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OGP navigates changing customer demands

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia- February 2019

Date Published:3/13/2019 02:03:14 PM

Optical Gaging Products (OGP) has long embraced the concept of continuous improvement and innovation. 

Tim Sladden, OGP, Vice President Operations- Asia

Tim Sladden, OGP, Vice President Operations- Asia

In that spirit, what better way to kick off the year than by looking to see what the 2019 has in store for the company? To find out more, Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio of International Metalworking News for Asia (IMNA) asked a few questions to Tim Sladden, OGP, Vice President Operations- Asia. He answered and shared about business highlights, and offered advice on what he thinks is important to building an efficient manufacturing company today. 

IMNA: What have been some of the highlights for the business?

Tim Sladden: We delivered a record number of machines to customers in South East Asia last fiscal year and will set another record this year. Global demand for electronics, especially handheld devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, remains strong, and this in-turn drives the demand for process monitoring and metrology. New metrology requirements are coming up all the time, and we are lucky to be part of that.  A lot activities in Asia are driven by mobile electronics and it all go up and down the supply chain. We are fortunate to be in the position to serve different segments of the manufacturing market.

IMNA: What is the personal motto you live by and why?

Tim Sladden: “Exceeding customer expectations,” is my motto. We are aware that all of our customers are being driven by increasing expectations. Our customers are always expecting more performance whether from their car, mobile phone or anything that they buy. In return, we are asked to respond to those rising expectations in the performance of our equipment, the delivery time, the capability and cost. If we’re not continually trying to exceed our customer’s expectations today, we won’t be meeting their needs in the near term.

IMNA: What are some of the latest technologies OGP is planning to launch?

Tim Sladden: We have been doing a lot of work in developing new optical technologies, improving optical imaging capability and improvements in digital video cameras. The camera quality continues to advance with better resolution and better characteristics. We can make a larger optical field of view and measure more features at one time using a high resolution camera. These kinds of technologies are enabling us to make systems that can see a much larger area all at one time and measure everything in it- instantly.  It’s a fundamental optical technology that relies on having very high-quality optics and very low distortion across the entire field of view, so that every feature that’s viewable is accurately represented, and can be measured accurately.

This large field of view technology, which has been present from some years now in our SNAP family of products and also in a product known as the Fusion, is now being extended to other new products. This includes our new shaft measuring system, called TurnCheck, which will be launching in Asia later this year.  This is an optical, non-contact inspection system for shafts and cylinders of all kinds that are common in the automotive and aerospace industries. But even in some smaller parts that are used in medical devices, such as bone screws or dental implants benefit from this type of technology. The optical quality is one of our great advantages. OGP has more than 70 years of experience designing optical systems, specifically for measurement. So we have been able to leverage that experience to improve on the state-of-the-art in this business.

The TurnCheck is a shop floor measuring system, very friendly for the environment of a factory floor and also for the typical use-case, where the operator may take a part directly from a machine tool and put it on the turn check system and make a quick measurement. It needs to be rugged, reliable and friendly for the environment.

IMNA: What will be the key focus area for OGP in the coming two to three years?

Tim Sladden: In South East Asia, the key focus is helping our customers meet their manufacturing and quality objectives. Primarily that means by delivering reliable equipment on time, and also improving its capability and efficiency; Always working continually to make the equipment better, faster and more capable.

IMNA: Can you describe the current state of the metrology industry here in South East Asia?

Tim Sladden: Customer expectations are constantly increasing, especially here in South East Asia. They expect the equipment we provide to be better, faster and cheaper. So we have to work hard to satisfy the continuously increasing expectations from our customers. And that’s the challenge that we love because we have a lot of great people in product development, engineering and manufacturing, as well as in our local sales and support operations that can do that. Not only that we have all of our standard products, we have many special adaptions that we can offer, and the things that we do on a custom-basis to tailor the equipment to specific customer needs. 

IMNA: How can the company evolve and be in a stronger position in today's fluid economy? Where do you see the greatest opportunities for growth in South East Asia?

Tim Sladden: For OGP, continually improving our products’ performance gives us the opportunity to win new customers and repeat business from existing customers.  There’s a great opportunity for us to make our equipment better as well as to improve the service we provide, and be the easiest company in the business to work with.

IMNA: What are your thoughts on the big changes ahead and where manufacturers’ main concerns should be in 2019?

Tim Sladden: We expect the global economy will continue to be very strong, as it has been. It’s been strong for several years now, and with the political climate changing around the world, we are constantly on the lookout for any change in the economic picture, and planning our response to that.

The other important trend that we see coming in the years ahead is more and more integration of the measurement data with the manufacturing process. Many people speak of the Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing initiatives and more and more manufacturers are insisting on closer integration of their metrology systems to their manufacturing process. We have some new products in our KOTEM division, software products that are important additions to our Industry 4.0 solution. Metrology data integrated with CAM systems for programming machine tools and making process adjustments in rapid fashion. We called this the KOTEM EVOLVE Suite. It includes software modules that help engineers apply corrections to their original design drawings, as well as integrating the measuring data with manufacturing CAM programs, and a new statistical process control package, which can accept data from any measuring system and integrate it to any CAD model. So that we can use the CAD model as a visual reference, pointing out features of the CAD and seeing the statistical data from those features explained in a convenient report.

Our response to Industry 4.0 is to offer model based enterprise software that really treats the CAD model - the original design of the part - as the central repository of all data about that part. Its dimensions, tolerances, as well as measurement results from production. Feedback from companies who have an ongoing Industry 4.0 initiative, the response has been excellent. They really see the advantages that the software brings. As for companies that are not yet involved in this kind of initiative, it looks a little more complex. For those advanced manufacturers who are embracing the Industry 4.0 Eco-System, products like ours are exactly what they’re looking for.  

TurnCheck is an optical, non-contact inspection system for shafts and cylinders.

TurnCheck is an optical, non-contact inspection system for shafts and cylinders.

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