The Fundamentals of Metrology

Monday, October 8, 2018

Title: The Fundamentals of Metrology

 

Publish date: 11/10/2018

 

Post:

Metrology is fundamental to what we do – it’s in our name, Solartron Metrology. Metrology is the science of measurement and we design and manufacture precision measurement technology that is used across the industry spectrum.

 

Metrology and its application in the manufacturing sector

Metrology is applied to different fields in different ways. In the industrial sector, in particular engineering and manufacturing, metrology is the advanced technology behind the quality assurance processes that make sure that everything from medical devices and trains to power plants and coffee capsules function how they should.

Manufacturers use a range of analogue and digital measurement sensor devices to make extremely precise measurements – for example, to within one thousandth of a millimetre. This precision sensor technology includes flexure, lever and mini probes, block gauges, displacement transducers and non-contact sensors.

What precision sensor technology measures in the manufacturing industry

Digital and analogue precision sensor technology is used for quality control, tests, measurements and machine control. Key metrics that are measured include dimension (height, thickness and width), mass, temperature, volume, pressure and elasticity. With modern metrology technology, these measurements can be confidently compared on a global basis.

A wide range of industries use precision measuring systems to ensure that what they manufacture complies with strict industry standards and regulations. Precision measuring systems solutions are widely used in the agriculture, automotive, aerospace, construction, consumer goods, energy, environment and medical technology sectors.


Precision measuring systems for the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors

In the aerospace industry, for example, manufacturers of jet engine turbine blades use digital spring-push probes to ensure that the dimensions of the blades conform to extremely strict specifications critical to plane safety.

In the automotive industry, car manufacturers use digital miniature probes to ensure that camshaft bearings are precisely manufactured and aligned, so that engines run smoothly and production remains constant.

In the energy sector, power plant operators use pre-stressed structure monitoring technology to test the structural integrity of key buildings and record and analyse the results of the tests. This technology combines a range of digital precision measurement sensors with a digital measurement networking system


Why precision measurement systems are so important

As these examples suggest, ensuring that parts, components and structures have the correct dimensions and perform how they should is critical. The importance of car parts, jet engines and nuclear plant cooling towers working properly goes without saying. Similarly, it is important that the likes of mobile phones, televisions and coffee machines function correctly. Consumer safety and manufacturer reputation and sales depend on it.

The challenges of precision measurement in the manufacturing industry

Taking the precise measurements necessary for quality control processes is not always straightforward. 

For example, the surface of an object (i.e. a mobile phone shell or coffee capsule wall) may be thin and fragile and vulnerable to damage if the force applied by the measurement sensor is too strong. A solution in cases such as these is to use a feather-touch probe or an ultra-feather-touch probe. Another challenge is the dimensions of the object being such that measuring them runs the risk of damaging the object or the measurement gauge (such as with camshaft bearings).

Furthermore, the position of some objects poses problems in terms of accessibility, with the measurement process potentially restricted by cable length or routing. In these cases, wireless sensors, such as Solartron’s WiGauge, can be used to collect data from process control instruments without the need for cables.

Metrology and manufacturing industry precision measurement sensors

As this brief overview of metrology and precision measurement systems for the manufacturing industry outlines, the field of industrial metrology has a significant scope, comprises a wide range of advanced technology and plays a critical role in ensuring product performance, reliability and safety.

Want to know more about what Solartron Metrology can do for your business?

Contact us on +44 (0)1243 833333 or
sales.solartronmetrology@ametek.com