In the course of the past decade, the first prototypes of multisensor coordinate measuring machines were further developed to systems suitable for serial production. Today a wide variety of sensors is available for almost all measuring tasks. The Werth Fiber Probe with its three-dimensional functionality was developed for measuring micro-geometries, and the VideoCheck® UA measuring machine has been equipped with 1 nm resolution. The Werth Fiber Probe and the Werth Contour Probe can be used for roughness testing. The corresponding software integrates all of the required functions and also takes ergonomic requirements into consideration.

One of the major tasks during the coming years will be to minimize the relatively high costs of operator training, measurement plans and programming. An ever increasing number of activities will be transferred from the operator to the computer based on the existing CAD data interface. Future software packages featuring “artificial intelligence” will define measurement plans based on CAD models and prompt the user to enter subjective answers to specific questions (for example, the required reference coordinate systems).

An effort is now under way to further reduce the sensitivity of optical sensors in response to negative workpiece influences (such as surface topography and color). Intelligent software modules will likely be integrated for this purpose.

Driven by the general need for tighter tolerances in production, further increases in precision can be expected especially in the areas of micro- and nanotechnology. Special engineering emphasis will be placed on the area of multi-point measurement of complex parts with X-ray tomography, and associated 3-DCAD- based software modules.

The large variety of possibilities offered by multisensor coordinate metrology will ensure its more widespread use and in the future, this discipline will become the general standard of measurement in quality assurance processes.