IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement - September 2023 - 5

Basics of Industrial Metrology
David Macii
A
s known, cyber-physical systems and ICT technologies
in general are the backbone of the fourth
industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0 in
Europe). However, flexibility, efficiency, resilience and, above
all, high-quality smart manufacturing could not be achieved
without the essential contribution of measurement science.
This is supposed to play a key role also for the development
of value-centric, fully sustainable organizations envisioned
in the forthcoming fifth industrial revolution. The most recent
measurement techniques and technologies (e.g., networked
and distributed measurement systems, advanced sensing
solutions, machine-learning-based diagnostic solutions)
supporting process and product monitoring in smart manufacturing
companies are essential to reach specified quality
targets and/or to ensure compliance with given technical, regulatory
or legal requirements. Industrial metrology comprises
all organizational and measurement procedures, techniques
and technologies that contribute to reach the aforementioned
goals, thus improving both customers' satisfaction and company
competitiveness. In [1], Savio et al. highlight the strong
economic benefits of industrial metrology in four different
case studies. In particular, it turns out that, despite relevant initial
investments, Internal Return Rates (RRs) ranging between
20% and 44% can be achieved with payback times shorter than
three years. A pre-Brexit survey reports that UK companies using
measurement standards are twice as likely to export goods
compared with companies of the same size that instead make
a marginal use of metrology within their processes, with an estimated
impact on yearly turnover that ranges from 1.7% to
5.3% [2].
This tutorial paper presents some key industrial metrology
definitions, management issues and challenges. After an overview
of the role of measurement and monitoring activities in
quality-oriented industrial organizations and a description of
the difference between instrument calibration, verification and
adjustment, two pillars of industrial metrology are introduced:
the concepts of measurement process and metrological confirmation.
Finally, the criteria to select and to review the time
intervals between subsequent metrological confirmations is
presented, and an adaptive policy to review the duration of
such intervals is described.
Measurement Requirements in Qualityoriented
Industrial Organization
Quality-oriented organizations usually follow a Plan-DoCheck-Act
(PDCA) management model, also known as
Deming cycle (Fig. 1). The ultimate goal of this approach is
continuous quality improvement. On the basis of customers'
specifications, market and third-party requirements and context-
or organization-related constraints, first the activities
of a given process are carefully planned ( " Plan " step). Then,
the steps to carry out such activities are actually implemented
( " Do " step) and monitored, both to check the correctness of
process operations and to evaluate performance through appropriate
indicators ( " Check " step). Finally, from outcomes,
monitoring results and other possible feedback information,
corrective, preventive or improvement actions are taken
( " Act " step) to revise process planning and eventually to improve
it.
Within this general framework, the purpose of measurement-related
activities in a typical industrial scenario is
twofold, i.e.,
◗ Monitoring the crucial steps of each process, particularly
(but not only) the manufacturing ones;
◗ Testing the conformity of products or services to
specifications.
In this regard, the ISO Standard 9001:2015 on quality
management systems explicitly states that " an organization
shall provide the resources needed to ensure valid and
reliable results when monitoring or measuring the conformity
This article is part of the Instrumentation and Measurement Society's Read our Videos-Watch our Papers effort. Click the logo
above to access the video tutorials at https://ieee-ims.org/vt-program.
September 2023
IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine
1094-6969/23/$25.00©2023IEEE
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IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement - September 2023

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