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Metrology Musings: The mystery surrounding the calibration of non-contact measuring systems

The mystery surrounding the calibration of non-contact measuring systems

Most 1st, 2nd and even 3rd tier suppliers into the automotive and aerospace world, require some form of traceability from their measurement equipment and calibration suppliers.

Normally, this is in the form of accreditation to one of the UKAS laboratory standards.  Most measurement technologies are now fairly mature, in terms of their development cycle and the principles for checking, verification and calibration are well understood.  Indeed for most, an international standard now exists, removing the subjectivity in the process of calibration and setting out a unified, standardised procedure for all to follow and become accredited to.

Optical, video and laser metrology systems, broadly defined as non-contact metrology, have been rather later to the party and their development cycle is still very progressive. Equally the understanding about how these systems should be checked, verified and most importantly corrected, is not as widely understood by their users.

Over the next few months we are going to publish a series of short articles, giving an outline of current best practices.  We will attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding the calibration of non-contact measuring systems and get an understanding of the influencing factors which contribute to the uncertainty budgets.

I will leave you with a quick thought for now.  If you own a contact coordinate measuring system “CMM”, there are a number of very well qualified engineers and calibration laboratories able to deliver the ISO10360 -2 standard at a reasonable cost.  This is a well understood standard, by both deliverers and also customers.

I stand to be corrected of course, but currently there are no UKAS laboratories accredited to the ISO10360-7 and 8 standard, in the UK.  This is the standard required for UKAS certification of non-contact metrology probes, with any form of field of view measurement capability.  So for now, even the most diligent and compliant of manufacturers and suppliers, cannot currently acquire or issue a UKAS calibration certificate for their NCM instruments……………….

Pete Clements

For more information on the standard: http://ow.ly/8XEU303toa9

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