Metrology for a Competitive Advantage

Metrology impacts the entire product life cycle (PLC). From R&D to product shipment, metrology systems and their data are used to: establish product specifications, determine if the results of a specific measurement conform to stated specifications and customer requirements, monitor environmental, safety and health parameters, report results in external publications, inspect products and services, establish data used for marketing purposes, verify and validate processes and products. Yet, in most organizations there is no coherent and integrated metrology program, just individuals working in silos, doing their best! At best there may be a calibration program, but calibration is just one small piece of metrology. There is no organizational system or process that looks at or understands the metrology requirements — capability, traceability and stability — from R&D to product shipment. As a consequence, organizations miss product market windows, have high warranty issues, put reputations at risk, confront regulatory issues, and the impact to the bottom line is significant. The author’s objective is that upon reading this paper, management, production, calibration and technical laboratory personnel will have a better understanding of the major pieces and requirements of a metrology system. And, they will recognize that fully understood and applied, metrology could be a source of competitive advantage for their organization.

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