During IMTS 2018, we had an opportunity to speak with Mitutoyo America Corp. President Matt Dye to get his perspective on manufacturing and how his company has evolved.

Aerospace Manufacturing and Design: What are you seeing in the industry today?

Matt Dye: We’re seeing a lot of urgency, all of a sudden, for some innovation and some new products. We have a lot of people coming here with immediate needs.

AM&D: Where do you provide solutions for those challenges?

MD: We have nine Solutions Centers around the United States where customers can come and interact with the tools and with some of our engineering staff. At IMTS 2018, we’re showing quite a bit of new technology in terms of coordinate measurement machine (CMM) technology for 5-axis scanning – things to increase throughput and solve some core problems of keeping up with increased demand.

AM&D: I understand you’ve seen some expansion recently.

MD: In the last seven years, we have been redeveloping and growing our presence in various parts of the country. The nine Solutions Centers are an initiative to become more regionally based and more local to key markets. We think a large part of what customers need is a solution, not just a product, but they need to know how to apply it and how to use it. So, we’re supplying a lot of engineering solutions guidance, whether it’s through programming or automation, part handling, or fixturing. And, we’re providing a lot of education.

Mitutoyo around the world has an initiative, the Mitutoyo Institute of Metrology, and we do it here [at Mitutoyo’s America corporate headquarters in Aurora, Illinois] by offering specific metrology courses. We see the future as solutions and education.

AM&D: Has that expansion impacted employment?

MD: We’ve been very fortunate in our 55 years in the United States to have grown a tremendous staff that’s capable of solving questions and problems around the country. We partner with our more than 6,000 employees worldwide, based in Japan and around the world, to solve a lot of the issues we’re facing. In the U.S., we’re growing in engineering and solutions capability. We’re growing in our ability to serve the customer in the products they have and in the education sector. We’re growing, and we’re planning for more growth in the years to come.

AM&D: How is Mitutoyo supporting increasing use of automation and robotics?

MD: The shift started several years ago where people wanted inspection and quality control and process control out on the shop floor. We’re providing solutions today that integrate directly into the lines, or near-line, and it means sometimes we have to have automation for part movement, load, or unload. We’re also seeing robots play an important role in the measurement itself. So, I think the future will bring a lot of on-board sensor technology on robots and in-line systems.

AM&D: How are Big Data and data analysis coming into play?

MD: I think as the conversation of Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) comes to an implementation stage, data will play an important part in making decisions. Our gages collect data, our sensors collect many points. How do we use that to improve the process? In the U.S., we produce a software called MeasurLink, which is our statistical process control (SPC) and data management software. How do we control and do something positive with all those data? Through our MeasurLink software, we can provide important information for decision making to the operator, engineer, management, or to the machine tool itself, so we’re able to provide logic back to the process.

AM&D: How are you involved with the Institute of Certification?

MD: Many companies are coming to train their employees at our Mitutoyo Institute of Metrology program. We’re teaching the basics of dimensional gage use, measurement uncertainty, calculating the error using a particular gage, and important topics such as repair and calibration, as well as geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. We teach these programs through our Institute of Metrology based in Aurora, Illinois, and at our nine Solutions Centers around the country.

AM&D: What efforts are you undertaking to advocate for careers in manufacturing?

MD: There’s a wonderful career opportunity in manufacturing. I think today, the new generation is bringing some wonderful skills, whether it’s design, CAD/CAM technology, or automation and integration. Machine and equipment connectivity will be largely brought on by this generation which has grown up with electronics a large part of their life. We’re adapting our tools as well. For example, in our small tool area, we continue to develop technology for wireless communications and the ability to transfer data. This is how the next generation will operate.

AM&D: What does your IMTS theme “Trusted from End to End” mean?

MD: We control the process and the quality of our product from the foundry all the way through. We have a casting facility in Japan where we’re making the frames for our products. We’re a materials company producing the precision straight edges for glass scales. From the core of measurement, we control quality of the product that’s being assembled into the final gage. We also believe, in addition to providing the final product, we have to provide the full solution; delivering the tool is one part to integrating it into the process. I come back to the solutions part of our business and how that’s really growing. It helps customers implement the gage and achieve what they’re after. From controlling beginning manufacturing quality to implementing the tool, whether it’s in an aerospace facility or automotive plant or other high-tech sector, we have the capability in equipment, process, and people to achieve the best standard in the business.

Mitutoyo America Corp.

About the author: Eric Brothers is senior editor of Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He can be reached at 216.393.0228 or ebrothers@gie.net.