The Center for Precision Metrology is an interdisciplinary association of faculty and student researchers at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, allied with industrial partners in the research, development and integration of precision metrology as applied to manufacturing. Working with dimensional tolerances on the order of 10 parts per million or better, precision metrology encompasses the methods of production and inspection in manufacturing, measurement, algorithms, tolerance representation, and the integration of metrology into factory quality systems.
Our mission is to break new ground in precision metrology by addressing real-world industrial concerns. The Center received its initial federal support as a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (NSF I/UCRC) with two 5-year awards. The I/UCRC program is set up to allow industrial members and Center researchers to collaborate on projects that involve generic and specific manufacturing metrology problems. In support of these collaborative research efforts, the membership dues are applied to projects voted on by the members, supporting students through graduate research assistantships. This successful membership model has endured, although the Center has successfully graduated from the I/UCRC program in 2010. Additional specific research is funded through contracts with industrial partners to address proprietary application and development projects. The Center also engages in non-Affiliate research supported by the National Science Foundation, national laboratories, and other government agencies.
Exploration and applications of dimensional measurement to manufacturing and associated state-of-the-art processes with required dimensional tolerances on the order of ten parts per million; critical for remaining agile and competitive in a world economy where trends in all aspects of manufacturing are moving toward tighter tolerances.
The Center for Precision Metrology synthesizes the practical needs for the industrial community with the interdisciplinary experience of faculty project leaders from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, chemistry, applied physics and business. These faculty have expertise encompassing machine metrology, precision controls, surface metrology applications and algorithms, computer-aided tolerancing and factory control, virtual and dynamic simulation, nanometric instrumentation, electro-optics and total quality management.
Industrial Affiliate Membership
Members of CPM's Industrial Affiliates meet semi-annually to review progress of the projects within the program. Student researchers present their work and have the opportunity to discuss the technical details individually with industry leaders. In addition, new projects are proposed by faculty who collaborate with the industrial members to identify key projects that address generic and specific concerns in manufacturing metrology. Those projects which receive sufficient support of the members are initiated in the next year. Benefits of Affiliate membership include the frequent interaction with the Center's faculty and students (many of whom end up working for affiliate members), access to the research projects as they are developed, and preferential access to the resources of the Center.
Metrology and Associated Laboratories
The Center maintains a host of state-of-the-art facilities in order to sustain research, development, and training in metrology. For critical measurement, many instruments are housed in a 1500 sq. ft. controlled environment, 20° ± 0.1° C, class 10,000 metrology laboratory. Other laboratories include computer-aided design, manufacturing, and modeling, precision motion systems, precision electro-optical systems, mechatronics, scanned probe microscopes, and instrument development, supported by a precision machine shop and an electronics shop. Laboratories and offices currently occupy over 33,000 sq. ft. of the 100,000 sq. ft. in Duke Centennial Hall.