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What does an orbiting telescope currently mapping the Milky Way have in common with the first all-English wristwatch to be produced in half a century? UK subcontractor Microtec EDM, Basildon, supplied prototypes and components for both ventures, as well as for a host of other innovative and high profile projects. The company recently raised the capability of its metrology department significantly by purchasing a powerful CNC video measuring system, an iNEXIV VMA-4540 from Nikon Metrology.

Control 2015, the leading international showcase for measurement and quality assurance takes place in Stuttgart from 5 to 8 May. The show brings together users from all over the world with the international market leaders and innovative suppliers of all QA related technologies, products, subsystems and complete solutions in hard and software.

Do you have a cutting-edge precision engineering or materials science inspection project or an idea for one? Would a cutting edge opto-digital microscopes help you stretch the boundaries of your ambitions and achievements? A technology grant could make that possible.


When Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso steer their Formula One cars over the track, minute details play a key role in determining the winner. The battle for every second begins long before they sit behind the wheel – it starts with the manufacturers of engines and drive systems. One of them is Pankl Racing Systems AG. The company develops and builds engine and gearing components for various motorsport teams in all international motorsport classes, including Formula One, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, NASCAR and MotoGP, the pinnacle of motorcycle racing. Pankl Engine Systems manufactures the engine components at its plant in Bruck an der Mur, Austria.

Established in 1984, Xtrac is widely recognised as the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of transmission systems. The company supports a wide client base covering top level motorsport, transportation, defence and marine.

We are working with QMT to help readers understand the value of metrology, and particularly dimensional metrology to their daily lives. Over a series of articles we will help you to meet your metrology needs in 2015, to evaluate where the need is, and provide you with the good practice approach to make the right measurements in the correct way.


Automotive applications perhaps rank among the most challenging for metrologists. The sheer range of component parts involved – the freeform surfaces of the bodywork, the complex multi-featured engine elements, the diverse material types – all present different challenges for inspection. For top manufacturers, teams of engineers are not only tasked with finding the most efficient new ways to design and build innovative vehicles, but also with ensuring their quality and optimising manufacturing processes.

Sometimes the original documentation of parts that need to be cast is not available – a problem that many businesses now solve using modern scanning technology. Indeed, even when a drawing is available, 3D scanning technology can be used to validate potential geometric and dimensional deviation between the manufactured component and the original documentation. These results can then be used in consultation with the customer to define which geometry is correct.

The 2014 report ‘A landscape for the future of NDT in the UK economy’ identifies the fundamental opportunities and challenges for the NDT community in the UK and recommends key enabling actions in order to support economic growth and increase the public’s awareness of and safety through NDT. These actions are listed in four primary sectors and cover: new business engagement, people, technology and R&D.

More than a decade ago Waters Corporation, the scientific laboratory instrument and software manufacturer, started introducing high-end metrology equipment to its several sites in the South Manchester area to help cope with the increasing demands of advanced product development and manufacture.

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