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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has over 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

InnovMetric: 3D Metrology Ecosystem Continues to Evolve for Digital Transformation

April 24th, 2023 by Jeff Rowe

Like virtually all engineering software, metrology (measurement) software has made and continues to make giant strides for manufacturing organizations seeking the best path to a comprehensive digital transformation. For metrology, one of the companies leading this charge for digital transformation is InnovMetric.

We recently spoke to Marc Soucy, President of InnovMetric about his company, new and improved technologies offered by his company, and his take on the state of metrology software.

InnovMetric considers itself the pioneer of point cloud-based inspection that invented the concept of a universal 3D metrology software platform.

Soucy kicked things off by saying, “We are an independent software development company, and we empower manufacturers of every size to digitally transform their 3D measurement processes. We revolutionized 3D metrology with the introduction of point-cloud-based dimensional inspection in 2000, and the concept of a universal platform in 2006. Today with over 20,000 customers in 100 countries, including the largest industrial manufacturers that have adopted our PolyWorks solutions as their standard 3D methodology software platform. We are focusing on creating next-generation digital data and process management technologies. We are a multinational organization with 550 employees dedicated to bringing 3D measurement data at the heart of enterprise manufacturing processes.”

MCADCafe Interviews Marc Soucy, President, InnovMetric

New PolyWorks Products For 2023

InnovMetric’s product line is known as PolyWorks. According to Soucy, PolyWorks is a digital enterprise solution that drives the acquisition and processing of 3D measurement data, and integrates this data within the processes of manufacturing organizations. PolyWorks accelerates the design, development and validation of products and manufacturing processes, controls the quality of individual parts and assemble products, and helps resolve manufacturing issues as soon as they occur. PolyWorks is comprised three components that mirror fundamental phases of the product design process.

Soucy said, “First, a universal platform that reduces 3D measurement cost by offering a universal 3D measurement workflow to perform all 3D measurement activities using the same tools and interfaces regardless of the type of 3D measurement technology involved. Second, we offer a data management system that automates the management of files and folders and provides a direct access to 3D measurement data to all those who need it within a manufacturing organization. Third, we provide digital interconnections to CAD, PLM and corporate analysis platforms to improve team efficiency and reduce the number of software used by an organization.”

A new release of PolyWorks was recently introduced to the market. So, what is new in the new release?

Soucy said, “Well, we have deepened the functionality for each of our solutions in the release. For example, we are introducing a model-based definition (MBD) solution for CAD native CAD platforms to help digitalize the 3D measurement planning workflow and solve some of the problem in this workflow. We’ve also releasing measurement system analysis technology. We can perform and engage R&R studies using an end-to-end digital workflow.”

Editor’s Note: An R&R study provides a technique for estimating two components: Repeatability and Reproducibility. Repeatability is the ability of the measurement system to provide consistent readings when used by a single technician or operator on a given piece. Repeatability is sometimes referred to as equipment variation.

Soucy continued, “We’ve also improved our data management system. We now offer express cloud deployment. You can go on Azure and very shortly you’ll be able to go on Amazon AWS and deploy our data management solution in less than 15 minutes. It’s a very good solution for small and medium-size enterprises. And finally, we’re introducing root cause analysis tools to help. For example, when you see some dimensional failures, you’d like some advice on what issues this can affect. We’re using metadata or attributes in inspection projects and try to associate those metadata to failures and try to see if there’s a statistical pattern. We help customers find a root cause of their problematic issues more quickly.”

In addition to optimizing the performance of 3D measurement teams through universal platform enhancements, PolyWorks 2023 further reduces the cost of measuring in 3D in three different ways:

  • PolyWorks offers improved Model-Based Definition (MBD) and Measurement System Analysis (MSA) digital workflows that help manufacturing organizations minimize the number of software used within their global dimensional management process.
  • The PolyWorks data management solution can now be deployed in less than 15 minutes in the cloud and be interconnected with a corporate identity server.
  • Finally, PolyWorks integrates new root cause analysis tools into its data management solution that can automatically identify the factors that impact production quality.

MCADCafe Interviews Marc Soucy, President, InnovMetric in 2022

PolyWorks 2023 Covers Product and Process Design Phases

The new PolyWorks release goes into improves all phases of product and process design.

According to Soucy, “PolyWorks 2023 improves all of the phases of the dimensional management process from design and tooling, validation, and production. We think that there’s a lot of inefficiencies in the current processes, and we want to help customers use digital transformation to transform their processes and bring 3D measurement data at the heart of their processes because there’s a lot of value in 3D measurement data, and the usage of 3D measurement data has really exploded in recent years. But, there’s still a lot of process about this data that is done manually. For example, people save files on local hard drives. They share files by copying files on network disks. These are not efficient processes of the 2020s. We need to help our customers move to the digital processes.”

The PolyWorks|Inspector solution helps reduce time-to-market by measuring, controlling, and analyzing 3D dimensions at every stage of the product and process design phases. With PolyWorks|Inspector 2023, 3D measurement specialists can now set up measurement templates and perform 3D measurement tasks more efficiently. They can:

  • Analyze and edit large measurement sequences quickly by finding steps using keyword searches or navigating through step types, such as errors and warnings;
  • Replace the source objects of a dependent feature and preserve all related objects, data alignments, and reports created from this feature;
  • Create curve-based features in a single click over a polygonal model of a measured piece to rapidly inspect a piece without CAD data.

Mixed reality display technologies provide localized visual guidance, measurement feedback, and access to inspection functionalities, without encumbering the hands of operators. The PolyWorks|AR 2023 mixed reality app offers new powerful tools to guide laser scanning, review inspection results, and collaborate with colleagues. Users can now:

  • Position the hologram of the PolyWorks|Inspector 3D Scene window within the operator’s field of view to see scanning progression, perform additional scanning in areas of poor data quality, and pinpoint exactly where to scan features;
  • Review feature deviations and color maps directly over the measured piece;
  • Call colleagues through Microsoft Teams to review inspection results collaboratively and discuss manufacturing issues efficiently.

The PolyWorks|PMI+Loop Model-Based Definition solution allows manufacturing organizations to manage all the dimensional controls defined by the design and manufacturing teams within their native CAD platform. By associating dimensional controls to CAD geometries within CAD software, PolyWorks|PMI+Loop can automatically update these controls when the CAD model is modified and provide the digital traceability needed to accelerate the integration of a CAD design change within an inspection project. With version 2023, InnovMetric has improved the speed of its MBD solution by an order of magnitude and significantly reduced CAD file size. PolyWorks|PMI+Loop is available for the Siemens NX, PTC Creo, and DS SolidWorks CAD platforms.

Validation Phase

Measurement System Analysis tools are essential to guarantee the capability of 3D measurement processes prior to certifying production tools. Since version 2021, users could launch a repeatability or gauge R&R study directly from PolyWorks|Inspector, be guided to capture the required probe, scan, or gauge data, and review the results within an updateable Excel spreadsheet linked to the inspection project. With PolyWorks 2023, InnovMetric has improved the speed of data transfer to Excel while removing previous limitations in terms of the number of dimensional controls, iterations, measured pieces, and operators.

Production Phase

PolyWorks 2023 offers major evolutions to manage data from production lines and resolve manufacturing issues faster:

  • Customers can now store up to one million pieces sampled from a production line within a single inspection project;
  • Operators can monitor the production’s dimensional trends at a glance by displaying hundreds of charts at once within the PolyWorks|DataLoop Web Interface;
  • PolyWorks|DataLoop users can now automatically find the root causes of issues by performing statistical analyses of association, identifying the factors that impact production quality, and reviewing results presented in plain language with clear graphical aids.

Data Management

The PolyWorks|DataLoop data management solution stores 3D measurement data on central servers and digitally interconnects all the people that capture or need access to 3D measurement information. With version 2023, InnovMetric has simplified the deployment of PolyWorks|DataLoop:

  • InnovMetric now offers templates to install, configure, and start its data management solution on the Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS cloud infrastructure in less than 15 minutes;
  • PolyWorks|DataLoop now supports Azure AD and the SAML 2.0 authentication protocol to interconnect with corporate identity servers.

When asked what makes PolyWorks unique and differentiated, Soucy replied, “We are the only solution in the market that offers a complete end-to-end digital 3D measurement workflow. From 3D measurement planning and execution to the consumption of 3D measurement data through web and mobile interfaces, and the resolution of manufacturing issues. Moreover, each of the three PolyWorks fundamental components are unique in the market. For example, our universal platform allows portable metrology CNC and CMM operators to use the same workflow and software tools to prepare their inspection projects, execute the measurement sequence, and analyze and report measurement results.”

We have even integrated digital gauges and visual checks to bring all relevant data under one roof. Then our clients can directly upload their 3D measurement projects within our data management system and consume this 3D measurement data in real time within our web and mobile interfaces. We now offer the capability of handling one million measured pieces within a single inspection project.”

“We offer the only data management system capable of managing the digital twins of the output of entire production lines. Finally, we are the first company in the market to have interconnected its 3D measurement platform to the other digital solutions of manufacturing organizations. For example, we provide add-ins for native CAD platforms that I mentioned previously. The goal here is to define 3D measurement plans within CAD and automate the consumption of these plans within 3D measurement software.”

We even inject hyperlinks that refer to 3D measurement data within CAD models, so CAD operators can directly access 3D measurement data. We can interconnect PolyWorks to PLM systems so you can directly import CAD models from PLM systems. We have digitally interconnected Excel to our data management system, so users can now create smart quality monitoring dashboards that update in real time. It’s not a copy of the data, it’s dynamically linked to the data in the database. Finally, we offer an application programming interface, so you can inject 3D measurement results digitally within any digital enterprise solution such as MES Systems, QMS, and ERP.”

MCADCafe Interviews Marc Soucy, President, InnovMetric at IMTS 2018

Market Trends and What’s Next For InnovMetric?

Soucy was asked what are the latest market trends he is seeing?

“As I mentioned, we are a lot now in the digital transformation. And I mentioned earlier that there’s been an explosion in the use of 3D measurement technologies in our market, but unfortunately, 3D measurement and related processes are performed generally in much the same way as 20 years ago. These dated processes are inefficient, expensive, and prone to error. Fortunately, most of these manufacturing organizations have finally started to realize the negative impact of these issues and are taking steps to correct them.”

“In recent in-person seminars that we have organized, nearly 100% of the participants told us that they are interested by our data management solution for their 3D measurement data. So I think that the most important trend in our market is that manufacturing organizations are now aware that a transition towards digital 3D measurement processes is needed for them to thrive in the future. I think that’s a big thing we see in the market. Virtually everybody realizes they have to go to digital. It’s inevitable.”

When asked what’s next for InnovMetric and PolyWorks, Soucy summed things up by saying, “For 10 years, we have invested heavily in digital technologies, which today allows us to help our customers increase their use of 3D measurement data while reducing their operating costs. What is our secret? We digitally interconnect our customers’ platforms, such as CAD and PLM, PolyWorks, and Microsoft solutions. As a result, we can now easily provide business processes that previously required three or four different software and react in real time to problems on the production line while our decisions are based on factual 3D measurement data. Moreover, our customers can now deploy our data management solution in less than 15 minutes, which is a major breakthrough for small- and medium-sized enterprises,” said Soucy. He concluded, “For manufacturing organizations that are still questioning the relevance of their digital transformation, the question to ask is no longer why, but when.”

For More Information: InnovMetric

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