexagon’s EdgeCAM 2020.1 include the additive lace cycle’s undercut function by allowing the user to set a maximum overhang angle.

More than 50 enhancements have been made to Designer, including the ability to attach finishing and tolerance information to models and faces with the new ‘surface attributes’ command. EdgeCAM reads this information and applies it to the features, so it can be used in strategy decisions, or to set speed and feed rates.

EdgeCAM 2020.1 enhances the additive lace cycle’s ‘undercut’ function by allowing the user to set a maximum overhang angle. “This is necessary because different materials and processes require different negative material build-up, depending on the target shape, according to Product Manager John Buehler. “If the undercut angle is too big, it can be compensated for by using the maximum overhang angle, effectively over-ruling the angle on the part.”

The new release significantly enhances the existing EdgeCAM chamfering cycle with five new pieces of functionality, which are similar to those already found in the profiling cycle. The update also features face mill cycle lead and stock enhancements. “Toolpath associativity is a vital factor when programming production components, as CAD modifications can take considerable time,” Buehler says. “EdgeCAM 2020.1 removes such delays by making the face mill cycle sensitive to the stock model. When either the stock or component solid model are altered, the toolpath automatically adjusts both the X-Y and the Z height of the toolpath.”

Accenture and SAP Co-Develop New Cloud-Based Solution

Accenture, based in New York, and SAP SE, based in Walldorf, Germany, have announced a partnership under which the companies are co-developing the new SAP Cloud for Utilities solution to help companies more effectively manage business processes and customer experiences. This initiative aims to elevate energy transition and customer experiences, helping companies quickly adapt and thrive in times of change.

SAP Cloud for Utilities will be an end-to-end integrated solution born of Project Elevate, which SAP and Accenture announced in May 2019. The solution is designed to be deployed in a cloud or hybrid environment to help utility companies automate sales processes, freeing up more resources to create meaningful customer experiences that can result in loyalty and revenue. SAP Cloud for Utilities can incorporate intelligent technologies and real-time business insights, building extensive capabilities around marketing, service, commerce, product bundling, self-service, fulfillment of complex services and subscription billing for commodity and non-commodity products.

The solution will be built on the SAP C/4HANA suite, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA and will use deep product knowledge and industry and customer management capabilities from Accenture Technology and Accenture Interactive. Developers and industry specialists from Accenture and SAP are working together to help create unified, authentic and personalized customer touchpoints, aiming to provide industry insights, agile methodologies and integration capabilities that accelerate the advanced features of SAP C/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA across marketing, sales, commerce, service, billing and revenue management and customer data. Accenture and SAP also plan to integrate data with Experience Management solutions from SAP and existing operational data to help enable utility companies manage end-to-end core processes, networks and employees more efficiently.

Dozuki Collaborates with 3M on Digital Transformation

Dozuki, a San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based software developer, announced it has collaborated with 3M, based in Maplewood, Minn., through an investment by 3M Ventures, to bring its standard work and work instruction training software to manufacturers of all sizes to help them achieve digital transformation goals. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This collaboration with 3M Ventures is a vote of confidence in our process standardization and training platform,” said Eric Doster, CEO and co-founder of Dozuki. “The ability to leverage the organizational and manufacturing expertise of an industry leader like 3M is a major milestone for our team. We are already building world-class software to help manufacturers tackle challenges such as sharing knowledge across teams, speeding up job training and engaging a younger workforce. This collaboration allows us to ramp up our product development and market outreach efforts.”

Standardized processes and guides in Dozuki enable teams to execute work properly the first time, and provide feedback for future improvements quickly. By creating a collection of standard operating procedures (SOPs), training materials, and digital forms, Dozuki enables factory operations to perform work consistently to the company quality standards; improve training with on-demand resources including videos and guided process walkthroughs; communicate in real-time across teams, shifts, and factories.

Software Update is edited by Contributing Editor Patrick Waurzyniak; contact him at pwaurzyniak@gmail.com.

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