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Gary Confalone


Another Big Step Toward CMM Certifications

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 11:12

More than 30 years ago, a group of professionals formed an organization known today as the Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS). Their overall objective was to standardize the industry in terms of tooling and processes and share knowledge to educate and improve the future workforce. Some of these individuals have passed, but their legacy and mission continues to empower metrologists around the world. I believe they would be proud of the organization and the accomplishments we have made over the past several years.

This year is particularly exciting as the CMS is striving to expand our annual conference to welcome the traditional coordinate measuring machine (CMM) community into our society. A large part of this endeavor has been placed on the CMS Certification Committee, which is comprised of many global metrology experts. These dedicated professionals volunteer their time toward a common cause—establishing higher standards for metrologists to validate practical and cognitive skills through bi-level proctored examinations. The demand for this kind of certification is becoming increasingly more important as organizations strive to improved processes throughout the supply chain and move toward Industry 4.0 initiatives.

During the week of March 20, 2018, participants from Europe and North America gathered at East Coast Metrology in Topsfield, MA, to work on the pilot assessments for CMM operators and programmers. In addition to metrology specialists, four national laboratories participated in the panel, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratories (MITLL), Brookhaven National Laboratories (BNL), and the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

The objective of developing a metrology certification examination is to determine the level of knowledge and expertise an individual has within his or her job description. By testing on core concepts, foundational theories, and best practices on most metrology devices (now including traditional CMMs), knowledgeable professionals and experienced practitioners can earn credentials to validate their expertise for potential employers or for subcontracted work. The CMS is seeing a trend in large companies requesting that subcontractors adhere to standards and certification requirements in this industry.

The initial goal of this meeting was to develop a level-one cognitive exam for CMM operators and programmers to demonstrate their overall knowledge in categories such as design interpretation, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), equipment, and data analysis. This would be the first step and prerequisite for the level-two certification, which is a practical test requiring a hands-on skill demonstration. As luck would have it, a snowstorm moved in and canceled all flights out of Boston. This delay enabled us to continue our work and complete the pilot for both the level-one and level-two CMM certifications—one year ahead of schedule!

The pilot exams will now be turned over to the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) to approve for the administration of a pilot assessment at this year’s CMSC in Reno, NV, from July 23–27, 2018. Once administered in July, a cut score will be developed and the finalized, official CMS level-one certification for CMMs will be announced. All CMM users are encouraged to take advantage of the free pilot exam opportunity at this year's CMSC. It will provide valuable feedback to the society and give the operator insight to the certification credentials.

I would like to take the opportunity again to thank these volunteers for their unparalleled benevolence in the development of this program. They braved a Nor'easter snowstorm in Boston to participate in an event that will shape the future of the society and improve the distribution of skills and knowledge throughout the industry. I was honored to be part of such a gathering and look forward to working with all of you in the near future.  

See you in July!


About The Author

Gary Confalone’s picture

Gary Confalone

Gary Confalone is the president and CEO of ECM Global Measurement Solutions. He has worked in the metrology industry for the past 20-plus years, including stints at Sikorsky Aircraft, SpatialMetrix Corp., and Laser Projection Technologies. In 2001 Confalone started East Coast Metrology, an engineering and service provider for the 3D metrology industry. He has been an active member of the Coordinate Metrology Society’s certification committee, which was formed to help qualify technical personnel in the various disciplines of 3D metrology.