American Association of Advanced Metrology

American Association of Advanced Metrology (1)

Manufacturing and metrology leaders have announced a new certification body establishing performance standards for service providers and equipment manufacturers in the rapidly expanding digital metrology industry.

The American Association of Advanced Metrology (AAAM) "encourages and facilitates effective use and integration of advanced metrology tools, and provides an avenue for professional users of these technologies to demonstrate their competence to the market," according to the organization's mission statement.

Advanced Metrology uses innovations in 3D white light, LED, laser and other non-contact methods to generate accurate and complete part surface scans. The scans can then be compared to CAD models or blueprints to help manufacturers isolate problems -- speeding up production, improving quality, and reducing costs.

"Our goal is simple," AAAM Chief Coordinator Joseph Meyers said on Monday. "For the U.S. to regain its lead in precision manufacturing, products need to be made faster, leaner, and less expensively, all to a higher quality standard. Advanced metrology helps toward those objectives. Our mission is to help North American metrology leaders qualify and quantify their performance, increasing their impact in the industries they serve."

AAAM offers a rigorous and tailored three-step certification process consisting of an on-site audit, a straightforward application packet, and a self-administered gauge repeatability and reproducibility (Gauge R&R) study based on inspection of a feature-rich artifact. After completing the certification process, metrology laboratories and equipment manufacturers are permitted to use AAAM's certification mark in their advertising. They are also listed with their qualification score on the AAAM website.

AAAM's process evaluates equipment manufacturers, laboratories, on-site field inspection companies, and technicians. "Inspection is a process," Administrator Sean Greene explained from AAAM's Tucson, Arizona branch. "Having a hammer doesn't make you a craftsman. We've found that the most competent practitioners have made themselves their customers' trusted partners. They've incorporated outstanding metrology into every relevant design and production stage, and have helped their customers develop trustworthy manufacturing processes according to Lean Six Sigma or whichever quality standards are most appropriate."

To help manufacturers find the services and technologies best suited for their own needs, AAAM has developed a portfolio of industry-specific riders for aerospace, jet engine, industrial gas turbine, medical instrumentation, orthopedic implants, and spinal applications. Forthcoming riders may include Consumer Product Safety Commission and ENERGY STAR co-certification, forensic examination, injection molding, investment casting, and laser machining. AAAM has invited leaders from these industries and related certification bodies to serve on its Board of Advisors.

The customers that stand to gain the most from AAAM-certified services and suppliers include tight-tolerance manufacturers including automotive, aerospace, optical, turbine engine and medical device companies, Meyers added. "We've also received inquiries from less obvious sectors, such as green construction firms and RV manufacturers. By bringing metrology experts together with these industries, we're increasing the technology's availability, improving confidence in its results, and driving down overall cost. Everybody benefits from well-qualified partners and thoroughly certified systems."

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