The digitalisation and sustainability paradox

If you send emails, post on Facebook or watch Netflix, you are indirectly responsible for destroying the planet.

It might sound dramatic, but the transmission of data via the internet is extremely polluting. The process requires millions of physical servers in data centres around the globe, which eat up energy from power sources that emit carbon dioxide and contribute 4% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Expert research has suggested that globally, in a single minute, 150 million emails are sent, releasing 600,000kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – the equivalent of burning more than 232,000kg of coal.

The figures are striking and, with them in mind, it is often argued that industrial processes can be either digital or sustainable, but never both.

That poses a problem for modern manufacturers who know that digitalisation in manufacturing is essential to meeting the demands of Industry 4.0, a new age of industrialisation where technological advancements are delivering major benefits for them.

The smart factories of the future will achieve a level of interconnectivity, automation and self-monitoring that has never been reached before, where machines have the ability to analyse and communicate with both each other and their human co-workers, creating smoother processes and more productive environments.

Fresh thinking, however, is challenging the digitalisation versus sustainability debate, with optical measurement technology at the heart of the issue.

By enabling hugely improved production performance, systems like those supplied by VICIVISION not only allow more products to be made, but bring quality at the right price for the market.

digitalisation in manufacturing

 

Automated shop-floor measurement

Imagine your production process is in full swing. You have three CNC machines producing a series of turned parts and the operator performs dimensional inspection by batch sampling, which involves transporting those components to the metrology lab and then waiting their turn.

This inevitable bottleneck could be eliminated, however, by introducing a digital process. Let’s say a VICIVISION measurement system – whose price is about the tenth of the value of the CNC machine – is installed in the heart of the production area and is operating alongside three machines at full capacity.

Thanks to its tool loop function, the VICIVISION system can seamlessly exchange data with the production machines, effectively dialoguing with the lathe and providing real-time feedback on sample measurements.

This intuitive process enables the automatic correction of tool parameters, eliminating human transcription error and accelerating throughput.

There are multiple advantages – not least a major reduction in scrap and material wastage alongside minimal risk of rework, thereby optimising production sustainability.

The process means parts can be delivered with the accuracy and repeatability characteristics demanded by the customer, within tolerance and ready to be shipped.

Quality control operators become major players in industrial transformation, their task to monitor processes and programme machines in a way that works best for an individual business.

Why choose optical metrology?

VICIVISION technology caters for turned, ground and cylindrical parts of all sizes, from dental and biomedical implants to precision screws, camshafts, pistons and electrical spindles.

digitalisation in manufacturing

By using superior high-resolution video camera technology to carry out a number of checks on a single set-up, there is no need for multiple specific instruments such as co-ordinate measuring machines or handheld gauges.

Even the most complex parts can be inspected in a matter of seconds, down to the last minute detail.

Alongside advanced hardware and intuitive software that’s now easier and faster to utilise than ever before, users can expect detailed measurement reports to certify quality, barcode readers for automatic part programme loading and improved connections suitable for a wide range of fixing tools.

At the touch of a button and with no operator intervention or human error, the fast, non-contact, non-destructive measurement on an all-in-one system can be achieved with VICIVISION.

Robust and at ease in the production environment, the machines eliminate delays and reduce down time as there is no need to leave the factory floor.

Minimal transportation of parts, increased flexibility, slashed rejection rates and less waste means a rapid return on investment, with manufacturers guaranteed an increased throughput of right-first-time products.

Clearly, in this example, digitalisation in manufacturing is helping to meet high standards of production and resource sustainability.

 

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