Sea Change in Technology Raising Metrology-Quality Standards

August 28, 2009 - IRVINE, CA – There’s a technology sea change underway in metrology and dimensional measurement, a change that promises significant improvements in efficiency and precision that will shape the future of testing and quality programs worldwide.

“There are exciting developments driving quality inspection and measurement processes in aerospace, automotive, energy and other precision-focused manufacturing and fabrication sectors,” explained Michael D. Knicker, President of Q-PLUS Labs, Inc. “We believe the technical approaches we are seeing will add a whole new dimension to manufacturing.”

Q-PLUS Labs, founded in 1987, is a leading dimensional measurement laboratory. In its role, Q-PLUS metrology specialists and engineers have the opportunity to work with customers and partners to pioneer and refine technology solutions. “It is part of constantly moving the bar higher to create more precise, reliable, efficient tools,” Mr. Knicker explained.

One of the company’s newest initiatives is a co-development project with partner Starrett Kinemetric, a leading manufacturer of advanced metrology systems. The process coordinates the large variety of part measurement protocols that require different sensors for proper measurement. “Up until now,” said Mr. Knicker, “this has necessitated the use of several different, costly measurement instruments. Now these measurements can be performed automatically on a single multi-sensor measuring system including non-contact vision, touch probe and metrology-class laser.”

Q-PLUS Labs has integrated high-powered point cloud processing software with the multi-sensor system to facilitate the processing of the massive amounts of high resolution 3D data produced using the laser and other sensors. “This is especially important as product definition continues to move toward 3D CAD models and away from 2D paper drawings,” Mr. Knicker explained.

Once 3D data is obtained and recorded, the machine continues to perform measurements, while the part is advanced to the next stage of production. Simultaneously, specialized point cloud software runs programmed virtual measurements on the data producing a detailed 3D inspection report.

Data collected utilizing the new process can also be reverse engineered into a “smart” (dimension-driven) 3D CAD model. “What this means is enhanced capabilities and faster results at a fraction of the cost,” said Mr. Knicker. This advanced system, which can be used for nearly any kind of manufactured part, is a big leap toward what Mr. Knicker refers to as the “Holy Grail of dimensional measurement.”

Q-PLUS Labs utilizes this process in its own measurement services lab. “This is just one of the many exciting new technology advances we are seeing,” Mr. Knicker said. “We expect significant impact on the way things are done from a quality perspective over the next year.”

For additional information on complete system capabilities, as well as Q-PLUS Labs and its wide array of dimensional measurement services, visit the company’s website at www.qpluslabs.com, or call 949-380-7758.

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