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Software for In-Process, Shop-Floor Inspection

By David Olson Director of Marketing, Verisurf Inc.

Manufacturing Engineering: What key capabilities are manufacturing metrology users looking for today?

Dave Olson: Manufacturing companies and machine shops have been rapidly adopting digital measurement solutions over the past 10 years. As users and their customers become more knowledgeable, they also become more discerning about what they want and, in many cases, require from their metrology solutions. For example, they want the ability to connect their CAD models with reliable, non-proprietary communication between dimensional metrology software and CMM hardware, or require that their metrology software has the endorsement of NIST testing and PTB certification.

It is important for manufacturers to realize that metrology software is what drives the measurement process, so approaching metrology from a software perspective is a key first step. Verisurf Software is compatible with all popular CAD software and runs virtually all portable CMMs, programmable CMMs and scanners, making it easy to select the right measurement hardware for a desired application—scanning, touch probing, laser tracking, portable, fixed, etc. Because of our commitment to 3D CAD and model-based definition (MBD), Verisurf users can be securely rooted to whichever CAD authority they rely on across their manufacturing enterprise.

Though the majority of digital metrology is still being used to verify quality, we are seeing a significant uptick in reverse engineering, and assembly guidance applications as well.

ME: How prevalent is shop-floor measurement and inspection in the factory today?

Olson: We see multiple drivers for in-process, shop-floor inspection, including on-machine inspection where a particular setup must be preserved; parts with multiple operations and setups that require incremental inspection to identify issues before adding additional value; inspection of very large and heavy parts that are difficult to move, making it much easier to bring inspection to the parts on the shop floor rather than lift and move them to the CMM; and high-production shops where it is wasteful to route hundreds of parts to an inspection area and then back to the shop floor.

Machinist performs first article in-process inspection with the bundled package of Verisurf software and the Mastercam Master 3DGage. (Provided by Verisurf)

Using in process, shop-floor inspection in these situations and others provides enhanced productivity and relief for bottlenecks in the quality lab. It is now commonplace to have inspection and measurement occurring wherever and whenever it makes sense. However, this added flexibility comes with its own challenges, especially when it comes to resource management and working with legacy systems.

Verisurf approaches measurement and inspection from a manufacturing enterprise point of view. Our goal is to provide each customer an open measurement software platform that supports all CAD software and measurement hardware regardless of type or age. This approach reduces software license and maintenance fees, streamlines user education, and allows for better human resource utilization. The net result maintains flexibility, keeps parts moving, and improves productivity.

ME: What developments can users expect from the new Verisurf 2021 release?

Olson: Verisurf 2021 has many new and enhanced features that increase measurement and inspection productivity, from CMM plan creation through execution, particularly for Renishaw PH20 five-axis touch-trigger, and REVO five-axis scanning probes. Users can also look forward to additional CMM controller support, enhancements for GD&T feature control frames and ballooning, and an updated Software Development Kit (SDK) for custom user interfaces, integration of robotics, and automating processes across the manufacturing enterprise. A complete list of enhancements and supporting videos can be found at

ME: How easy is it for machinists to learn and effectively deploy Verisurf software in their shops?

Olson: Machinists, CNC programmers and CMM programmers learn Verisurf quickly because the software operates in the familiar Windows environment using the modern ribbon bar, tool tips, backstage, dialog panels, and right-click options designed to operate to Microsoft User Experience Guidelines. Verisurf users can choose between instructor-led training courses and comprehensive online learning. We are also recognized as having one of the best technical support programs in the industry.

New and existing users also take advantage of application-specific user workspaces that customize the user interface to prescribed applications and measurement devices. A user can quickly perform a first article shop-floor inspection using a portable arm, then move directly to a programmable CMM for production inspection, using the same inspection routine without the need for reprogramming.

ME: Your software has often been bundled with key metrology hardware like the Master3DGage. How popular are these bundles with shops, and what are the advantages?

Olson: Verisurf is unique in that we work closely with our metrology hardware OEM partners to identify specific metrology applications and then develop the software, accessories, training, and support for the complete system. These bundles are hugely popular because everything works together and is tested, installed, and supported as a complete solution. In a few cases, like the Master3DGage, the complete solution does so well globally that we decided to [create a] private label and offer the complete solutions through our own sales channels. Regardless of how Verisurf is purchased, as part of a bundle or stand-alone, the software works with all popular CAD file formats and will drive virtually all new and legacy measurement hardware devices, including three- and five-axis CMMs, portable arms, laser trackers, scanners, laser projectors, and photogrammetry systems.

Programmable CMM using Verisurf software for five-axis contact scanning on a contoured component. (Provided by Verisurf)

ME: What other partnerships are bringing Verisurf’s software technology to other platforms, such as the recent deal with SMARTTECH3D in Poland?

Olson: Verisurf is committed to supporting open standards that deliver the most flexible metrology solutions possible. We partner not only with metrology hardware companies like SMARTTECH 3D, Hexagon and Renishaw, but also with software companies like High QA that complement Verisurf CMM programming, inspection, and reporting with first article drawing ballooning, AS9102 forms and SPC production quality management software. Our customers benefit from highly integrated software supported by industry experts that work seamlessly together while reducing dependency on a sole source, proprietary supplier.

Altair Releases Latest Sim Solutions

Altair Engineering Inc., a Troy, Mich., developer of simulation, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, announced the release of its latest Simulation 2021.1 solutions update, including comprehensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and expanded capabilities in electronic system design (ESD).

Among Altair’s updates, the company now includes all major CFD solutions under a single license, with expanded end-to-end electronic system design capability and seamless access to the cloud. “Throughout our 35-year history, Altair has developed and acquired countless specialized technologies to solve even the most challenging CFD problems,” said James R. Scapa, Altair founder and CEO.

Altair CFD is a cost-effective alternative to purchasing individual tools from multiple software vendors by delivering all major CFD solutions under a single license including general-purpose fluid dynamics and thermal simulation leveraging the Navier-Stokes (NS) method; simulation of oiling, sloshing and mixing with smoothed-particle hydrodynamics (SPH); external aerodynamics simulation using the Lattice Boltzmann method (LBM); simulation of particle fluid systems with the discrete element modeling (DEM) method; and modeling of complex, integrated thermo-fluid systems leveraging Altair’s unique system modeling technology.

Altair’s end-to-end electronic system design toolset spans from PCB development and validation to electro-mechanical simulation and antenna placement, such as on this drone battery and motor system. (Provided by Altair)

Altair’s electronic system design toolset has a new thermal management workflow to enhance the design of electronic devices. In addition to the existing Altair SimLab workflows for structural stress, vibration, and drop-test performance, product engineers can now ensure the cooling of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and complete systems to prevent overheating, product reliability issues, or expensive late-stage redesigns.

Smart connected devices increasingly need high-speed memory. Altair PollEx has added signal integrity automation for double-data-rate (DDR) memory interfaces, which enhance optimization of DDRx timing, transmission lines, topology, and terminations. Other improvements include additional power integrity simulation and the capability to export PCB layers for thermal management analysis.

On-Premises Software Demand Rising

Bucking the trend toward cloud-based software applications, on-premises software continues to show significant growth and demand from enterprise software customers.

According to a new report from Dimensional Research, Sunnyvale, Calif., sponsored by Replicated Inc., a developer of on-premises software, current customer demand for on-premises software is equal to that of public cloud, and more than 90 percent of companies surveyed said their on-premises sales continue to rise. In addition, across the more than 400 software vendor engineers, CTOs, CIOs, and other decision-makers surveyed, more than 70 percent who don’t currently offer an on-premises option are already planning to in the near future.

“In the past few years we’ve experienced a steady increase in interest from leading global companies who see that modern on-prem software delivery through containers and Kubernetes can make data protection and security much easier,” said Grant Miller, co-founder and CEO of Replicated. “Coupled with growing customer demand, it’s a win-win scenario for any industry.”
Replicated is a Culver City, Calif.-based company that provides software vendors a container-based platform for deploying cloud-native applications inside customers’ environments to provide greater security and control. While the majority of companies surveyed in the study cited privacy compliance as the top reason for using on-premises software delivery, others noted that the ability to integrate with established solutions, reliability, and customization options topped their list of why they added the option to their lineup.

According to the survey, companies not offering on-premises solutions said that complexity, time commitments, and the cost of engineering resources prevent them from doing so. While many companies were created to be fluent in cloud, building and maintaining new on-premises software deployments can be challenging and slow in comparison. While most said they already use container-based applications and Kubernetes in their production environments, 85 percent of companies reported their customers still need help with the container-based installs. Adding to this, only 16 percent can complete a customer install in less than one week.

“The ability to deliver and manage Kubernetes apps anywhere, without it being a complicated, time-consuming slog is key,” Miller said. To download a copy of the report, visit

Siemens Acquires Nextflow Software

Siemens Digital Industries Software, Plano, Texas, has acquired Nextflow Software, an independent provider of advanced particle-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solutions.

Siemens Digital Industries Software will expand its Xcelerator simulation portfolio with the newly acquired Nextflow Software’s computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology from Nextflow Software, which it recently acquired. (Provided by Siemens Digital Industries Software)

The transaction closed on June 1. Terms were not disclosed. Siemens said that Nantes, France-based Nextflow will become part of Siemens Digital Industries Software, where its offering will expand the Simcenter software portfolio, part of the Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services, with rapid meshless CFD capabilities to accelerate the analysis of complex transient applications in the automotive, aerospace, and marine industries, such as gear box lubrication, tank sloshing or electric motor spray cooling.

“Our customers need to leverage sophisticated simulations earlier and more often in their design process, and this is creating a strong demand for rapid and automated CFD of dynamic gas-liquid flows,” said Jean-Claude Ercolanelli, senior vice president, simulation and test solutions, for Siemens Digital Industries Software. “Meshless technology has emerged as a leading solution to greatly reduce the setup and solving times for this class of problems.”
Founded in 2015, Nextflow Software is a startup company focused on the development of innovative smoothed-particle hydrodynamics (SPH) meshless CFD methods. The company has played a role in moving SPH from academic labs into the hands of analysts across industries, helping simulate complex transient problems faster and earlier in the product development cycle, according to Siemens.

Autodesk to Acquire Upchain

Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, Calif., signed a definitive agreement to acquire Upchain Inc., a provider of instant-on, cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) and product data management (PDM) solutions. The acquisition is said to position Autodesk to deliver more value for engineers, manufacturers, suppliers and other product stakeholders by increasing collaboration across the decentralized product value chain, regardless of CAD system.

Toronto-based Upchain has created a unified cloud platform that eliminates the boundaries of traditional PLM and PDM technologies, helping manufacturers manage complexity across teams by putting data at the center of the product development process. “Resilience and collaboration have never been more critical for manufacturers as they confront the increasing complexity of developing new products. We’re committed to addressing those needs by offering the most robust end-to-end design and manufacturing platform in the cloud,” said Andrew Anagnost, President and CEO of Autodesk.

No financial details of the transaction were released. Autodesk said it will maintain Upchain’s open approach to data, supporting integration not only with solutions like Inventor, AutoCAD and Fusion 360, but also with other CAD systems commonly used in manufacturing.

Software Update is edited by Contributing Editor 
Patrick Waurzyniak; contact him at

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