What is Metrology?

Metrology is, in its simplest definition, the scientific study of measurement. From an industry standpoint, this means so much more than simply measuring parts and comparing numbers.

Metrology takes what we learn from measuring and applies it in pursuit of accuracy, reliability, and most importantly, repeatability. Employing effective metrology systems means that users in fields like design, manufacturing, and engineering can trust that their work is accurate and meets the standards to which they must adhere.

Richard Brown, Head of Metrology for the National Physical Laboratory, put it like this:

“If philosophy is thinking about thinking, then metrology is measuring the measurement.”

And it takes much more than a ruler and a strong grasp of mathematics.

Why not do it by hand?

The rapid advancement of technology both causes and affects new demands in modern processes and products. Trends such as miniaturisation mean devices such as smartphones and tablets need ever smaller components, which need to fit in very specific places with little room for error. Products with ergonomic and specialised designs rely on perfect feature placement for their intended purposes.

Parts often aren’t simple enough to measure with a ruler and micrometer anymore. To fully measure the dimensions of a blind hole, for instance, you would not only need the circumference and radius of the hole, but also a measurement of how deep it goes relative to the thickness of the larger object. For holes only millimetres or even micrometres in diameter, it would be all but impossible to accurately gain such measurements without advanced equipment.

This is why metrology machines are so essential; they achieve more than what even a whole team of people armed with measuring tools ever could, and they do it in minutes if not seconds.

Today, reliable and repeatable metrology lives in forms like the Smartscope SP – highly specialised machines that incorporate advanced video, laser, and touch probe technologies to automatically measure every last detail with precision. Human error and influence are taken out of the equation, and the sturdiness of many machines makes them perfect even for shopfloor conditions.

In modern industries, metrology is an area in which the old-fashioned ways just can’t keep up. In practise, state-of-the-art equipment is the only way forwards, and once you’ve seen a machine in action you’ll understand why.

If you want to find out more about metrology and how it can help you and your workplace, get in touch with us today and speak to one of our experts.