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Introducing the new European Metrology Network for Advanced Manufacturing
The rise of advanced manufacturing
Over the past decade, the European Commission has identified six key enabling technologies as fundamental for achieving success in innovation. One of these is advanced manufacturing – a new branch of manufacturing that exploits emerging knowledge and technologies to produce advanced materials and class-leading goods with minimal environmental impact.
From its potential to revolutionise the efficiency of production lines, to its ability to ensure environmental and societal sustainability; advanced manufacturing is quickly becoming an integral part of the European economy.
As such, EURAMET’s new European Metrology Network (EMN) for Advanced Manufacturing is gathering growing attention from industrial and regulatory stakeholders, as well as the global measurement community.
So far, EURAMET’s nine established networks have all helped to enhance stakeholder interactions and activities with Europe’s metrology institutes. To date, the networks have helped to provide essential measurement solutions in key topic areas that align with the EU’s highest priorities; including climate & ocean observation, health and renewable energy. In recent years, EURAMET has begun to focus on advanced manufacturing as an addition to these topics of high political interest.
Harald Bosse (PTB), the acting chair of the new network, comments:
“The new EMN will help to address metrology issues along the whole manufacturing chain; covering advanced materials, smart manufacturing systems, and components and products.
To provide the required level of detail about a manufacturing process, measurements are needed in-line to create a feedback loop that can improve the process as a whole, supported by suitable off-line metrology. As such, the measurement uncertainty associated with a measurement value must be taken into account. For all autonomously interacting manufacturing and measurement devices, described in concepts such as Industry 4.0, metrology input is essential.”
Georges Favre (LNE), one of three EMN acting vice-chairs, adds:
“Advanced manufacturing produces advanced materials, but also uses them – for instance, powder materials are often used in additive manufacturing processes. In both cases, high levels of quality control and assessment of potential risks are crucial, for implementing the regulatory requirements corresponding to their handling.
The new network will support the relevant stakeholders on these issues in a coordinated manner, helping to establish the necessary confidence for developing these innovative materials.”
Focusing on stakeholder interactions
First approved at EURAMET’s General Assembly in the summer of 2021, the network promises a unique focal point for meeting the metrology needs of advanced materials, smart manufacturing systems and manufactured components across Europe. Through the creation of this high-level, dedicated and coordinated structure for stakeholder activities, EURAMET is committed to maintain the region’s global competitive advantages in this field.
In early October, the EMN held an open online workshop for its stakeholders. It was widely attended by more than 200 participants – covering topics such as Industry 4.0, quality assurance, and additive manufacturing. Following this, at the EMN’s initial annual general meeting, key stakeholders gathered for the first time to form the stakeholder advisory council – a high level group set up to support the network in its future development.
Karl Dietrich Imkamp is one of the acting members of the EMN’s stakeholder council. As the Head of Metrological Qualification, Business Unit Multisensoric CMM at ZEISS, he provides the following statement:
“As a producer of high precision optics for semiconductor manufacturing, ZEISS understands the need for metrology in advanced manufacturing. Past experiences show us that any results are ultimately limited by the accuracy of measurement techniques. Advances in manufacturing can therefore only be achieved in line with advances in metrology. Zeiss is therefore very interested in the network and what it will offer in the coming years.”
Providing further input, Alessandro Balsamo (INRiM), EMN acting vice-chair, comments:
“Industrial stakeholders are often competitors to each other. In spite of this, successful European and international networks focussed on and involving companies do exist. Even in a competitive framework, the importance of a common network is recognised, particularly for advanced topics that exceed individual competences and resources. This is particularly true for small and medium enterprises, which constitute a large fraction of the European employment and turnover.”
Today, the objectives of the EMN are to promote a permanent stakeholder dialogue, to develop a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), to create a knowledge-sharing programme, and to implement a web-based service desk for stakeholders.
Through these precisely defined steps, the EMN aims to address the existing needs of advanced manufacturing stakeholder communities, and in turn, to support the growth of industries such as additive manufacturing, nanotechnology and the Industrial Internet of Things.
A future outlook of the EMN is provided by Daniel O’Connor (NPL), EMN acting vice-chair:
“The EMN is currently focussed on preparing a first draft of an SRA for advanced manufacturing, based on the analysis of existing roadmaps and strategy documents in consultation with stakeholders.
This SRA will outline the metrology challenges facing the aforementioned three key areas of the EMN. It will also describe overarching metrology issues along the whole manufacturing chain and address methods for achieving sustainability.”
For more information about the new network, please visit the website of EMN Advanced Manufacturing.
You may also be interested to have a look at this recently published paper, entitled ‘New European Metrology Network for Advanced Manufacturing’.
The EMN is supported by the EMPIR project 19NET01, which is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.