Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest  |  05/03/2009

Think Big. Think 3-D.

The CMSC is the show for large-scale 3-D metrology.

This issue is the first of three consecutive CMSC show-focus issues that highlight the yearly Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference. The CMSC is the largest U.S. trade show focused solely on large-scale 3-D metrology. Attendance has grown each year, with last year reaching nearly 600 attendees. All the key players in large-scale 3-D measurement are there representing every large-scale 3-D measurement technology, including laser scanners, structured-light scanners, laser radar, photogrammetry, theodolites, articulated arms, indoor GPS, and more.

Our CMSC cover story this month focuses on the use of articulated arms (portable coordinate measurement machines) to align collimators at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Steering two high-energy beams traveling in opposite directions around a 27 km-circumference accelerator so that they collide head on at a predetermined point requires the most accurate in 3-D metrology equipment. You can read how they did it starting on page 22.

Quality Digest is proud to have been the sole media sponsor for the CMSC show for four years, and we look forward to continuing our coverage of the ever-evolving field of large-scale 3-D metrology.

When we tell you that if you are doing large-scale 3-D metrology, then you have to go to this show, it isn’t just hype. Sure, we know that most companies are cutting back on their budgets and sending fewer and fewer employees to trade shows. We don’t blame them. Most of the information you get on a trade show floor can be gathered from the internet. But what makes the CMSC different is not the equipment; you can see these same vendors at Quality Expo, IMTS, Westec, and others. The difference is the purpose and function of the CMSC, which is to share information on how to solve complex measuring problems in aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, antenna construction and installation, historical documentation and preservation, and many other large-scale applications. Because measurement solutions often involve integrating several technologies, CMSC vendors and presenters put their sales hats aside (more or less) to help users understand how their particular technology addresses a particular need, and how it can be used with other technologies to provide complete measurement solutions. The small size of the CMSC and its goal to educate means that you have more time to talk one-on-one with company representatives. Attendees walk away with more than just a bag full of freebies; they return to their jobs with a much better understanding of the strengths and applications for each technology.

Although the exhibit hall is full of interesting equipment, it’s the presentations that will captivate both novice and experienced metrologists. Last year’s presentations were as diverse as the equipment, ranging from the use of laser radar to measure the wing skin of a Boeing 787, to laser trackers for aligning manufacturing robots, to structured-light scanners to measure Bronze Age stone monoliths in the Gobi Desert.

Finally, how many trade shows do you know where attendees bring their families? That isn’t unusual at the CMSC. The conference is always held near points of interest, and there is always one evening dedicated to family entertainment; past entertainers have included comedians and magicians.

Don’t miss the 25th CMSC conference July 20–24 in Louisville, Kentucky. You can register for the event by going to the CMSC web site at www.cmsc.org/register.

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Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Dirk Dusharme is Quality Digest’s editor in chief.