The Center for Precision Metrology is an interdisciplinary association of UNC Charlotte faculty and student researchers, 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.
Originally supported as a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (NSFI/UCRC), the Center for Precision Metrology is charged with breaking new ground in precision metrology through addressing real-world industrial concerns. Through the associated Affiliates Program, industrial and Center researchers collaborate on projects that involve generic and specific manufacturing metrology problems. In support of the Center’s research efforts, affiliate members contribute funds and equipment that are directly applied to student projects and research assisntantships.
Additional specific research is funded through contracts with industrial partners to address proprietary application and development projects. Government funding is solicited for sponsoring fundamental and large-scale metrology projects. Additionally the Center is partnered with lead university UCLA as an NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Scalable and Integrated Nanomanufacturing (SINAM) along with the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; University of California, San Diego; and HP labs.
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, manufacturing, 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.
Project leaders, many of whom are leaders in developing National and International Standards for metrology, collaborate with industrial representatives to determine key projects that address generic and specific concerns in manufacturing metrology. Leveraging industrial and university resources, generic core research is funded by dues from corporate affiliate members which guarantee them a voice in guiding projects toward real world problems of beneficial generic value. The affiliate dues provide research assistantships (up to $18,000+ tuition) for students who work on these core projects. Specific research is funded by contracts with industry to address unique or proprietary applications and development challenges and concerns. Government funding is solicited for sponsoring fundamental and large scale metrology projects.
In order to sustain research, development, and training in metrology, facilities are maintained to manufacture components at the required levels. 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 33,000sq. ft. of the 100,000 sq. ft. in Duke Centennial Hall.