Kevin M. Kelly
Data. It can make or break a product launch, especially when that data comes from measuring devices used to determine whether parts are stamped and assembled in accordance with quality requirements. The problem is there are thousands of different gages measuring everything from assembly gaps to stamping accuracy, and often those measures are reported in a proprietary format, which means OEM and Tier 1 engineering departments must translate the data points into single, common sets of values that can be understood by all facets of the organizations. DaimlerChrysler, for instance, receives measurement data in more than 2,000 different data formats, requiring dozens of programmers to sift through all of it to make sure it is understood by its CAD and product lifecycle management systems. This adds unnecessary cost and time to vehicle development programs.
That is why the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG; Southfield, MI; www.aiag.org) formed a Metrology Interoperability Project Team tasked with developing a common, open-format XML language that can be used across a majority of existing gage equipment, allowing all suppliers and OEMs to use a universal language to decipher measurement data. The language, set for release in June, is expected to help facilitate an open exchange of measurement data throughout the supply chain. “The project was brought into AIAG by GM about a year ago,” said Akram Yunas, AIAG collaborative engineering & product development program manager. “What this standard will do is act like a portal for incoming data irrespective of what the device is and translates it into one common language for the output. That’s basically where the scope of the project ends because we are not concerned with what is done with the data.”
While DaimlerChrysler has already expressed its commitment to rollout of the language in the near future, Yunas says AIAG is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; www.nist.gov), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to assist in expanding the language for use in other industries: “We did not focus on developing this standard to be automotive-specific, so NIST is looking at applications for the aerospace and defense industries.” Once AIAG completes the rollout of the language it will begin tackling a common language set to be shared among optical scanning equipment, with a task force studying the issue throughout the year.—KMK