One Software Platform to Rule Them AllThu, 01/23/2020 - 17:41
The use of homogeneous solutions for both older and newer machines can boost Industry 4.0 metrology practices and eliminate the need for a metrology lab, while improving production times and eliminating potential logistics costs, according to Marta Cantabrana, Director General of metrology software developer 3C Metrology. “Using a single software solution enables all machines in a production line to deliver homogeneous information and helps companies reduce training costs for technicians using several metrology software suites,” she says.
3C Metrology was created in 2006 with the goal of offering a quality dimensional metrology solution to the Mexican automotive industry. Back then, there were several OEMs and component suppliers present in Mexico but few companies that could address their metrology needs, according to Cantabrana. As the main distributor of the Metrolog X4 software developed by Metrologic Group, around 80 percent of 3C Metrology’s operations target automotive clients like FCA Group and Nissan, with the rest focusing on aerospace and metal-mechanic players, including SAFRAN Group.
The company offers companies the possibility to both retrofit their existing equipment, as well as link new machines so all equipment works on the same platform. “Our software reduces the time needed to measure and process information,” says Cantabrana. “By retrofitting older equipment and using new software, companies gain competitiveness in terms of speed.” Integrating all machines within the same platform eliminates the need for metrology specialists to learn a new software for each piece of equipment, especially when companies use more than one brand of robots or metrology equipment. Companies like Volkswagen have already found the benefits of such standardization, says Cantabrana. The OEM uses different metrology equipment in its various production lines but all of them use the same platform. “Volkswagen’s metrology specialists no longer need to be trained in more than one software solution and all information supplied by machines is homogeneous,” she says.
“In the past, automotive companies had to sample their production and measure it away from the production line. Now, new software solutions allow companies to test their products without interrupting the production flow,” highlights Cantabrana. 3C Metrology works with robot OEMs such as Yaskawa, Universal Robots, KUKA, FANUC and ABB, as well as with the main producers of metrology equipment, including Nikon Metrology, Zeiss, Hexagon and Creaform. This helps the company market its solutions for new machines. “Having a good relationship with metrology equipment suppliers allows 3C Metrology to participate in the sale of new equipment,” says Cantabrana.
The company, however, still faces resistance to market its solutions among Mexican companies. “(These) usually want to see new technologies being implemented in the US or European countries before giving them a shot,” says Cantabrana. To counter this, 3C Metrology focuses on offering competitive financing schemes and on raising awareness about the long-term advantages of using innovative and faster metrology solutions.
Another feature that helps 3C Metrology stand out in the metrology software segment is that the company was created specifically to develop and distribute inspection software. “Other software solutions available in the market were originally designed as reverse-engineering solutions, which makes a big difference in terms of the algorithms that each software uses. The 40 years of experience that Metrologic Group has in the development of metrology software and our ability to deliver local technical support to clients help us stand out,” says Cantabrana.
Aside from the new versions of Metrolog X4 launched each year by Metrologic Group, 3C Metrology is now working on a new online integration platform for robots. “This solution allows for direct communication with in-line measurement robots in real time,” says Cantabrana. “3C Metrology pays attention to what the market demands and develops new applications that address these needs.”