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Belinda Jones

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PrecisionPath Consortium Continues Roadmapping Efforts at October Meeting

Published: Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 14:14

Dedicated members of the PrecisionPath Consortium gathered recently near the UNC Charlotte campus for their fourth working meeting and Technology Innovation Workshop in Charlotte, NC. The Coordinate Metrology Society and UNC Charlotte pilot the industry-driven coalition to advance large-scale precision manufacturing (LPM). The meeting started off with a focus on the structure of the technology roadmap, followed by a discussion of its overall architecture.

The group has been tackling critical production issues and metrology system challenges to move industry forward under the framework of the PrecisionPath Roadmap. This project is 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.   

Next on the agenda was a preliminary overview of the results of the PrecisionPath industry-at-large survey conducted from May through Oct. 15, 2016. The study gathered information about current capabilities and requirements, as well as the anticipated future needs for portable metrology systems in support of LPM. The survey covered usage scenarios and issues affecting many industries, such as aerospace, automotive, defense, power generation, boatbuilding, satellite, oil and gas, and any related field that manufactures large-scale, precision parts that require in-place measurement. This feedback from the industry at large adds further intelligence to the technology roadmapping process. More in-depth examination of the data will be performed and compiled in the coming months, prior to the next meeting.

To conclude the morning agenda, team leaders delivered preliminary working group reports. High-level topics covered included industry drivers, usage scenarios, technology families, data management, and more. Each working group was charged with specific tasks governed by strategies for information-gathering as the consortium works toward an overall draft report in the first quarter of 2017. Details such as content, format, and desired outcomes were also covered during the morning session.

The intensive afternoon session was consumed with consortium members breaking out into working groups using support tools and a roadmap template. The vertical working group leaders presented summaries of their group discussions and opened the floor for participant feedback. The day concluded with an emphasis on the amount of progress made by the group and its contribution to unearthing vital industry needs such as workforce development, data management, and the industry standards required to support this field.

The second day began with a group discussion covering the sustainability and possible future projects of the PrecisionPath Consortium. This was followed by a brainstorming session involving the entire group, focusing on the important technologies and process trends affecting LPM, such as additive manufacturing, augmented reality, composites, and more. The group discussed how the usage scenarios and measurement technologies would be affected by current and emerging trends. The group also engaged in a value vs. difficulty exercise to get a handle on what industry and OEMs perceive to be valuable and achievable in terms of usage and technologies. The session also included a group brainstorm for laser tracker initiatives and what ideas could be undertaken in the next ten years to enhance the usability, reliability, and overall value of laser trackers. Each initiative was ranked based on its importance and value vs. difficulty scale. The meeting concluded with an overview of the action items and associated deliverables for a Feb. 2017 workshop

The PrecisionPath community continues to grow and welcomed two new partners, Brunson Instrument Co. and Verisurf Inc. A special thank you goes out to the organizing team of UNC Charlotte and the Coordinate Metrology Society for their leadership on this roadmapping project. Interested metrology professionals from the large-scale manufacturing community who can commit to attending PrecisionPath technical meetings and associated conferences in the next two years are invited to contact Ron Hicks, CMS Committee Chair at ron.hicks@apisensor.com. The next meeting is set for Feb. 2017 and details will be announced soon. For more information, visit www.PrecisionPathConsortium.com.

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About The Author

Belinda Jones’s picture

Belinda Jones

Belinda Jones is the founder and owner of HiTech Marketing LLC located 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.