The test & measurement sector in the manufacturing industry is highly fragmented and focuses on both, the production as well as the development of equipment. This sector works on the detection, measurement, and control of various factors in manufacturing processes, like flow, temperature, power, vibration, the inspection of parts and other similar processes. The sector has been growing immensely in the last decade and forecasts show that it will continue to maintain a positive growth.
Test & measurement is an essential process that helps manufacturers ensure that their product dimensions are accurate and they perform exactly as required. If the equipment does not behave as per the expectations, then the team has to check the issue and determine how to fix it successfully. The entire process demands advanced technological solutions which will lead to greater innovations in the test & measurement sector in the form of digitisation, solutions by application, Additive Manufacturing, IoT and new sensing apps that drive excellence in the manufacturing industry.
So, here are the top five trends that will drive the test & measurement sector:
Today, we rely more on digital outputs instead of analog ones. Some of the highlight benefits of a digital sensor are excellent transmission reliability, high transfer rates, self-diagnostic tools, etc. Manufacturers also have the flexibility to plug-in or replace digital devices without interrupting the overall system. Digital outputs are great in terms of wiring, too. Various digital sensors can be connected using the same cable that helps in wiring costs. In brief, digitisation supports wireless communications and gives the user a perfect idea of wires and dimensions, etc.
Solutions by application
Consider that a user has to write only a single program for the measurement of multiple parts and features together – is it possible to practically execute this? Various parts should be of the same design that the user wants to check together. When only a single program has to be written or maintained, it reduces the overall test & measurement time effectively. Taking the input as a variable, when the design is the same and lengths are different, the meteorology software 4.0 version simplifies the whole process for manufacturers.
Additive Manufacturing will continue to support advancements in the manufacturing world. One such example is the optical meteorology instrument that offers 3D capabilities with wide-diameter lenses and a measuring range of up to 200 mm. The instrument gives a clear picture of the equipment and there is no need for further measurement analysis. This instrument is suitable for both, research & development and floor environments, with excellent operating efficiency. When this instrument is used in manufacturing, it provides large potential costs savings to companies. It would not be wrong to say that this instrument is the future of optics and manufacturing industries.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT plays a big part in the future of test and measurement. IoT-enabled devices can help an industry by increasing the speed, which leads to instruments becoming more responsive and the latency of wireless communications being checked thoroughly. When data-transfer speed is expected to increase by 20 gigabytes per second, manufacturers should check or replace their existing technologies with new and advanced ones. It can be an advanced software program or any other powerful instrument as well.
Modern sensing apps
Test & measurement experts can also expect new sensing apps in 2019 and beyond. These apps will be suitable for all industries – agricultural, optical world, medical equipment or renewable energy technologies, etc. The only thing the user will need to do is to analyse their product type and nature of the company. Based on the analysis, the user can quickly decide which type of sensing app can help the most or talk to the experts in the field to suggest the best technology for advancing test and measurement operations in the users industry.
Is test & measurement vital?
In a perfect world, we would be able to deploy a product directly in the market without any checking and reduce overall deployment costs. However, when we produce or manufacture a new technology, errors are common and the role of test and measurement is vital in ensuring that end-users receive a flawless product.
Therefore, testing and measurement is considered to be a vital part of the manufacturing process. The manufacturing industry is working towards creating and utilising more modern technologies to reduce the overall costs and time associated with test and measurement while maintaining high quality of yield supported by optimum performance. Incorporating automation in the test and measurement process could offer more features and capabilities to the user, eventually leading to improved and faster outcomes.
Most manufacturers believe that testing should be done at the end only. But this is not the right approach; test & measurement is necessary at each stage of production, thereby, reducing the chances of product failure and testing costs, too. We could say that test & measurement must be part of an integrated approach to make sure that any product or equipment is working as per the expectations only. With the right approach and modern technologies, it is possible to gain a competitive edge over others.