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Mike Richman


CMS: Still Making Strides

Published: Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 11:37

By any test, and certainly any measure, 2018 was a banner year for the Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) and its keystone event, the Coordinate Metrology Society Conference (CMSC).

From the group’s founding in 1984 until today, the CMS has made a concerted and successful effort to support the advancement of 3D test and measurement solutions, whether in hardware, software, or peripherals. This year was no exception, as the CMS rolled out several exciting new programs and offerings that are sure to help keep them in the forefront of the field.

New certification programs

Training and education has always been a core part of the mission of the CMS; during the past nine years in particular, the group first developed and then rolled out a certification program allowing users to prove their technical competence with a variety of products, including articulated-arm portable coordinate measuring machines (PCMMs) and laser trackers. This involves Level-One Certification, which is a proctored, multiple-choice examination covering foundational theory of the specific technologies in question, and Level-Two Certification, which is a hands-on assessment of the user’s ability to work with the equipment and measure in a way that’s both accurate and repeatable.

Early in 2018, the CMS announced a pilot examination for the industry’s first Level-One Certification for traditional coordinate measuring machines (CMM) operators. This is an online assessment consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions.

At CMSC 2018 in Reno this past July, the society also offered a pilot assessment for a Level-Two Certification program for users of 3D scanners.

To learn more about the CMS’ Certification program, click here.

Welcoming the traditional CMM market

The addition of the Level-One Certification for traditional CMM operators heralded a significant effort in reaching out to this sizeable industrial market.

The applications and environments for traditional CMMs and articulated-arm PCMMs are generally separate and distinct. Traditional CMMs offer unparalleled accuracy but large footprints, often consigning them to clean rooms off the production floor, while PCMMs are slightly less accurate but can be brought out onto the floor to help metrologists achieve critical in-line inspection tasks.

Yet even with these significant differences, users of traditional CMMs and PCMMs share many attributes, including their mutual presence in industrial sectors such as automotive and aerospace, their shared emphasis on repeatable procedures, and their common use of discrete software applications. More to the point, up until the CMS offered its certification, members of the traditional CMM community had lacked the opportunity to gain credentials for their specialized expertise in measurement and inspection. That’s no longer the case.

PrecisionPath Consortium Road Map

The challenges affecting metrology within advanced manufacturing demand an “all hands on deck” attitude; therefore, at CMSC 2015, the CMS announced its partnership with the University of North Carolina Charlotte’s College of Engineering through the PrecisionPath Consortium (PPC). The initiative is funded by an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In October 2018, the PPC released its eagerly awaited Technology Road Map for Large-Scale Manufacturing. The research found in the road map 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 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.

For more information on the PPC’s Technology Road Map for Large-Scale Manufacturing, click here.

Record number of white papers

One of the highlights of each year’s CMSC are the white paper presentations from metrology experts in various industrial sectors as well as academia. These papers show off the projects that are pointing the way forward for the metrology sciences.

Attendees at CMSC 2018 were treated to a record-breaking 28 white paper presentations, covering technologies such as PCMMs, traditional CMMs, laser trackers, photogrammetry systems, laser radar, 3D scanners, inspection software, and more.

The best of the white papers are published in the printed bi-annual Journal of the CMSC and the quarterly CMS World e-newsletter. The papers that have found their way into these publications over the years (since the Journal of the CMSC began back in 2006) are now available online at the group’s digital library. To access this unique resource, click here.

Looking ahead

As the Coordinate Metrology Society heads into it’s 35th anniversary year in 2019, prospects for the growth of the industry are bigger and brighter than ever before. If the past is any indication, the CMS in the future will continue to bring forth new certifications, new partnerships, and new knowledge for the good of its growing community of users.

Mark your calendars now for CMSC 2019, taking place at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, from July 22–26, 2019. To keep tabs on the latest happenings with the CMS as well as next year’s conference, be sure to check the home page regularly at www.cmsc.org.


About The Author

Mike Richman’s picture

Mike Richman


CMS Attendance 2018

Do you know what the attendance of Conference was this past summer (2018)? If so, are the numbers Paid attendee's?