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Belinda Jones


Your Voice, Metrology’s Future: PrecisionPath Consortium Survey Calls on Metrologists

Published: Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 15:00

A year ago, at the 2015 Coordinate Metrology Society Conference (CMSC), the PrecisionPath Consortium for Large-Scale Manufacturing started its journey toward building a sustainable, industry-driven coalition that continues to attract the brightest minds in manufacturing and metrology. The recent 2016 CMSC hosted PrecisionPath’s third working meeting, which was focused on forming strategic working groups and identifying segment leaders to conduct research on industry issues most important to the roadmapping project. Organized by the Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) and UNC Charlotte, the project is funded by an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

To kick off this year’s CMSC, Ed Morse, Ph.D., of UNC Charlotte delivered the keynote address, titled “Forging the Future of Large-Scale Manufacturing,” which covered the progress of PrecisionPath to date. Morse is a professor of mechanical engineering at UNC Charlotte, pursuing research in both tolerancing and metrology. He currently serves as a PrecisionPath team leader along with Ron Hicks, CMS PrecisionPath Chair.

Industrywide survey continues until Oct. 15, 2016

PrecisionPath stakeholders—technology users, managers, OEMs and software developers—hail from all walks of industry. They contribute their time and expertise to map the technology needs imperative to the future of manufacturers producing advanced products from aircrafts to ships to windmills. However, the coalition needs the voices of many experienced metrologists nationwide to better understand the current capabilities and requirements, as well as anticipated future needs of portable metrology systems in support of large-scale precision manufacturing (LPM).

During the CMSC, attendees made their way to the PrecisionPath booth to participate in an industrywide survey addressing usage scenarios, equipment, and issues affecting applicable industries. The PrecisionPath team prepared the survey utilizing member feedback from its intensive “Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis” workshop held in Feb. 2016. An Apple iPad Pro giveaway was conducted until July 30, 2016, and the lucky winner has now been named! He is William Wills, a metrologist at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding.

The Consortium continues to invite and encourage users and managers of portable metrology systems to take the survey at www.PrecisionPathConsortium.com. Participants should select the “Take our Survey” button on the home page to contribute to the PrecisionPath Technology Roadmapping initiative. The assessment is being conducted purely for research purposes and all answers are private. To ensure confidentiality, no identifying personal information is collected with the survey, which will conclude on Oct. 15, 2016.

Workshop No. 3 moves the initiative forward

Consortium members assembled once again to attend the third working meeting held on July 25, 2016 at the CMSC in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The UNC Charlotte and CMS organizers reviewed the progress and early findings of the industry survey, and covered the strategies that will be used to review the data. Discussion covered the roadmapping process and the reports derived from the collective work and opinions of knowledgeable individuals in the field.

The five working groups and team leaders were formed around these topics: technologies, usage/application, standards, data management, and workforce issues. A separate report on industry drivers will also be researched and presented by group leaders at the fourth workshop. Brainstorming sessions were held to deliberate workforce and data management challenges in the industry. The meeting concluded after discussing consortium building for the short- and long-term viability of the work and goals set forth by the PrecisionPath Consortium.

The ongoing collaboration has attracted industry experts from manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Company, Spirit AeroSystems, Newport News Shipbuilding, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Siemens. Participating OEMs and metrology service providers include Automated Precision (API), New River Kinematics (NRK), Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, ECM Global Measurement Solutions, Nikon Metrology, and FARO Technologies. Consortium organizers are Ron Hicks, CMS PrecisionPath Chair, and UNC Charlotte representatives Ed Morse, John Ziegert, Ram Kumar, and Antonis Stylianou. Thomas Lettieri of NIST serves in an advisory role for the consortium.

Workshop No. 4 slated for October

The fourth workshop of the PrecisionPath Consortium will be held on Oct. 26 and 27, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Working groups will present their findings and more brainstorming sessions will be held to flesh out additional concepts in the roadmap. Interested metrology professionals from the large-scale manufacturing sector who can commit to attending technical meetings and associated conferences in the next two years are invited to join by contacting Ron Hicks, CMS Committee Chair at ron.hicks@apisensor.com. For more information on the PrecisionPath Consortium, please visit www.PrecisionPathConsortium.com.


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.