Metrology for Industry
European manufacturers need to remain competitive in a global market. Europe’s competitive advantage is high-quality, high-performance products manufactured in modern, efficient production facilities, underpinned by world-class quality assurance and continuous product and process innovation.
In 2010, 2012 and 2014, EURAMET's European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) and European Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) launched calls for projects in this area with an aim to develop metrological methods and techniques to improve the measurement infrastructure for industry in order to support product innovation, process improvement and quality assurance. Focus was placed on on advanced manufacturing processes in a wide range of industrial sectors.
The projects are broad in scope, covering topics such as metrology for advanced manufacturing techniques, innovative materials, and next-generation communications and electronics technologies. The 2010 call projects, which started in 2011, have now come to an end, and the 2012 call projects and 2014 call projects will end in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
Industry projects 2011–2014
110 research groups from 28 metrology institutes came together with academia and industry to conduct research under the first call of the EMRP Industry theme in 17 pan-European collaborative research projects. These projects aimed to improve measurement methods and data quality to support European innovation, growth and competitiveness. The research addressed the needs of the whole supply chain, from materials, sensors and instrumentation suppliers to manufacturers of high-performance final products in sectors such as aerospace, automotive and electronics.
The projects are grouped into two sub-themes: metrology for advanced manufacturing and metrology for electronics and ICT.
High-performance products and manufacturing systems require accurate measurements for a wide range of parameters and in a wide range of production environments.
Computer-aided design, for example, creates complex shapes and forms to meet aerodynamic performance targets for fuel efficiency and the aesthetic requirements of consumers. These shapes and forms push the boundaries of traditional approaches to dimensional measurements.
Complex and efficient manufacturing systems often use processes operating in challenging or even hostile environments – at high temperatures, at very-high or very-low pressures or using rapidly-changing mechanical inputs, such as force, torque and pressure. These create corresponding challenges for the metrology infrastructure, not only requiring improved capabilities at NMIs but also practical solutions for the manufacturing plant.
High-performance products rely on high-performance materials and coatings to provide, for example, durability, strength and weight advantages. The performance of novel materials needs to be characterised and understood.
EMRP research has supported projects covering this wide range of industrial measurement challenges:
Measurements in challenging environments
- High-temperature measurement in challenging environments
- Dynamic measurements of mechanical quantities
- High-pressure measurement in industrial applications
- Vacuum measurement in production environments
- Radiological safety in the metallurgical industry
Complex dimensional measurements
- Optical and tactile metrology for absolute form characterisation
- Thermal design and time-dependent dimensional drift behaviour of sensors, materials and structures
Properties of innovative materials
- Dynamic mechanical properties and behaviour of viscous materials
- Durability and function of engineered surfaces
- Quantitative surface chemical analysis for industrial applications
Electronics & ICT
The ongoing miniaturisation and increased operating speed of electronic devices not only challenge current measurement capabilities, but also create a requirement to characterise new ICT technologies. This requires the metrology infrastructure to continue to reduce uncertainties at the level of primary standards in order to meet current and future needs for accurate measurement at smaller and faster levels, as well as the ability to assess the performance of advanced electronic materials. In such a fast-moving industry, it is also necessary to plan for the longer term and develop the metrology infrastructure for the next generation of electronics technologies.
EMRP research has supported seven projects that address:
- Metrology for ultrafast electronics and high-speed communications
- Metrology for advanced industrial magnetics
- Characterisation of electromagnetic materials at microwave frequencies
- Metrology for the manufacturing of thin films
- Metrology of small structures for the manufacturing of electronic and optical devices
- Metrology for industrial quantum communication technologies
- New generation of frequency standards for industry
All EMRP project teams engage widely with the user communities who will benefit from the research. For the Industry theme EMRP projects this includes a wide range of industrial sectors that rely on effective measurement for process control and quality assurance, and for innovation to improve productivity and business growth.
Industry projects 2013–2016
These projects are still in progress – see Call 2012 - Industry, SI Broader Scope & Open Excellence for further information.
Industry projects 2015–2018
These projects are still in progress – see EMPIR Call 2014 for further information.
Industry impact report
This report outlines the key technical achievements and early impacts of the first group of projects completed under the EMRP Industry theme. The report explores the new measurement capabilities developed as a result of the collaborations within the Industry projects.