By: Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio
Manufacturers nowadays are progressively looking to automation in order to propel operational efficiency and overcome skill shortages on the shop floor. To control manufacturing processes on the shop floor, the need for new process control methods, such as gauging systems are increasing.
In a conversation with Steve Bell, General Manager of Renishaw ASEAN, at the recent Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific 2022 (ITAP 2022) in Singapore, he highlighted the Equator 300 and 500 flexible gauge system, which is suitable for automation requirements.
According to Steve, the Equator 300 versatile gauge is a smaller standalone Equator, while the Equator 500 is the larger system that enables the gauging of larger parts, with a working volume of 500mm in diameter and up to 400mm in height. Both are designed to provide speed, repeatability, and ease of use for manual or automated applications.
“We are showing the Equator here at the show to demonstrate how it can help customers in an automation environment. Our focus is very much on products that land themselves to automation, such as our Equator, automated gauging system, machine tool probing, calibration those are the areas we are focused on” he explained.
Equator gauging system
The Equator is a highly valuable option for manufacturers who are looking to replace their current gauging method. Its system enables process control by delivering highly repeatable, thermally insensitive, versatile, and re-programmable gauging to the shop floor.
Purchasing an Equator will see a rapid return on investment – Equator’s automated system can greatly increase throughput and naturally will simultaneously reduce labour costs. The Equator is also a fraction of the cost of an equivalent custom gauging system, including associated fixturing. There is also no need to pay for expensive rework of custom gauges in order to gauge modified or new parts because of the Equator’s re-programmable readiness.
Most users of Equator systems need short cycle times to maximise throughput from their manufacturing processes. Both Equator 300 and 500 systems, while maintaining high levels of repeatability, are capable of rapid scans and high-speed touch points on a wide variety of features. Years of customer experience with Equator systems have proven the capability to gauge size, position, and geometry on a single device. This can eliminate the need to stabilise parts to the temperature of the quality room prior to measuring geometry and form of critical features.
Improved efficiency solution
Steve said that its message is all about “Improved Efficiency Solution.” “I think more than future trends, we see a continuation of where things are going right now. I think we are going to see quite a difficult time for the world economy and we must be as efficient as we can be. Both in terms of our own operation and the products that we sell to our customers. The future is going to be electric vehicles (EVs), wherein everything will be connected with EV-- the battery production, energy production in general. All those are pretty much our focus,” he stated.
Market growth in South East Asia
As restrictions ease and borders open in South East Asia, more opportunities arise for market expansion. With countries now on the road to recovery after massive losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, the region is once again becoming one of the world’s most attractive emerging markets.
For Renishaw, the company is maximising the market opportunities in South East Asia. There is a wealth of opportunities for its business in the region. Steve shared, “Singapore’s semiconductor industry has received a lot of growth. We also see oil and gas coming back strong, including aerospace. Thailand still has a lot of business with automotive, while consumer electronics are growing in Vietnam and the Philippines.”
Newly renovated Bangkok facility
With the promising outlooks for Renishaw in South East Asia, the company is refurbishing its Bangkok facility. “Right now, we are doing a major overhaul of our Bangkok facility. Steve revealed, “We are building a state-of-the-art showroom on the ground floor. This is a major refurbishment. Thailand still has a lot of business with automotive, but increasingly more on EV projects coming into Thailand.”
He added, “The refurbished facility makes it more feasible, logistically, for Renishaw to work cooperatively with customers and potential customers in Thailand, and develop solutions specific to them.”
The renovated Bangkok facility is designed to provide venues where automation adoption process can be accelerated. Steve, further said, “We can give companies cost-effective, hands-on experience of our products, combined with application engineering support to optimise their design, and post-processing capabilities to ensure that it performs as it should.”
The increased production of new energy vehicles, including hybrids and full EVs, has seen a major shift in automotive engineering and manufacturing practices. Production flexibility and adaptability as technologies are continually refined are fundamental to commercial success on the journey to EV.
Steve disclosed, “One of our important strategies is to recognise that the internal combustion engine (ICE) will not be around that much longer. A lot of our customers especially for inspection and metal cutting products are heavily involved with that industry. So, we must shift our focus to the future which is EV. We are very much involved in developing products and systems to address the needs of the EV industry. There are a lot of things happening in the EV industry, consequently we will also be developing a lot of products to address these needs.”
As new automotive technologies continue to be refined, production flexibility and adaptability will be fundamental to commercial success on the road from conventional ICE to full battery EV. Renishaw's manufacturing solutions provide the speed, flexibility, and ease of use to help you adapt your production for this electric future.
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