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Introducing Nikon Industrial Metrology
Nikon will continue to create new values that contribute to the enrichment of daily life and society by supporting the development of imaging culture, the realization of a super-smart society, the improvement of quality of life, and manufacturing in a wide variety of forms.
The strategy of the corporation’s Industrial Metrology Business Unit (IMBU) over the coming decades is to continue moving forward in lockstep with customers around the world, taking cooperation to the next level in order to co-create innovative metrology solutions that are unrivalled. To this end, cradle-to-grave business relationships with customers are paramount.
The days of simply delivering a metrology product are long gone. The key point is that IMBU delivers integrated, optimised, ultra-high precision solutions that are not only customised and cost-effective but also work extremely well as soon as they are implemented; and the business unit constantly strives together with customers to improve them further.
A recent development under Nikon’s Digital Manufacturing banner is closer cooperation between IMBU and the corporation’s Digital Solutions Business Unit (DSBU), which has launched the Lasermeister series of optical processing machines. They are capable of both additive and subtractive machining of a wide variety of materials to sub-micron surface finish. This level of accuracy is well suited to the manufacture of high precision components, as well as to micro fabrication of precision dies and linear guides requiring ultra-precise surfaces. IMBU will provide the high level of metrology expertise required for these exacting applications.
Harnessing the power of light on the shop floor
“Nikon’s industrial metrology business, in close, long-term cooperation with customers and strategic partners, is transforming itself into an even more responsive provider of holistic measurement and inspection solutions for the shop floor and production line.
Based on the digital, automated, connected principles of Quality 4.0, these solutions will become increasingly bespoke while continuing to be highly efficient, supremely accurate and scalable, not only meeting but far exceeding the reliability and performance expectations of all users, large and small.”
Tadashi Nakayama, Corporate Vice President, Nikon Corporation and General Manager of the Industrial Metrology Business Unit
Digitalisation and automation
Digitalisation is central to ensuring zero defects in customers’ production facilities. It has allowed IMBU to implement Quality 4.0 alongside Industry 4.0. The company’s metrology equipment can be integrated seamlessly into a customer’s manufacturing environment so that digital metrology data can be fed back automatically to optimise production. Measurement should not be a simple arbiter of pass or fail, but a means of adjusting a process on the shop floor to ensure that every component passes. In this way, the quality function is able to drive the manufacturing process via a closed loop, guaranteeing the production of premium products faster and at lower cost due to minimisation of downtime, rework and scrap.
Automation is important, not just to reduce labour costs but also to provide sufficient data for meaningful analysis, as close as possible to real-time and unaffected by the variabilities of human intervention. Artificial intelligence is being used more and more to analyse the large amounts of information generated and correlate the quality control data with the CAD model of the component. It allows component accuracy, repeatability, reproducibility and traceability to be ensured, the aim being 100 per cent product yield.
Three pillars of excellence
To realise successful metrology projects in industry and secure the trust of customers, Nikon’s market-leading products, software and services are deployed such as Laser Radar, X-ray CT and video measuring systems. These three core technologies, all of which may be delivered with robotics and other automation options, are offered alongside the best conventional metrology equipment available. A particular area of expertise that contributes to the generation of reliable data, apart from the group’s renowned optics, is the precision mechanics built into the systems.
There are many examples of automated turnkey quality control solutions delivered by Nikon to leading, globally-renowned customers. One involves the use of Laser Radar for highly accurate gap & flush inspection of vehicles at the end of automotive production lines. Modern X-ray CT systems have greatly speeded up the ability to inspect the inside of lithium-ion batteries as they are being manufactured to ensure their safety. In the electronics industry, NEXIV video measuring technology has been combined with automatic wafer handling to automate the inspection of chips by detection and correction of process drift.
There is a constant focus on R&D to accelerate the creation of technological innovations that further differentiate IMBU’s largely non-contact measurement and inspection systems from those of competitors. Within this business unit alone, more than 250 people are employed worldwide in research and development, representing close to 10 per cent of turnover. Only in this way is the company able to deliver ever better solutions to suit each user’s specific requirements in order to enhance efficiency, flexibility and competitiveness.
Looking to the future
IMBU sees a world coming in which it has a transparent, data-driven, synergistic existence alongside its global customers in both physical and cyber space. This scenario will increase value-added benefits for all concerned by removing unnecessary cost and increasing the speed with which projects are managed.
For the benefit of society as a whole, leveraging innovative technology will also reduce waste and pollution and promote decarbonisation. The Nikon group is aligning its Corporate Social Responsibility priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Likewise, technological advancement will continue to enhance the quality of life of Nikon employees and those of its customers by providing a sustainable, safe, healthy working environment in which people from diverse backgrounds are able to socialise, learn, create and demonstrate their professional abilities.
The Nikon Group is committed to contribute positively to sustainability and growth of communities. We are aligning our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. We have established targets for each priority issue, and we are promoting and managing sustainability activities throughout the entire Group.
Expanding Towards 3D Metrology
With the acquisition of Metris in 2009, Nikon enlarged its portfolio with optical 3D measuring instruments. The new division “Nikon Metrology” today offers the broadest range of metrology solutions for applications ranging from miniature electronics to the largest aircrafts. Nikon Metrology’s innovative measuring and precision instruments contribute to a high performance design-through-manufacturing process that allows manufacturers to deliver premium quality products in a shorter time.
Following product lines are now available in the portfolio.
Optical manual measuring instruments for various industrial applications, providing high precision and ease of operation by integrating machining and optical technology.