Metrology is technically defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) as "the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology."
And as with other branches of science, one should have proper training before pursuing a career in metrology. In the US, there are universities that offer a specialized program for Metrology Engineering (University of North Carolina), and in other parts of Europe, Metrology is included in some of their engineering college programs.
Taylor Hobson Ltd offers training for Metrology in UK. They have training modules that can run for a day or two, while there are courses that they can customize for their clients. They have instructors who are experts in their respective fields, a well-equipped lab, and they provide electronic handbooks or CD copies of their program for their trainees to keep (and review) even after training.
Two of their training programs in metrology are as follows:
- Surface Finish Metrology. Discussion and hands-on training on the following topics: causes for surface finish measurement; contact and non-contact measurement methods; instrument data used in metrology; stylus tip geometry and stylus effects on measurements; Surface finish terminology such as form, waviness and roughness; filters; parameters; material ratio curve (bearing area).
- Roundness Metrology. Discussion and hands-on training for the following topics: kinds of roundness measurement and various techniques in measurement; reference circles and calculation techniques; eccentricity and run-out; flatness measurement, among others.
- You may visit their website for more details on these training courses.
- For large companies, there are three general categories when it comes to metrology work (they may vary though depending on the functions of the organization):
- Set-up people – In-charge of preparing all the necessary equipment and other measuring instruments (such as dial indicator, digital caliper, laser measurement devices, software if applicable, etc.) and checking whether this equipments is functional and in good working condition.
- Operators – Conducts the actual calibration procedures and gathers data collected from the calibration; and
- Tear-down people – In-charge of post-calibration check of equipment and prepares it for storage.
Metrologists functions at a higher level than technicians. The main difference lies in the systems approach and documentation that metrologists follow as they provide scientific and measurement solutions. Because of this scientific approach, certain industries depend on this science to transform their theories into applied science.
Careers in metrology can be found in the following industries:
- Legal and public works such as public safety, taxation, consumer welfare and fair trade.
- Commercial nuclear power
- Medical devices
Metrology has indeed come a long way since its known history during the Indus Valley civilization. It requires discipline and an interest in learning and enhancing the science of metrology. Metrology has various systems depending on the country. In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plays a pivotal role in promoting metrology and advancing its commercial and scientific applications.