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Belinda Jones


CMSC 2011: Face to Face with the Best and Brightest in Industrial Metrology

International audience explores the latest technologies and methodologies

Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 08:41

If you think the Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC) is a run-of-the-mill conference, be prepared to have those preconceived notions shattered. There is a comfortable grassroots feel to this five-day event. Experts and novices alike talk metrology shop. Ideas and theories abound. Exhibitors are highly knowledgeable and revel in discussing challenging technical applications. As one new attendee confided to me, “No question is a dumb question here.” This educational atmosphere is no mistake. The Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) laser focuses on every detail of the conference to ensure each attendee walks away with a deeper understanding of metrology principles, trends, and applications.

In a nutshell, the CMSC caters to users of portable 3-D coordinate measurement solutions utilized on manufacturing factory floors or by science laboratories. The event attracts an international audience looking to explore the latest technologies and methodologies, including expert and novice metrologists, manufacturing executives, scientists, students, teachers, and more. Conference attendees hail from prominent science and research laboratories, educational institutions, and industries such as aerospace, satellite, automotive, shipbuilding, power generation, and general engineering.

The CMSC is the ideal event for people interested in new career opportunities. The industry is experiencing “a graying of its workforce” and demand for metrologists continues to grow. The conference provides a close-up look at the measurement and inspection industry for college students and those with an understanding of manufacturing, CAD, and engineering principles looking for a new career path. The expert white paper presentations alone are worth the price of admission.

Let’s take a walk through the highlights of the upcoming CMSC being held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on July 25–29, 2011.

Keynote speaker

Frank M. Foeller of The Boeing Co. will be the keynote speaker at the 27th annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference. Foeller is the director of tooling operations for Boeing Defense System, and leader of the Boeing Enterprisewide Tooling Process Action Team. Foeller will discuss the benefits realized by The Boeing Co. from 3-D metrology technology advancements. His conference session is titled “Portable Metrology Advancements Changing the Game for Tool Fabrication and Aircraft Manufacturing and Assembly Investigation.”

With more than 30 years of manufacturing and tooling expertise, Foeller has witnessed the transition from conventional optics to a completely digital environment. Leveraging advancements in hardware and software, the aerospace industry has benefited from efficiencies in fabrication and the increased capability and accuracy of 3-D metrology solutions. Measurement and inspection processes that once required multiple mechanics with a truckload of equipment can now be accomplished with one operator, and portable metrology hardware that can be checked in as baggage.

“To remain competitive in the future, we need to invest in the technological advancements and applications of this technology,” says Foeller. “The industry must continue to work together with suppliers, users, and customers to further the progress. Boeing sees this as our greatest responsibility to remain a leader in the industry. The CMSC partnership has been a driving force to make it happen.”

“We are very pleased that Frank Foeller of The Boeing Co. will be our special guest and keynote speaker for this year’s Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference,” says Talion Edwards, 2011 CMSC chairman. “This is an excellent opportunity for metrology professionals to view our industry through the eyes of an industry veteran, and gain insight into new ideas and applications that will challenge us to move forward. The Coordinate Metrology Society encourages tooling suppliers from all industries to come hear Foeller’s perspective, and add their voices to the technical conversations at the 2011 CMSC.”

Technical presentations

The Coordinate Metrology Society has chosen 26 technical white papers from all corners of the globe to be presented this year at the conference. The 2011 speaker roster is as diverse as the topics to be presented, which include aerospace and automotive metrology applications, reducing plastic-injection molding tool-tuning iterations with scanning technology, measuring cooling holes in gas turbines with computed tomography, measurement strategies in industrial robot applications, reducing engineering time for compensation of large CNC machines, and other applications of photogrammetry, laser trackers, articulating arms, laser radar, 3-D scanners, 3-D vision systems, and more. A full listing of the CMSC 2011 white papers can be found here. The white papers are juried by the CMS executive board, and the conference’s best are published in the society’s esteemed publication, the Journal of the CMSC.

Academic poster presentations, exhibit hall, and networking events

New to the CMSC this year will be the academic posters presented on Wednesday evening, July 27. The Posters Presentation Event gives participants the opportunity to share experiences and information with CMS members via “poster and short oral presentations” showcasing accomplishments in the field. A Best Poster Award will be presented as voted upon by the CMS.

The CMSC exhibitor hall is open for the duration of the conference and showcases portable coordinate measurement machines (PCMMs), software, accessories, peripherals, and service providers for the industrial measurement marketplace. Currently there are 40 exhibitors that provide financial contributions to make the CMSC an outstanding event, and enable its continued growth.

Another bright spot of the conference is the multiple networking events held during the course of the week. These kick off with an icebreaker, and the conference reception and CMSC dinner garner a large attendance.

Large-scale, interactive measurement study and advanced workshops

A large-scale, interactive measurement study will be held during the CMSC. The “How Behaviors Impact Your Measurement” study will be coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the United Kingdom’s National Measurement Institute, and assisted by members of the CMS Certification Committee. All attendees will be encouraged to participate in daily data-collection activity, which will provide hands-on experience with large-volume measurement systems. Participants will perform a series of prescribed measurements using first-principle measurement tools provided by the study’s sponsor, Metrologic Group of Meylan, France. Each participant will be asked to provide information on their level of experience and background in metrology. The purpose of the study is to explore the measurement strategies and behaviors of coordinate metrologists.

A special CMSC workshop focused on the results of the measurement study will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Data collected during the first three days of the conference will be compiled and then examined for measurement variability. The outcome will be presented by the National Physical Laboratory and study sponsor Metrologic Group. The criteria of the measurement tasks will enable various training and assessments techniques to be analyzed, such as the evaluation of prior learning and experience, questioning techniques, and practical task monitoring and demonstration.

This new study is based on the success of last year’s mock gauge repeatability and reproducibility (GR&R) study that attracted an overwhelming majority of 2010 CMSC attendees who expressed enthusiasm for both the conference feedback session and a post-conference survey.

The CMSC 2011 agenda includes three other technical workshops during the week including a 3-D metrology hardware review, a CMS Certification Committee update, and a look at GD&T software as applied to 3-D scan data.


Established in 1984, the CMSC is the longest running conference in its field and is held each year at a different location. There are multiple reasons to attend, but primarily no other trade show rivals the high level of authoritative information provided by CMSC members and master users of portable metrology systems for quality control, quality production, and precision assembly. For information about CMSC 2011 and the Coordinate Metrology Society, visit their website.


About The Author

Belinda Jones’s picture

Belinda Jones

Belinda Jones is the founder and owner of HiTech Marketing LLC, in Westbrook, Connecticut. For more than a decade, Jones has written articles and commentaries about manufacturing, engineering, quality assurance, CAD/CAM/CAE applications, and other high-tech topics. She has extensive experience in marketing communications, technical sales, and applications engineering. Before joining the computer industry, she was a broadcast copywriter for four years. Jones holds degrees in fine arts and mechanical engineering, and studied cultural arts in Europe.