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Mike Richman


Field Report: CMSC 2015

Published: Thursday, August 13, 2015 - 09:23

The 31st annual Coordinate Metrology Society Conference (CMSC), which concluded on July 23rd, delivered some fantastic career-enhancing opportunities for metrologists from 13 nations, representing leading research institutions as well as industries such as aerospace, space hardware, antenna, automotive, shipbuilding, power generation, general engineering, and more. This year’s event occurred at the plush Diplomat Hotel right on the white, sandy beaches of Hollywood, Florida.

The Coordinate Metrology Society is a professional organization of users, service providers, and OEM manufacturers of portable coordinate measurement systems, software, and peripherals. The CMSC caters exclusively to the workforce responsible for delivering close-tolerance measurement and inspection of manufactured and assembled components on the factory floor. The Coordinate Metrology Society convenes once a year to gain knowledge of the advancements and applications of any measurement system or software solution that produces and uses 3D coordinate data. The metrology systems utilized by industry and represented at the conference include laser trackers, articulating arms, scanning systems, laser projection systems, laser radars, photogrammetry systems, iGPS, and more.

Authoritative source for all things 3D metrology

CMSC 2015 delivered an impressive slate of 19 authoritative white papers and application presentations provided by CMS members, special industry guests, and expert users of portable measurement technology, covering a variety of applications from aerospace assembly to shipbuilding to automotive inspection. The agenda included speakers from BMW Manufacturing Company, Newport News Shipbuilding, Northrop Grumman Aerospace, The Boeing Company, Naval Surface Warfare Center, FFT Produktionssysteme GmbH & Co. (Germany), Argonne National Laboratory, National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), National Physical Laboratory (NPL–UK), UNC Charlotte, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Canada), Leibniz University at Hannover (Germany), and many others.

The CMSC's career-enhancement programming included the CMS Level-One and Level-Two Certification exams, an expanded Measurement Zone, user competitions, practical workshops, and an Exhibition Hall teeming with the latest trends and brightest minds serving the technology needs of the portable measurement marketplace. The CMSC Exhibitor Hall was filled with new products, technology previews, and end-to-end solutions. To round out the conference, additional technical and social events were held for veteran and novice CMS delegates, in the spirit of transferring knowledge and education.

At the Monday night icebreaker event, inspirational keynote speaker Dana Bowman parachuted down to the hotel beach and greeted CMSC attendees. Bowman, a retired Sergeant First Class and member of the U.S. Army’s elite Golden Knights parachute team, kicked off the conference with his “life without limits” story on Tuesday morning. A double amputee due to a parachuting accident, Bowman has inspired audiences all over the world. He was the first double amputee to reenlist in the Army and later become the Golden Knight’s lead speaker and recruiting commander during his 20-year military career.

Next-generation Measurement Zone

The CMS also rolled out their largest educational effort to date in the all-new Measurement Zone. Located in the heart of the CMSC Exhibition Hall, the venue offered engaging experiences for attendees through daily activities in five zone areas. The Measurement Zone was coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory (UK), Metrologic, and assisted by the CMS Certification Committee. A laser tracker competition was held during the conference, as well as an advanced user competition testing the skills of expert metrologists with access to multiple measurement devices to complete each task in the contest. A big hit this year was the Metrology Jeopardy Quiz held each day for teams of metrologists competing for prizes and prestige!

Delegates also had the opportunity to test-drive different portable metrology devices—scanners, portable arms, and laser trackers—using a series of scripted measurement processes. Users learned different measurement methods and gained insight into how the CMS Certification and e-Learning Zones support their knowledge to complete the tasks. Educational workshops covered geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) and getting the best out of a laser tracker. eLearning tablets were stationed throughout the Measurement Zone to further support the knowledge and understanding of metrology, from topics like measurement uncertainty to dimensional control techniques.

CMS Certification exams

The CMSC Certification Committee is currently developing Level-Two Certification programs for device-specific assessments. The committee helped to coordinate the Measurement Zone workshops to support this endeavor. During the CMSC, candidates took examinations for the CMS Level-One and Level-Two Certifications. To start the certification process, the applicant needs a minimum of two years actual experience, references from professionals in the field, and must accept the CMS Code of Ethics. Once the conditions are met, the candidate is allowed to take the written exam covering a matrix of topics such as interpretation of design documents, knowledge of various PCMMs, job planning, performance of measurement operations, and analyzing data.

Upon gaining the Level-One Certification, a candidate may apply for the device-specific Level-Two Certification for articulating arms. To qualify, the metrologist must have two years basic experience (minimum 400 hours) on an articulating arm. This assessment is a hands-on evaluation utilizing the PCMM to negotiate a set of designated tasks to prove ability and capture accurate data. In addition, metrologists can earn career-enhancing credentials and apply industry best practices that are embedded throughout these certification assessments. A Level-Two Certification for laser trackers is currently in the works. Because an operator dramatically influences data collection and analysis, it is important for an employer to understand if an employee or a metrology service provider can truly operate portable metrology systems with proficiency.

AMTech grant kick-off meeting

The Coordinate Metrology Society and UNC Charlotte recently announced that they have received an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Grant from NIST. The invitation-only inaugural meeting was held at the CMSC and attended by representatives from top manufacturers, academia, and research organizations. The AMTech Grant is one of 16 awards dedicated to accelerating growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States. These industry-driven coalitions will focus on developing and executing strategic plans to solve common technology challenges. The CMS-UNC Charlotte team will form a consortium for Large-Scale, Precision Manufacturing Innovation (CLPMI). This group will identify and prioritize the technology needs of the aerospace, defense, energy, and other industries that manufacture large-scale, high-accuracy parts and products.

“The CMS-UNC Charlotte alliance is a natural progression of our charter to foster the advancement of three-dimensional measurement throughout industry. The Coordinate Metrology Society is the one association that connects all of the industry players, end users, OEMs, software developers and service providers involved in large-scale manufacturing endeavors,” states Ron Hicks, CMS past chair and AMTech Committee chair. “In partnership with UNC Charlotte, we can set an exciting course toward solving technical obstacles and breaking ground for future innovations. We look forward to the next two years and the practical knowledge to be gained during this trailblazing project.”

Quality Digest video coverage

During our time at CMSC 2015, Quality Digest editor in chief Dirk Dusharme and I had the opportunity to sit down and tape several segments to appear on our weekly web TV show, Quality Digest Live. The first of these, which aired as the “CMSC Corner” on the July 24th episode of our show, featured outgoing and incoming Coordinate Metrology Society chairs Ron Rode and Rina Molari. Check out the clip here:

Then, on our July 31st show, we aired the following clip, this time featuring a technical demo of one of the many great new products featured at the show—GSI’s INCA4 camera, suitable for photogrammetry applications:

Finally, in a show to come on August 28th, we’ll be airing the interview with did with CMS vice chair Keith Bevan of NPL as well as Gary Confalone of ECM Global Measurement Solutions, in which they chatted in the Measurement Zone about the Society’s approach to certification and training. Keep your eye out for that one!

For more information on CMSC and how to join the organization, visit their web site at http://www.cmsc.org/.


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Mike Richman