Brown & Sharpe (North Kingstown, Rhode Island) has adopted a new color scheme, changed its corporate logo, and implemented a single-brand strategy for its metrology products. The company has also formed a new business entity to design and develop advanced measurement and inspection software.
The new color scheme and logo will be the most apparent external change. When you see coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and other metrology equipment in a distinctive charcoal, yellow and gray color scheme, you'll know they are from Brown & Sharpe. The new logo, equally distinctive, is derived from a decimal point and three zeros, the one farthest to the right being split. The idea is to suggest precision down to a half micron, or the highest level of measuring precision.
While these changes may appear superficial and driven by marketing rather than by the market, they complement other changes that go much deeper, changes that do represent a response to important trends sweeping the major users of metrology equipment. For example, many of these users operate manufacturing facilities in several countries to serve a global customer base. Issues of system compatibility, training, service, upgrading and pricing put a premium on standardized equipment purchases. Having a single supplier of metrology devices and service favors these global operations and promotes efforts to standardize, but only if that supplier has worldwide distribution and worldwide service capability.
With its strategic acquisitions of metrology companies overseas and its refocused divisions in the United States, Brown & Sharpe has positioned itself to fulfill such a mission. However, the image of this company as global supplier of metrology equipment with a broad but coherent array of products was obscured by the numerous brand names and separate company identities it found itself supporting. The single brand strategy is designed to clarify the company's image in the global marketplace.
Under the new branding strategy, the DEA-Brown & Sharpe factory in Turin, Italy, changes its name to Brown & Sharpe DEA with the products manufactured there branded by the new name also. Likewise, the Leitz-Brown & Sharpe factory in Wetzlar, Germany, will change its name to Brown & Sharpe with products manufactured there branded Brown & Sharpe. In the Precision Measuring Instruments operation, the TESA and ROCH factories will change their names to Brown & Sharpe TESA and Brown & Sharpe ROCH. All of their brands will now carry the new logo and the line, "A Brown & Sharpe Company."
The new software company has been named Brown & Sharpe Information Systems, Inc. (BSIS) and will be headquartered in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. BSIS consolidates the company's software expertise and focuses this expertise on the development of open-architecture measurement software. The new software will be designed to work with CAD/CAM and off-line inspection systems. The vision of BSIS is to make metrology software the essential link between design and manufacturing.
In this vision, software will establish a "bi-directional information bridge between design and manufacturing." Both disciplines will rely on metrology information to make critical decisions. Tolerancing, for example, will help connect what designers can design with what the factory can produce. Designers will work within manufacturing realities (process capabilities as they exist on the factory floor). Likewise, manufacturing will be able to apply design intent without misinterpretation.
According to Chris Garcia, vice president of software product development, the new software must be able to seamlessly interface with all CAD systems so that CAD models do not have to be translated when they are downloaded to the measuring system, thus providing the user with an accurate analysis of the tolerances that a process must maintain on the part for a complete assessment of design intent. Initial release of the new software from BSIS is scheduled for the first quarter of 1999.
In the meantime, the company continues to roll out innovative metrology products such as the GAGE 2000 R Series Measurement Station. It can be used as a full-featured CMM with a manual scanning option. The manual scanning mode allows operators to collect a large number of data points by moving a hard probe along the surface of a workpiece feature, maintaining contact with the workpiece throughout the operation.