PrecisionPath Consortium Releases Technology Roadmap for Large-Scale Manufacturing

The PrecisionPath Consortium (PPC) for Large-Scale Manufacturing has announced the release of their Technology Roadmap for Large-Scale Manufacturing. The Consortium is a collaboration of commercial-industry partners, the Coordinate Metrology Society, and UNC Charlotte working to determine and prioritize the technology requirements of manufacturers producing large-scale, high accuracy parts and products. The full report is available at the PPC website. The PrecisionPath Technology Roadmapping project was funded by an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.

PrecisionPath Team leaders and participants of each working group have contributed a large body of research on technologies and drivers, usage applications, and other critical areas of study. An industry-at-large survey of users and managers of portable metrology systems was also conducted over a six-month period to capture valuable insights from professionals in the metrology field. The study inquired about existing capabilities and requirements, as well as anticipated future needs, for portable metrology systems used in large-scale precision manufacturing (LPM).

The PrecisionPath Technology Roadmap details all aspects of the metrology industry as it relates to the challenges of large scale manufacturing today. The research covers market drivers, technology families, usage scenarios, industry standards, data management, and workforce development. Based on data analysis and the industry survey, the report outlines a variety of trends that cut across multiple 3D measurement technology families. These findings are expected to drive consequential changes in both hardware and software solutions as manufacturers make incremental moves toward Smart Factory initiatives. The Roadmap also identified serious vulnerabilities within the industry due to the lack of a vibrant workforce, current skillsets, and the shedding of nearly 25% of the metrology workforce retiring in the next 5 years. The consortium provides a checklist of urgent actions to develop a future, sustainable workforce. The 70+ page roadmap captures the mindshare of industry professionals, the scope and potential of the next-generation, data-driven factory, and the evolution of measurement technologies needed to support the future of the large-scale manufacturing industry.

The team recently convened at the Coordinate Metrology Society Conference, Reno, NV in July 2018. The closing draft of the PPC Technology Roadmap was presented to all PPC members for a final review prior to its launch. The consortium also discussed the importance of the current workforce issues in the field of metrology and will focus on research in this area for its next project, which will curtail into upcoming initiatives of the CMS Education Sub-Committee.

The PrecisionPath Consortium is comprised of representatives from leading manufacturing companies including Lockheed Martin, Newport News Shipbuilding, BMW, The Boeing Company, Caterpillar, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Spirit AeroSystems, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Siemens. Participating OEMs and metrology service providers included API, New River Kinematics (NRK), Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, ECM Global Measurement Solutions, Nikon Metrology, FARO Technologies, Brunson Instrument Company, Verisurf Software and Planet Tool and Engineering.

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