Started as the need for human beings to observe, analyze and explore the world, measurement’s application held an important role as discoveries were made. Applied in a diversity of applications, metrology’s influence in the industrial world has been growing as fast as technology advances, increasing human safety and sustainability in the workplace.
Metrology is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) as “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology,” which is a broad description to match the broad amount of industries, technologies, and applications it holds in today’s world. Let’s review why Metrology is important in today’s industrial world:
Automotive and Aerospace
Innovation, competiveness and safety are three important aspects for the aerospace and automotive industry. Whether it be aircrafts or cars, they all depend on metrology to keep their systems within certain quality parameters. Companies demonstrate to their consumers the reliability of these systems through certifications using different types of measurement, this assures that the final product is safe for public use.
From analysis of large volume parts, inspecting turbine blades, to fixing inaccuracies in geometry and positioning to proper car assembly, metrology brings peace of mind to these industries that promotes the continuous development of new more efficient systems and procedures.
Automation & Manufacturing
Today, most of the processes at manufacturing plants are automated, which means controlled by machines. These machines are calibrated and programmed according to specific parameters to fabricate goods on a production line. The machines are capable of measuring quantities, lengths, weights, time, environmental conditions, etc. The accuracy and precision of those measurements are crucial to comply with the safety and quality requirements for public use or consumption. For example: the dosing of drugs on a pharmaceutical plant, food safety in a processing plant, or the reliability of the equipment in healthcare operations at a hospital.
Energy & Petrochemical
Metrology in the petrochemical industry plays a growing role as the demand for more energy increases; this industry relies on metrology to keep their machines up and running. To make this happen, power plants implement laser alignment as part of their preventive maintenance program. By using this method we can assure that rotating equipment is correctly aligned (within acceptable tolerances). Metrology can also be used by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to calculate tolerances using specialized tooling before installation and testing.
With 3D measurement technology you can gather data in dimensional changes, flange locations, concentricity, equipment interferences, and other key areas in need of inspection on your turbine or rotating equipment. Less downtime leads to more efficiency, efficiency translates in less damage on bearings, seals, couplings or a bend shaft, less damage increases the lifetime of the machines, saves money and reduces power loss; all this means more energy and more cost-effective production to supply the global energy consumption.
Marine & The Environment
In the case of the marine industry, metrology technologies can be used to take measurements inside or outside of ships, tankers, vessels and much more. Replacing or refurbishing boat parts can be achieve by taking proper measurements using state-of-the-art laser technology. Recently, the marine industry has been required to perform a retrofit called Ballast Water Treatment (BWT), by 2018. BWT intends to improve the process of residual waters inside the ships by adding a complete system to clean these waters inside the ships before to releasing them back into the ocean.
The lack of treatment of residual waters is causing a heavy impact in the environment, on the oceans, given the fact there is more than 10,000 vessels used for transportation of goods around the globe and less than half of them have Ballast Water Treatment systems installed. Using metrology, we can perform 3D scans and take measurements of the machine room inside the ship and with that information we can make a CAD drawing and fit all the components needed for the BWT retrofit, considering the current machinery and piping inside the control room.
All in all, Metrology is a very important approach in the industrial world. It helps to create safe environments and processes, promotes innovation and increases knowledge and development. At ACQUIP, we are proud to be part of the metrology community. We aspire to pursue new ways to help to achieve industrial sustainability. To learn more about what inspires us visit our case studies and our ACQUIP Presentations & White Papers.