The Internet of Things (IoT) and, in a broader sense, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a new paradigm in manufacturing, affecting the way manufacturers are operating or are planning to operate. Improving and optimizing overall equipment effectiveness necessitates accurate, up-to-date data across the entire organization, including measurement and test data collected from both quality labs and directly from the manufacturing floor.
Federally regulated industries, such as aerospace and defense, require proof of quality—detailed and irrefutable data on all parts and products of companies’ operations. This includes ISO certifications, letters of compliance, sample data records and detailed data logging of each part shipped. Additionally, 21 CFR part 11 calls for time-stamping and electronic signature of data.
The single most problematic area in data collection is entering attribute data into a computer platform, such as when collecting measurement data from handheld gages, and the resultant effect on the quality of data. Important considerations include the user interface for effective operator recognition of pass/fail criteria or parameter drift. Large fonts, high contrast, well-lit environments directly affect accurate interpretation of a tool’s measurement. Still, manual data entry has been well proven to introduce errors.
Increasing the speed, volume and accuracy of measurement and inspection data collection is critical: It provides powerful insights vital to improving efficiency and consistently making quality parts. In terms of acquiring precision measurement data for quality control purposes, the clearest path to these advantages comes from wireless and mobile retrieval technology.
Wireless data collection systems should be mobile, as well as robustly encrypted and secured.
They should also be suitable for various needs, such as unrestricted distances and gage compatibility, ease of use and practical integration into automated manufacturing operations.
The best wireless data collection systems can dramatically increase productivity, remove the potential for errors, provide complete documentation and automate the data acquisition process.
Data security is top of mind for all manufacturers. And while quality control measurement data by itself might not be particularly valuable to hackers, cybercriminals can still spoof the networks used to transmit quality control data to gain more general access to digital infrastructure.
Data collection systems, such as DataSure 4.0 from The L.S. Starrett Co., address this issue through a variety of measures, including security efforts that feature a highly secure wireless platform. Transported data is encrypted using a multi-layered approach that prevents outside access to the data, whether passive or active.
Maintaining good security also includes addressing emerging vulnerabilities in radio transmission on a frequent basis, keeping your system secure going forward, which your data collection systems supplier should be dedicated to keeping pace with.
Aerospace and defense manufacturers need to collect QC data quickly so high data volumes can be processed without delay, even at full capacity.
Versatility is another key requirement for QC data collection. A network topology structure for wireless data collection should be able to be configured to many simple or complex situations.
The latest data collection systems are designed to dependably and accurately acquire precision measurement data in an extensive range of applications and distances. From just one or a few measuring tools over short distances, to configurations that have many measuring tools located hundreds of yards apart in a large factory or spread out over a mile in multiple facilities, expanded distances and increased application requirements are easily accommodated as measurement data collection requirements evolve and grow.
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