Small consumer products pack an enormous amount of technology into tiny units. In smartphones and wearable devices, tolerances are tight, making overall dimensional control critical as more electronics are squeezed into small spaces.
While much of the focus is on the electronics, the same dimensional control applies to the mechanical aspects of a system — the boards, screws and fasteners, connectors, the housing, and the increasingly tight connections between user interface elements like buttons and the electronics they control.
On the other hand, parts with complex cosmetic features have critical dimensions that require greater precision and handling flexibility (such as a knee joint) — capabilities that are often not available in standard metrology and inspection systems. There’s a growing need for high speed inspection stations that can measure complex part geometries.
Due to these complexities, manufacturers are moving toward 100% automated dimensional inspection as an essential aspect of their advanced manufacturing processes. Metrology is now a critical process control driver, with measurement data guarding against process deviations and providing feedback to component suppliers to help maintain tight processes.