Access to metrology technology and expertise/skills is vital to the manufacturing sector and is a key enabling technology for the production of high quality, high value products and components.
According to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) traditional product verification processes typically account for 10-20% of finished product costs, over £15 billion per annum of costs in the UK alone, and rely on gathering and analysing accurate and timely evidence after manufacture. Typically these activities are the preserve of Quality Assurance departments.
For established and emerging high-value manufacturing sectors (e.g. aerospace, automotive, flexible electronics, bioengineering, optics) where precision is paramount, the development of new metrology technologies and capabilities is critical to success and growth in the UK economy. In particular, this applies to the trend towards in-process metrology and continuous measurement which substantially reduces or removes the need for costly additional processes.
In some areas/applications (e.g. optics, bio-medical, additive), without the development of new instrument technologies/methods it becomes impossible to manufacture economically because there is no effective way of measuring – improved metrology technology, in particular embedded metrology, becomes an enabler to these new products and can have a dramatic impact on product quality (reducing defects/scrap rates and increasing productivity).