Manufacturing continues to embrace technology to improve productivity and efficiency. Often, there is little room for error in parts or products, so technology must meet exact requirements. For this reason, metrology, or optical sensing, is being leveraged by manufacturers to keep production at precise tolerances. These small, yet crucial sensors bring smart technology to production. This is causing a revolution in manufacturing quality assurance. In fact, according to Advanced Manufacturing, metrology has become quite an essential element in the quality assurance sector, growing at 20% per year, compared to 6% for other quality assurance categories.
Rethinking Quality Assurance with Sensor Technology
On production lines, inspection equipment is the final stop. If there are defects, even minute ones, they won’t be caught until it’s too late. This antiquated quality assurance process is considered costly, even invaluable, by many manufacturers. With optical sensors, quality assurance isn’t relegated until the end—it becomes an active part of the process. Measurement technology helps close the loop on quality assurance. It works in concert with production and equipment. These sensors identify defects during production and make corrections in real-time to accomplish full runs that meet specs. This translates to time and cost savings by minimizing reruns.
Optical Sensor Capabilities
Measurement technology is ideal for applications in many industries, including automotive, as it confirms the tolerances, dimensions, and surface quality of sensitive components. When a defect is pinpointed, data is sent to the production circuit which then makes self-adjustments.
To execute measurement technology, an automated sensor system is critical. Components with the tightest tolerances need optical, high-resolution measurement sensors. They should be compatible with production, providing traceable and repeatable measurements. Metrology also improves the precision of robot movement on the production line. It can increase location accuracy from a few millimeters to 100 μm or better, as described by Advanced Manufacturing.
Collecting Data from Sensors
Monitoring, collecting, and then analyzing stored sensor data allows manufacturers to spot trends. This offers opportunities for improved overall efficiencies, positively impacting operations. For the average layman, it may be difficult to realize why sensors can be so impactful. But in the world of precision, this data has high value, and more importantly, answers. Shaping data from raw numbers to insights requires proper analysis. Trends in data mark when a defect or incident occurs, proving clear insights on how to improve a specific run. This is when anomalies become more apparent and solutions form.
Optical Sensing from Fiberguide Delivers Smart Tools
With flexible and versatile optical sensors, manufacturers now have the tools to automate quality assurance and resolve issues in real-time. For the best optical sensing solutions that can measure the stress, temperature, pressure, or distance of manufactured components, trust in the experts at Fiberguide, a leader in in the art of fiber optics. Learn more about how Fiberguide’s optical sensing solutions can improve the quality of manufacturing output.
Author: Kevin Rauscher