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Belinda Jones


Field Trip: PrecisionPath Consortium Meets at Quality Show

Published: Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 11:05

This past summer, the Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were awarded an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. Established in 2013, the NIST AMTech Program reinforces strategic partnerships between U.S. industry, academia, and government. The program strives to form new industry-led coalitions and strengthen existing ones to tackle shared technical barriers and accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing.

“The CMS-UNC Charlotte alliance is a natural progression of our charter to foster the advancement of three-dimensional measurement throughout industry,” says Ron Hicks, CMS past chair and AMTech committee chair. “The Coordinate Metrology Society is the one association that connects all of the industry players—end users, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), software developers, and service providers—involved in large-scale manufacturing endeavors. 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.”

At the 2015 CMSC in July, the PrecisionPath Consortium for Large-Scale Manufacturing held its inaugural meeting to discuss team-building strategies, short- and long-term goals, and project timelines. The group is tasked to 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 and UNC Charlotte are ideally suited to lead the charge of this initiative. The Coordinate Metrology Society has been the premier membership association for 3D portable measurement professionals since 1984. The organization has conducted intensive measurement studies for many years to engage the metrology community in the practical methodology and best practices required to support certified operators and programmers. UNC Charlotte recently opened the doors of its new Siemens Energy Large Manufacturing Solutions Laboratory at the university, which will be used to support collaborations of industry and academia in the research and development of next-generation manufacturing technologies.

Roadmap for innovation

The second meeting of the PrecisionPath planning and visioning council was held during the Quality Show on Wed., Oct. 29, 2015, at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois. From the start, this gathering was all business and began with refining the project scope and boundaries. The council discussed the critical challenges in producing large products to precision tolerances, and then transitioned into identifying metrology technology families used by industry, along with the most important attributes of these systems for measurement and inspection.

The afternoon session progressed smoothly with lively group interactions and the use of sophisticated meeting facilitation technology to capture the input. The consortium took up usage scenarios and amassed data on how portable metrology is being used to support diverse applications across different disciplines. The group proceeded to pinpoint sources of expertise and data for use in the roadmapping process, and firmed up the framing and vision of the PrecisionPath Roadmap project. The organization’s structure and operational model were finalized, and the meeting concluded with the election of a board of directors and an overview of marketing objectives.

Representatives from leading manufacturing companies attended the meeting, including Michael Jones, Siemens; Bob Elliott, Lockheed Martin; Chris Barrow, Lockheed Martin; Glen Cork, Spirit AeroSystems; Matthew Ilardo, Brookhaven National Labs; and Mons Lee, The Boeing Co. OEMs and metrology service providers were represented by Ron Hicks, Automated Precision (API); Patrick Welch, New River Kinematics (NRK); Joel Martin, Hexagon Metrology; Rina Molari, Hexagon Metrology and 2016 CMS chair; Ray Ryan, ECM Global Measurement Solutions; and Ron Rode, Planet Tool and Engineering. Consortium organizers are Ron Hicks, CMS AMTech chair, and UNC Charlotte representatives Ed Morse, John Ziegert, Ram Kumar, and Antonis Stylianou. Other supporting attendees included Tom Lettieri, NIST; Danuta McCall, Facilitate.com; and Belinda Jones, HiTech Marketing.

The next meeting will be held in Feb. 2016 in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. Interested metrology professionals from the large-scale manufacturing sector who can commit to attending three more PrecisionPath technical meetings and associated conference calls during the next two years are invited to contact Ron Hicks.


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.