What is Precision Metrology?

Precision Metrology (a.k.a Dimensional Metrology) is the science of calibration of equipments and using physical measurement equipment to quantify the dimensions from and of any given object (etc. size, length, angle, distance). The end goal of precision metrology will be to achieve a high level of competency in the 4 following aspects of measurements:

Table 1: Key aspects of Precision Metrology

In the video below, precision metrology is explained in details in a lecture, at UK’s National Measurement Institute, National Physical Laboratory by Andrew Yacoot.



In any manufacturing system, quality control is one of the most critical process step, to ensure that the finished product, conforms to the specifications or demands of the customers. Thus, inspection is implemented via the use of metrology equipments. A variety of metrology equipments are available on the market, catering to different requirements of accuracy and scales.

Modern metrology equipment include hand tools, CMMs (Coordinate-Measurement Machine), machine vision systems, laser trackers, and optical comparators.  3D models of a scanned part and internal passages may be built from the data collected using CAD softwares.  The triangulation principle is employed to generate 3d data, which is evaluated in order to compare the measurements against nominal geometries.


A typical CMM machine

Figure 1: A typical CMM machine


To improve the quality of product produced, demand for ultra-precision machined components has been continuously increasing. This led to considerable research attention in the area of machine tool metrology, particularly towards means by which the geometrical accuracy of machine tools may be improved to a high level and maintained for long periods of time. To achieve this goal, one of the research direction is on the alignment accuracy of machine tools under dynamic loading conditions, to reflect the true characteristics of the machine tools under real operating conditions. Therefore, machine tool metrology plays an important role in the field of precision metrology too.

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