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Belinda Jones


The PrecisionPath Consortium Releases Technology Road Map for Large-Scale Manufacturing

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 09:02

The PrecisionPath Consortium (PPC) for Large-Scale Manufacturing has completed and released their Technology Road Map for Large-Scale Manufacturing. The consortium is a collaboration of commercial-industry partners, the Coordinate Metrology Society, and the UNC Charlotte working to determine and prioritize the technology requirements of manufacturers producing large-scale, high-accuracy parts and products. The PrecisionPath technology road map project was funded by an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. The full report is available at the PPC website and can be downloaded here.

PrecisionPath team leaders and participants of each working group have contributed a large body of research on technologies and drivers, usage applications, and other critical areas of study. An industry-at-large survey of users and managers of portable metrology systems was also conducted over a six-month period to capture valuable insights from professionals in the metrology field. The survey inquired about existing capabilities and requirements, as well as anticipated future needs, for portable metrology systems used in large-scale precision manufacturing.

The PrecisionPath Technology Road Map details all aspects of the metrology industry as it relates to the challenges of large-scale manufacturing today. The research covers market drivers, technology families, usage scenarios, industry standards, data management, and workforce development. Based on data analysis and the industry survey, the report outlines a variety of trends that cut across multiple 3D measurement technology families. These findings are expected to drive consequential changes in both hardware and software solutions as manufacturers make incremental moves toward smart factory initiatives.

The road map also identified serious vulnerabilities within the industry due to the lack of a vibrant workforce, current skill sets, and the shedding of nearly 25 percent of the metrology workforce retiring in the next 5 years. The consortium provides a checklist of urgent actions to develop a future, sustainable workforce. The 70+ page road map captures the mindshare of industry professionals, the scope and potential of the next-generation, data-driven factory, and the evolution of measurement technologies needed to support the future of the large-scale manufacturing industry.

The closing draft of the PPC Technology Road Map was presented to all PPC members for a final review prior to its launch. The consortium also discussed the importance of current workforce issues in the field of metrology and will focus on research in this area for its next project, which will curtail into upcoming initiatives of the CMS Education Sub-Committee. Interested metrology professionals who can commit to attending PrecisionPath technical meetings and conferences are urged to contact CMS committee chair Ron Hicks at ron.hicks@apisensor.com or Ed Morse at emorse@uncc.edu.

The PrecisionPath Consortium is comprised of representatives from leading manufacturing companies including Lockheed Martin, Newport News Shipbuilding, BMW, The Boeing Co., Caterpillar, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Spirit AeroSystems, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Siemens. Participating OEMs and metrology service providers includes Automated Precision (API), New River Kinematics (NRK), Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, ECM Global Measurement Solutions, Nikon Metrology, FARO Technologies, Brunson Instrument Co., Verisurf Software, and Planet Tool and Engineering. Consortium organizers are Ron Hicks, CMS PrecisionPath chair, and UNC Charlotte representatives Ed Morse with support from John Ziegert, Ram Kumar, and Antonis Stylianou. Thomas Lettieri of NIST serves in a consulting role for the consortium.


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.