Nikon opens up about Quality 4.0

A recent interview with Nikon’s corporate vice president Tadashi Nakayama provides insight into the strategy of the firm’s Industrial Metrology Business Unit, of which he is deputy general manager.

In particular, he explained the company’s strategic focus on Quality 4.0, where digital, automated and connected inspection enables complete process control from design through to manufacture.
The core elements of a Quality 4.0 based process are the requirement for the automated measurement of key features on components, as close to real-time as possible, plus the need to acquire digital results and feed them back directly to machinery, thereby controlling production automatically. In this way, the quality function drives the manufacturing process, guaranteeing the best possible products.
Nikon Metrology is committed to ensuring that its measuring systems lead the field in Industry 4.0, and this policy was underlined by Nakayama. At the heart of Quality 4.0 is the interconnection of inspection and production. The goal is to enable manufacturers to produce better products at lower cost, accelerate their response to changes in demand, shorten the time to market and achieve greater overall competitiveness.
Nikon Metrology has already supplied Industry 4.0-enabled QC systems to customers in Europe, Asia and the US. One example in the German automotive industry involves rapid, automatic measurement of the position of studs on the underbody of cars in a production line. Accuracy is checked to within 100 µm using multiple laser radar systems.
Nikon Metrology’s strategy over the next few years will be two-fold. First, from a technical perspective, the collection of digital measurement data will be paramount to enable intelligent process control systems, whether locally or in the cloud. Secondly, Nikon is increasing its focus on building even stronger relationships with customers.
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