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Quality Scan: Coordinate Metrology Society Introduces Level Two, Device-Specific Certification


Ron Hicks, 2014 CMSC Chair

By Ron Hicks
2014 CMSC Chair, Coordinate Metrology Society


2014 is a special milestone in the history of the Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS), marking the 30th anniversary of our conference and organization. During this hallmark year, the CMS will deliver a second Certification program to the profession of portable 3D metrology. This achievement can be attributed directly to the dedicated CMS Certification Committee and our membership comprised of measurement specialists, hardware and software manufacturers, authors, scientists, academics, service providers, and manufacturing/quality assurance personnel.

The 2014 Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC) is a fitting venue for the launch of our Level-Two Certification, the first in a series of device-specific, hands-on performance assessments. The CMS is a diverse population of technology users of software and portable metrology hardware including articulating arms, laser trackers, laser radar, photogrammetry systems, laser projection systems, scanners, indoor GPS and more. These solutions enable precision measurement and inspection of parts and products utilized in everyday life from aircraft to cars, satellites to ships.

Portable 3D metrology has been integrated into manufacturing and assembly processes at a rapid rate. Data collection technologies that were once the domain of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, are now being used by technicians and shop-floor personnel for industrial applications and beyond. While measurement equipment is calibrated and certified to performance standards, the personnel operating this equipment are not. Combine that scenario with a graying workforce and the ever increasing demand for metrology expertise, the CMS community realized the need for official recognition of its knowledge and qualifications.

Last year, the CMS introduced the Level-One examination, which is a proctored, online assessment consisting of about 200 multiple choice questions covering foundational theory and practice common to most portable 3D metrology devices. This year, the organization will roll out a Level-Two examination on a portable articulating arm (coordinate measuring machine), which is a practical performance assessment. The prerequisite is a Level-One Certificate and a minimum of 200 hours of documented use of the device or technology.

During the Level Two assessment, the candidate will use the metrology instrument to collect a series of measurements on an artifact, and then analyze specific features of that artifact. An expert proctor will observe and evaluate the candidate’s technique and accuracy of measurements. The main performance areas are arm handling, probing techniques, parts set-up, and point spacing and distribution. 

These measurement operations will be conducted within a particular time limit. The majority of software and hardware combinations will be accommodated during the testing period.

The candidate’s performance will be evaluated in a series of several tasks, including setup, probe compensation, and performing field checks of an articulating arm including a basic operator repeatability test. The operator will perform a relocation and a probe change, and measure dimensions, angles, feature forms (including flatness, roundness), feature orientations, position features and a surface profile.

Over the next few years, the Coordinate Metrology Society will add other device-specific certifications for laser trackers, scanners, close range photogrammetry, and post-processing of 3D coordinate data.

It is important for an employer to understand the knowledge level of an employee or a metrology service provider in this industry. There are many variables induced by an operator that can dramatically influence data collection. The CMS Certification credential is particularly important to ISO certified manufacturers and companies with Quality Management Systems. Ultimately, certified practitioners help to legitimize metrology as an enduring profession, and advance the adoption of standardized best practices for measurement and inspection applications.

For those just entering the field, our organization’s focus on continuing education and knowledge assessment will provide profession-enhancing tools for the entirety of their career. Achieving certification is a primary step in being recognized as a standout professional, and the CMS further promotes those credentials in a centralized online database of certified metrologists.

The 30th annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference will be held in North Charleston, SC, from July 21-25. We encourage manufacturing professionals to come and learn more about this growing field. CMSC attendees will have the opportunity to participate in our fifth annual Large Volume Metrology Study (LVMS). The results and analysis of the interactive study are captured each year in our CMS Measurement Study Report made available to the membership. For more information about our organization, visit our website at

This article was first published in the April 2014 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.

Published Date: 4/1/2014

Published Date : 4/1/2014

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