NPL metrology training goes large

Posted on 26 Oct 2009 by The Manufacturer

The National Physical Laboratory will launch a large volume metrology training programme next week in response to industry demands

The service builds on the success of NPL’s dimensional measurement training programme, which has led to big efficiency gains in UK manufacturing.

NPL established the large volume metrology (LVM) training programme following several calls from big businesses in the UK, Europe and America, including Airbus and Boeing. Until now, this type of training has been largely developed within companies, with no independently recognised courses available. NPL’s new modules will be the first such formal courses in the world, providing a framework that can be rolled out internationally to meet the LVM needs of industry.

Airbus UK’s need for LVM training is such that it has committed funding to develop the programme. Companies including Rolls-Royce and Boeing along with leading academics have helped shape the programme.

The courses will apply the training objectives of the existing framework to the equipment and methods used in large volume metrology. LVM presents different challenges due to the scale of the equipment and the environmental issues created by having to measure outside the laboratory. Participants will learn to question, understand and plan the best way to measure beyond simply operating the equipment.

This will help employees build in systems to the manufacturing process, reducing errors and waste, and improving quality control and accuracy. This ultimately means businesses can increase productivity and respond to their customers more quickly.
The new training framework is expected to make UK the world leader in LVM training

Amir Kayani, senior manufacturing engineer, Airbus UK, says: “Airbus in the UK is pleased to be supporting the development of a training course for Large Volume Metrology. We recognise the competence of the National Physical Laboratory in measurement science, and the need for a course in LVM processes and best practice. We see a course addressing the metrology needs for large volume manufacture and assembly, as being of key relevance to aerospace and other related industries.”

Development has been led by Keith Bevan, training product development manager at NPL and Stephen Kyle, honorary senior research fellow at University College London, and an expert in LVM.

“Large Volume Metrology (LVM) is now an integral and indispensable tool in manufacturing construction and assembly,” says Kyle. “Its proper understanding is critical to its successful application but until now only isolated pockets of knowledge such as textbooks and equipment manuals were available. NPL’s new training course modules provide structured, guided learning across the field of LVM, for both beginners and advanced users, and help to fill a major gap in this technology.”

The courses will have significant impact in a range of industries throughout the world, notably aerospace, automotive and defence, but also energy, medical and archaeology. NPL is currently in talks with accreditation body EAL, the UK’s leading awarding body for engineering, technology and related sectors, regarding turning the course into a certified qualification.

The NPL training courses will operate as an extension of its respected dimensional measurement training programme. Level 1 will be launched on November 3 at the Large Volume Metrology Conference at Chester Racecourse. NPL will be running pilots throughout the remainder of 2009 with sponsors, and expect to have fully-booked courses by the start of 2010. Level 2 will follow shortly afterwards. More advanced level 3 and 4 training are currently in development.

More detail is also available through the NPL website