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Talion Edwards


Manufacturing Comes Back

Coordinate metrology points toward a bright future

Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 04:30


egardless of the economic indicators discussed on the nightly network news, it appears from our vantage point that the manufacturing segment is coming back. If we back up two years, all of us in the large-volume measurement industry saw the effect of declining markets. Large manufacturers suspended capital spending to preserve cash flow, affecting the companies who provide the hardware and software necessary to do our jobs.

As a relatively small community, for a period of time it was difficult to know which company your colleagues worked for in any given month, as we saw e-mail addresses shuffle. Longstanding supporters of industry organizations like the Coordinate Metrology Society responsibly tightened their belts and reduced sponsorship spending. Smaller companies choose not to exhibit at conferences. Like many events, attendance at the Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference declined for a short period.

Although capital spending paused, the need for new measurement hardware and software solutions did not. Large manufacturing companies started initiatives to increase productivity, and because productivity is a function of manufacturing process capability, increases to productivity often require better measurement systems.

Indicators of that new demand started to show up last year. ATT Metrology Services, Hubbs Machine, Laser Projection Technologies, Metrologic, and Mitutoyo all sponsored events for attendees at 2010’s Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference.  We also had several new companies exhibit at the show. Based on registration numbers, those events and exhibits were attended by 37 percent more attendees than at the prior year’s show. Of those attendees, our registrations survey showed that 78 were first-time CMSC attendees. Of the returning attendees, 60 percent had attended three or more CMSCs in the past five years. This increase in attendance is a good indicator of the growing interest in investing in new measurement technology.

Registration for the 2011 conference, occurring in Phoenix from July 25–29, is now open, and we are again seeing strong interest from sponsors, new exhibitors, and attendees. In addition to the registration page, one of the busiest links on the CMSC website is the careers page. The careers page is open to our members who wish to post job openings at their companies. Whether you are a potential employer or are interested in a position in the industry, I would encourage you to make use of this resource.

The Coordinate Metrology Society is committed to supporting this growing 3-D measurement workforce. The CMS Certification Committee continues to make progress towards a centralized certification for industrial coordinate metrology practitioners and will again be hosting a workshop at this year’s conference. We are also organizing a follow-up to last year’s gauge R&R study, which will be performed at CMSC 2011.  This year the study will be based on large-volume measurement principles and will focus on the user’s ability to influence measurement results. We are currently seeking an industry partner to sponsor this study that will again be executed by CMS members from the National Physical Laboratory.

As previously mentioned in this column, the CMS is also working to establish an Academic Committee to represent the many university and community colleges that support our industry through research, coursework, or industrial outreach. The first activity of this committee will be to organize a poster presentation session for academics at CMSC 2011, and we hope to have a call for posters out in the near future.  Collectively, these efforts to unite the academic community with industry can have a significant and positive effect on our ability to increase manufacturing productivity and grow our businesses.

On behalf of the CMS executive committee, we look forward to seeing you in Phoenix.


About The Author

Talion Edwards’s picture

Talion Edwards

Talion Edwards is an associate technical fellow in 3D imaging and reverse engineering and is the principle investigator for the Boeing Research and Technology reverse engineering development task. He also serves as co-chairman of the Boeing Enterprise 3D Imaging Community of Practice, for which he coordinates a yearly workshop held in conjunction with the Coordinate Measurement Systems Conference (CMSC). Edwards was the CMSC chairperson during 2011. He continues to serve on the executive committee of CMSC and is leading the effort to establish a central certification for industrial metrologists.