Content By Chuck Pfeffer

By: Chuck Pfeffer

The U.S. Department of Labor reported 13.9 million unemployed Americans in July 2011, and even the creation of 117,000 jobs last month didn’t put a dent in the 9.1-percent unemployment rate. In fact, there has been little change in the unemployment rate since December 2010. So why am I repeating these depressing statistics? As bad as this may sound, we are much better off compared to the climb to more than 10-percent unemployment last year.

If you are reading this, you probably know something about metrology, and knowing something about metrology is a good thing these days. Why is that? I’m taking the long route to the answer, but I will explain.

What is going on with U.S. industrial production? It has actually been expanding every month this year, despite the stagnant employment figures. So how has U.S. industrial production increased without additional labor? The answer is efficiency. And where does efficiency in manufacturing come from? Stay with me; I am getting there. It comes from things like reducing rework and scrap, running at faster cycle times, and minimizing downtime on the assembly line.

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By: Chuck Pfeffer

Noncontact measurement is the fastest growing segment in the metrology world, with new methods and technologies being introduced every year. As with all new solutions, end users want to know how to evaluate the performance of these new products, and for that they turn to standards organizations.

The catch is that standards take time, so there is typically a period with all new technology where suppliers and end users struggle to find common ground. The supplier wants to highlight their benefits and the end user wants to ensure they get the data they need.

The one existing standard for 3-D scanners is the German VDI/VDE 2634, published in August 2002, but it is not recognized as an international standard. There are currently two committees working on standards for scanners. ASTM International’s E57 committee is developing standards for mid-range scanners, but has abandoned their effort for short-range 3-D imagers. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 213 Working Group 10 is developing international standards—currently for scanners attached to the end of Cartesian coordinate measurement machines (CMMs)—but possibly in the future on standards for other types of scanners. These standards are likely several years from publication.