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Consortium for Large-Scale Manufacturing Begins

The PrecisionPath Consortium is prioritizing technology needs to manufacture large parts in aerospace, defense, energy, and other industries.

Posted: December 28, 2015

How portable metrology can be used to help address critical challenges in producing large products to precision tolerances is being analyzed across industries and disciplines.

The Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS; Weatherford, TX), in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has announced the completion of the first working meeting of the PrecisionPath Consortium for Large-Scale Manufacturing, a new project funded by an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.

At the 2015 Coordinate Metrology Society Conference (CMSC) in July, the PrecisionPath Consortium held their inaugural meeting to discuss team building strategies, short- and long-term goals, and project timelines. The group is tasked to identify and prioritize the technology needs of the aerospace, defense, energy, and other industries that manufacture large-scale, high accuracy parts and products.

“The PrecisionPath Consortium is building a solid foundation to identify barriers that hinder progress in the large-scale manufacturing sector,” stated Ron Hicks, the CMS AMTech committee chairman. “This working meeting was the first step in prioritizing the technology needs of the aerospace, defense, energy, and other industries that manufacture large-volume, high accuracy parts and products. The partnership between the Coordinate Metrology Society, UNC Charlotte, and leading industry players is critical to locking down the practical knowledge needed to move manufacturing and metrology forward in a meaningful way. This is a trailblazing project laser-focused on building a roadmap for both short-term and long-term objectives.”

The PrecisionPath Consortium held their Planning and Visioning Council during the Quality Show in late October at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago, IL. The first session of the meeting focused on refining the project scope and boundaries. The council discussed the critical challenges in producing large products to precision tolerances, and then transitioned into identifying metrology technology families used by industry. This segment was followed by the team compiling the most important attributes of these systems for measurement and inspection.

The afternoon session progressed with dynamic group interactions and the use of sophisticated meeting facilitation technology to capture the input. The consortium took up usage scenarios and amassed data on how portable metrology is being used to support diverse applications across different disciplines. The group proceeded to pinpoint sources of expertise and data for use in the road mapping process, and firmed up the framing and vision of the PrecisionPath Roadmap project. The organizational structure and operational model were finalized, and the meeting concluded with the election of a board of directors and an overview of marketing objectives.

Representatives from leading manufacturing companies attended the meeting, including Michael Jones, Siemens; Bob Elliott and Chris Barrow, Lockheed Martin; Glen Cork, Spirit AeroSystems; Matthew Ilardo, Brookhaven National Labs, and Mons Lee, The Boeing Company. OEMs and metrology service providers were represented by Ron Hicks, Automated Precision (API); Patrick Welch, New River Kinematics (NRK), Joel Martin and Rina Molari (2016 CMSC Chair) of Hexagon Metrology; Ray Ryan, ECM Global Measurement Solutions; Eric Brandt, Nikon Metrology and Ron Rode, Planet Tool and Engineering.

Consortium organizers are Hicks and UNC Charlotte representatives Ed Morse, John Ziegert, Ram Kumar, and Antonis Stylianou. Other supporting attendees included Tom Lettieri, NIST; Danuta McCall,; and Belinda Jones, HiTech Marketing. The next meeting will be held in February 2016 in the Charlotte area. Interested metrology professionals from the large-scale manufacturing sector who can commit to attending PrecisionPath technical meetings and associated conferences in the next two years are invited to contact Hicks at

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