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Belinda Jones


Coordinate Metrology Society Releases Measurement Study Report, “How Behavior Impacts Your Measurement”

Published: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 13:16

The Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) has released the long-awaited results of its large-scale, interactive measurement study conducted during the 2011 Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC), which was held July 25–29 in Phoenix. The 58-page report, “How Behavior Impacts Your Measurement,” focuses on measurement strategies and behaviors of coordinate metrologists. Metrology is the science of measurement, and professionals in this field work in diverse industries such as aerospace, automotive, power generation, and more. The report can be downloaded here.

More than 100 conference attendees participated in the data collection activity over a two-day period at the conference. Participants were asked to:
• Measure a car door using a combination of a laser tracker, retro reflectors, and software
• Measure an engine compartment using a combination of an articulating arm, probe and software
• Measure a vehicle using a combination of a laser tracker, probing, and laser-scanning system

Participants were observed for best practices and appropriate behaviors during the measurement process. The study was coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), assisted by members of the CMS Certification Committee.

Study authors Keith Bevan from NPL and Trevor Toman, metrology manager at Coventry University, analyzed the results of the study and compiled their conclusions into the new report. The measurement criteria used during the research project enabled the authors to examine various training and assessment techniques, such as the evaluation of questioning methods, practical task monitoring and demonstration, and the participant’s prior learning and experience level. Nearly a quarter of the participants had less than three years of measurement experience, a dozen fell in the midrange of three to seven years of experience, while 69 participants were veteran metrologists with more than seven years of hands-on experience with various measurement systems.

“The outcome of this study drives home the importance of defined best practices, and understanding measurement fundamentals that enable an individual to make informed judgments about a measurement,” says Bevan. “This is irrespective of the technology used, whether it is hand tools or 3-D portable metrology systems. Clearly, questioning and planning the requirements of the measurement help reduce the possibility of making poor measurements.”

The final report reveals conclusions based on 3-D measurement tasks executed with little or no instruction, as compared to 3-D measurements acquired using given procedures, or a participant guiding an operator with methods to collect the needed measurements. The study was sponsored by Metrologic Group and its U.S. subsidiary, ATT Metrology.

Measurement studies support certification progress

The CMS has taken a leadership role in moving toward a formal certification program for career metrologists. In 2009, the CMS Certification Committee was formed to consider the need for professional certification in the field of metrology. After considerable market research and an investigation of existing certifications, the group determined a properly structured certification program would be of value to the CMS. The committee began developing a preliminary body of knowledge. This effort spawned two major measurement studies in 2010 and 2011 that have provided sound statistical evidence that supports the effects of operator input, or technique, on the outcome of measurement data.

In 2010, the CMS Certification Committee performed a statistical study at CMSC aimed at identifying skill gaps in the general metrology community. The open measurement workshop enticed more than 200 attendees to test their knowledge of core metrology principles based on a variety of “hand tools” used in dimensional measurement. Those eye-opening results were presented again at this year’s conference, when the committee reported significant progress and announced that the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) would partner with the CMS in personnel certification.

Study author Keith Bevan will appear on Quality Digest Live Nov. 11, 2011 at 2 p.m. EST to discuss study results

In the coming year, formal documents will be drafted to determine the roles, responsibilities, authority, and accountability of each organization. Once the relationship is defined, a project plan will be written to outline the tasks needed to bring industry-recognized personnel certification in portable 3-D metrology to fruition.


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.