Interoperability, collaboration, inspection, quality, standards, proprietary data, neutrality, competition, and innovation. Over the years there have been myriad attempts to bring these processes together, all while protecting IP. However, as we know, while the attempts to make this happen have often been valiant, too often they have fallen well short, or worse, failed altogether.
That legacy of failure is on its way to being a thing of the past with the advent of the Quality Information Framework (QIF), an ANSI standard that supports digital thread concepts in engineering applications ranging from product design through manufacturing. Based on the XML standard, it contains a Library of XML Schema ensuring both data integrity and data interoperability in Model Based Enterprise (MBE) implementations.
QIF supports design, metrology, manufacturing, and is critical to the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Because it is XML based, QIF can be relatively easily integrated with Internet applications, and unlike other existing standards, there is no real barrier standing in the way for industry adopting QIF. It also effectively supports newer technologies, including additive manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT).
With QIF, all discrete manufacturers now have a standard platform that ensures quality while minimizing costs and making processes more transparent.
All information models for transporting quality data are derived from common model libraries so that common information modeling components can be reused throughout the entire quality measurement process. As a consequence, the entire process is inherently interoperable.
The video below demonstrates QIF, a feature-based ontology of manufacturing quality metadata, built on XML technology, and semantically linked to the CAD model. A group of leading CAD and metrology software providers teamed up to demonstrate a digital metrology workflow for IMTS 2016.
The starting point for this workflow is a CAD model with PMI, in either PTC Creo or SOLIDWORKS. Then, the following steps are followed:
- A QIF model is generated
- Balloon numbers are added and measurement resources are assigned to PMI
- Caliper measurements are performed
- A CMM workflow is carried out
The result is a QIF MBD model, QIF Plan data, and a set of QIF Results data. This data can now be cross-referenced, analyzed, and visualized by a variety of software packages.
QIF Interoperability Demonstration
The diagram below shows the six QIF application area information models, Model-Based Design (MBD) which is equivalent to QIF Product, Plans, Resources, Rules, Results, and Statistics. The “QIF Execution” model is, in the current version of QIF, a placeholder for future standardization. The order of generation of QIF data generally proceeds clockwise around the diagram, beginning with QIF MBD and ending with QIF Statistics. Users of the QIF information model are not required to implement the entire model for it to succeed. In other words, any of the six application models can be used individually for exchanging quality data between software systems.