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What is Metrology & Why is it Important in Manufacturing?

May
10
2013

Whether you realize it or not, metrology has played an important role in the production of many of the products you use on a day to day basis—from your laptop to the car you drive. But what exactly is Metrology, and why is it important?

A computer running Zeiss's CALYPSO software, which is used by CMM programmers to measure manufactured parts within a millionth of an inch. PTC offers the only fully equipped Zeiss metrology lab at a technical college in South Carolina

The Science Behind Quality Control

Put simply, Metrology is the science of measurement.

It’s the technology behind the quality assurance processes in manufacturing that ensure your car runs the way it should, your computer’s processor works properly and many more aspects of daily life that most of us take for granted—until something goes wrong.

In manufacturing, hundreds or thousands of parts are produced each week. Most of these are produced by machines that are programmed by workers. And in modern manufacturing, every one of these parts must be produced to precise specifications to ensure a quality finished product.

Over time, the machinery that produces these individual parts can shift slightly, become dull, or lose alignment in a way that causes problematic differences.

That’s where metrology comes in.

A Quality Control Inspector, a metrologist, or a machine operator with metrology experience can take the parts that have been produced and ensure they meet the specifications required for the finished product. If the measurements are off, the machines can then be adjusted to bring the parts back into spec.

This process is ongoing in advanced manufacturing.

As quality demands have continued to increase, one of the challenges has been that the human eye is incapable of measuring with the precision necessary to produce the highest quality parts needed.

In industries where precision is important, like automotive, aerospace, technology and more, metrology technology like Coordinate Measuring Machines have been adopted to make measurements to within a millionth of an inch.

Why is This Important to You?

The widespread adoption of precision metrology in the automotive industry is one reason you can count on cars to last longer than they used to.

At one time, owning a car that lasted 100,000 miles was an accomplishment. Now, it’s pretty common for cars to last 200,000, and even 300,000 miles and still be going strong.

This huge increase in quality is due to automotive manufacturers paying close attention to every part that goes into the car you drive, and making sure those products fit together exactly right, every time one comes off the assembly line.

These advances have been made possible by metrology technology.

Precision Metrology Training at PTC

Machinists and CNC programmers who understand metrology are valued highly in manufacturing. If you’re looking for training, Piedmont Technical College offers the only fully equipped Zeiss metrology lab at a technical college in South Carolina. Learn more about PTC’s Precision Metrology program, offered at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens, SC today.

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