Metrology Defined

metrologyMe|trol|o|gy
noun
1. the science of measurement; the study of units of measurement
2. measurement system

adjective
1. metrologic (also metrological): pertaining to metrology
noun
1. metrologist: person who measures

Although we tend not to spot them so frequently these days, the most obvious form of metrologist was the Weights and Measures inspector, once seen regularly at local fuel stations, measuring precisely each gallon and part thereof metered by the pumps. Yet, metrology has been an important element of manufacturing and commerce since the time of the Ancient Greeks and probably since the dawn of civilisation.

Naturally, the Greeks used physical measurements to determine the size of items. As a result, the digit (which was the 28th part of a cubit) was the approximate width of a finger; a palm was three inches, the width of a man’s palm; a hand was four inches (a measurement still used in the equine arena); a span was nine inches, the width of a man’s spread fingers; and the pre-digital foot was twelve inches, the size of a large man’s foot. Unfortunately, human anatomy, being what it is, could vary immensely, so the larger the metrologist, the more popular he would be with customers.

While weights and measures were crucial to fair trading throughout history, it was only by the mid-19th Century that any standards were established. Today, it is a science controlled by The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), although the Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology (JCGM) is a group consisting of eight international measuring bodies.

Metrology is a broad church, with three, overlapping aspects:
1. The definition of internationally accepted units of measurement
2. The realisation of the practical units of measurement
3. The traceability chains essential to maintaining standards.
Yet, all are wrapped in the fundamental science, at applied, industrial and technical levels, while also attending to the legal aspects.

Metrology is all about quality but introduces the ultimate aspect of quantity into the equation. Calibration and certification, allied to accuracy, precision, systematic bias and the evaluation of dimensional uncertainty are all critical parts of a comprehensive quality management system.

It is for these reasons that a strategic alliance has been forged between ISQA and A-Met Metrology Ltd. A-Met is a company dedicated to supporting a number of industrial markets, including automotive, aerospace, renewable energy, construction, medical and broader manufacturing sectors. Capable of both mobile laser measurements, as well as flat-bed CMM and 3D measuring services, the company manages one-off, batch, in-process and problem investigation facilities, providing advice, training and the supply of equipment.

A unique joint venture, together, ISQA and A-Met Metrology ‘Make Quality Count’ on all levels of industrial and commercial enterprise.