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Advancing precision manufacturing with Equator gauging system

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia Release Date:2024-05-13 252
MetalworkingMeasuring & Control System AutomationMetrology
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In a recent dialogue with Steve Bell, General Manager for ASEAN at Renishaw (Singapore) Pte Ltd., he elucidated Renishaw's prominence as a premier provider of smart manufacturing solutions.

By: Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio


Steve Bell, General Manager for ASEAN at Renishaw (Singapore) Pte Ltd.


Metrology stands as an indispensable pillar in precision manufacturing, ensuring the alignment of products with exacting quality and design standards. As industry demands surge, the landscape of measurement technology undergoes a dynamic evolution. Progress in metrology intricately intertwines with enhancements in manufacturing capability, fostering a symbiotic relationship.


In a recent dialogue with Steve Bell, General Manager for ASEAN at Renishaw (Singapore) Pte Ltd., he elucidated Renishaw's prominence as a premier provider of smart manufacturing solutions. Steve expounded upon Renishaw's Equator 300 & 500 gauging systems, integral for automating tools and process control. Renishaw's history of furnishing intelligent process control and data analysis predates the current smart manufacturing era, underscoring its intrinsic alignment with this technological paradigm.


Steve talked about the company’s Equator gauging system, which garnered acclaim for its groundbreaking gauging technology. Rooted in the conventional practice of comparing production parts to a reference master part, its standout feature lies in its swift re-mastering capability. This empowers it to promptly adjust measurements in response to thermal fluctuations within a shop-floor environment.


Distinguished by its attributes, the Equator system is renowned for its exceptional qualities. It boasts high repeatability, ensuring consistent and reliable measurements, alongside thermal insensitivity, which maintains precision even in fluctuating temperature conditions. Its versatility and reprogrammability enable seamless adaptation to a variety of parts and processes, while its speed and user-friendliness streamline operations, whether manual or automated. These standout features make the Equator 300 & 500 preferred choices for manufacturers aiming to enhance process control on the shop floor. By minimising scrap, resolving bottlenecks, and offering a cost-effective ownership model, the Equator 300 exemplifies Renishaw's unwavering commitment to advancing manufacturing technology and meeting the evolving needs of the industry.


Industries Maximising Benefits from the Equator 300 & Equator 500

According to Steve, the Equator 300 gauging system offered by Renishaw emerges as particularly advantageous for industries characterised by high-speed, high-volume, and high-precision manufacturing requirements. Among the sectors that derive significant benefits from the Equator 300 are automotive, ensuring the quality of critical components such as engine parts and drivetrain elements within vehicles, consumer products, necessitating consistent quality across mass-produced items, and aerospace, where precise measurement of components featuring intricate geometries and stringent tolerances is paramount. 


These industries typically handle medium to high-volume production, where the Equator's attributes including speed, repeatability, and usability in both manual and automated settings prove instrumental in enhancing process control and curbing inspection expenses. Moreover, its adaptability to a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions renders it suitable for diverse shop floor environments.


Digital Manufacturing

Data-driven manufacturing involves the meticulous collection and utilisation of process data to unlock its full potential. Armed with comprehensive data and the right analytical tools, manufacturers can unearth invaluable insights across the entire production chain. By pinpointing areas ripe for optimisation, be it in process control, quality enhancement, or productivity boost, manufacturers can enact changes that yield substantial benefits.


Traditionally, organising manufacturing data for actionable insights has posed challenges within shop floor environments. However, Renishaw's innovative smart manufacturing solutions, encompassing cutting-edge technologies for measurement, calibration, and motion control, have revolutionised this landscape. Through these integrated systems, all process and metrology data can be seamlessly digitalised, facilitating visualisation and automated control of manufacturing and measurement processes. The tangible results of this approach are evident; in our own machine shops, we have seen a remarkable reduction in unplanned automation stoppages and a significant increase in machining capacity.


Today's manufacturers can harness real-time process and measurement data to optimise operations on a granular level, from part-by-part to batch-by-batch improvements. Adopting a smart factory paradigm enables continuous analysis of process data, empowering engineers to refine and enhance performance over time. This iterative process may lead to various outcomes, including improved product performance, more resilient process designs, or enhanced production efficiency at reduced costs.


Despite occasional setbacks such as minor stoppages or process alarms impacting productivity, the journey towards greater process visibility allows for adaptive improvements. As our understanding of long-term manufacturing capabilities deepens, informed decisions can be made to fine-tune measurement frequencies and controls accordingly.


Looking forward

As factories become more automated, Steve noticed a global shift towards integrating inspection processes directly into the production environment, not just in South East Asia but everywhere. Renishaw's smart manufacturing solutions play a big role in this. They allow factories to run smoothly without constant supervision, ensuring quality and boosting productivity, while freeing up engineers for more important tasks.


With manufacturing moving closer to home, automated systems become crucial for competitiveness and ensuring a reliable supply chain. Real-time data collection through automated metrology systems is key to managing operations efficiently.


“Over the past couple of years, there has been a significant transformation in how we measure things in factories. Metrology has evolved from a separate inspection process to a vital component of high-precision, automated manufacturing. It has been a privilege collaborating with passionate engineers and manufacturers, driving this change, and enhancing the quality and performance of products globally, including cars, aircraft engines, smartphones, and precision-machined items. Renishaw's technology has played a part in improving these products at many stages of their production,” Steve remarked.

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