Although the principles and science of metrology have not changed, the world of dimensional inspection is always evolving. Advances in technology and a changing political landscape will influence the direction of the industry and play a role in the technology available to manufacturers. Preparing for these changes can help ensure that manufacturers can be confident that metrology labs provide the best service possible.
5 Predictions for the Future of Dimensional Inspection
1. There will be an increase in the use of 3D scanning.
Of all the technologies used in dimensional inspection, 3D scanning is one of the least mature despite how long it has existed. However, it is a proven technology that is rapidly becoming more widely known and accepted. Although 3D scanning is not likely to make other technologies obsolete, it is quickly becoming an essential tool for manufacturers that need dimensional inspection.
2. The United States will need more dimensional inspection capability.
Globalization has changed the manufacturing industry in the United States, but the pendulum is swinging back. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. employment in the manufacturing sector has been steadily on the rise since 2010. Several factors contribute to the shift that is starting to occur:
- Labor rates are increasing in China, bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.
- Quality concerns are driving manufacturers to desire more control over manufacturing processes and quality.
- Shipping times influence where a product is manufactured.
- Strides in automation have made manufacturing in the U.S. more affordable.
- The U.S. economy is gradually improving.
3. More engineers will be required to provide these services.
The trend toward bringing manufacturing back to the United States means more metrology services will be required, which means that more engineers will be needed to perform these services. This increase in demand translates into more metrology courses at universities and better technical facilities for students. The end result for manufacturers is a larger pool of talent with better dimensional inspection skills.
4. Accuracy requirements will become increasingly more stringent.
As technology evolves, regulatory and quality requirements have become more and more stringent. This trend is only expected to continue, which means working with a provider that can meet increasingly high standards will be more important than ever for manufacturers.
5. New technology will continue to be introduced to the industry.
New technologies from the private sector will continue to be adapted and adopted by dimensional inspection departments and providers. These technologies are expected to be better, faster, and more cost-effective. Some of this technology will be bold and game-changing.
What does all of this mean for people performing dimensional inspection? We must be prepared to adapt to the changing landscape by being open to new technologies, by supporting the educational institutions that will produce the next generation of engineers, and by ensuring that we have the capacity to respond to the increasing demand and complexity in the industry.
What do these predictions mean for manufacturers? You want a lab that has their finger on the pulse of the industry. Talk to your metrology provider about their approach to new technologies and the changing landscape of dimensional inspection. No matter what happens to the industry in the future, Q-PLUS Labs is committed to staying on the cutting edge of dimensional inspection. If you are interested in learning more about how our breadth and depth of experience can fill your metrology needs, request a quote today. What are your own predictions for the future of dimensional inspection?