What is the Difference Between Metrology and Measurement?

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Metrology and Measurement can appear to be very similar, but there are key differences. We wanted to explore them both in more detail

Measurement is something that appears in our everyday lives – from finding out our height to put on a form, checking the size of a package for shipping, to even using a phone app to measure the size of the room. Measurement simply refers to measuring something!

Measurements might be simple or incredibly complex, but their accuracy helps ensure the object being measured works or performs as it is intended.  For example, the tiny components in a mobile phone must be positioned exactly right so that the device can function flawlessly. In a jet engine, component edges need to be the correct shape and size to control material stresses. The panels that make up a car or truck need to fit together neatly, and the doors entirely press the seals to keep us safe. And the tiles in a fusion reactor need to be fitted correctly to contain the plasma!

The progress towards perfection in the amazing products that we see around us and the levels of safety that we now achieve are driven by measurements and the science behind them, the science of the tools, the ways of measuring and using those measurements – this is metrology.

The measurement industry is now worth $10 billion and it has exploded over the last two decades thanks to incredible innovations from hundreds of companies , who are all passionate about transforming lives by improving the quality and safety of the products that we all use and rely on.

Measurement Tools
Traditional Measurement Tools (Left) – GapGun Pro2 (Right)

We sat down with Third Dimension founder Tim Monks, who has been part of the metrology industry for the last 20 years. He explained his view on the industry’s transformation:

“When I first showed engineers the GapGun in the 1990s, they were amazed by the laser precision, but didn’t dare ask their boss for what was then $10ks when a carrot gauge cost $5. Of course, the difference in quality between the two is indescribable but it wasn’t an easy decision for the engineers. These days, nobody thinks twice. Doing the job correctly and accurately matters the most”.

Metrology lies behind this change in mindset – it has provided us with the tools which allow us to establish whether or not a simple carrot gauge is needed, or if precision levels need to be raised with the GapGun. Essential standards exist within metrology like the ISO17025 which ensures devices measure true and meet the correct specifications.

Metrology is a field which began transforming our lives over a hundred years ago when it helped ensure one supplier’s nut would fit another supplier’s bolt. There is no doubt that in the future, measurement and metrology will continue to play a huge role in all aspects of our lives.

To find out more about metrology and how Third Dimension’s non-contact, precision profile measurement solutions can benefit your business, contact us here.

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