In a connected manufacturing world, continuous measurements cut lead times and reduce scrap and the amount of material used. Sandvik has technology that holds the key.
In recognition of an industry-wide transformation to digital manufacturing, Sandvik acquired Metrologic Group, a leading supplier of 3D inspection software and electronics in 2018. The move formed part of a strategy to take a leading position in operational excellence, technology and customer interactions.
“Historically, design, machining and analysis have been three clear phases of manufacturing,” says Lars Bergström, President for business area Sandvik Machining Solutions. “New technology allows for instant data capturing and analysis, which means that the verification phase will be totally integrated into the process. This will be even more so in the future, he says.”
Metrologic provides customer value through added measurement technology capacity. Going forward, the plan is to develop integrated solutions throughout the manufacturing chain.
“We are continuously strengthening our digital manufacturing offering,” Lars Bergström says. “Within, say, five or ten years hardly any manual measuring will be performed in a workshop. Instead, machine learning and connectivity between systems, machines and tools will allow for continuous measuring throughout the whole process – all the way to the cutting edge.”
In a connected manufacturing world, continuous measurements will cut lead times and reduce scrap and customer recalls, as well as reduce the amount of material used in the process.
“Today, measurements are made on statistical samples,” Lars Bergström explains. “Measuring every tenth component with satisfactory results indicates that the other nine also qualify. It’s too expensive to measure every component, so you have to balance time, cost and quality. Digitalization, however, allows for continuous control of every single component.”
Metrologic offers agnostic metrology software, meaning that the software is compatible with measuring equipment from different suppliers. The agnostic part is critical for Sandvik.
“Many of our customers don’t want to be locked up with a single supplier,” Lars Bergström says. “They typically want to compare performance between machines, production lines and plants with different equipment. Hence, we need to offer a solution that allows for multiple equipment brands.”
With the acquisition, Sandvik declared a digital leadership in the manufacturing arena. But the competitive landscape is continuously changing Lars Bergström continues. “All metal-cutting tool suppliers are working with digitalization in one way or another, but along with these traditional competitors, you need to add measurement companies, hardware and software suppliers. Everyone wants a piece of the manufacturing cake, but I feel confident that we have a head start with our deep manufacturing competence and close and strong collaboration with hundreds of thousands of customers.”