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Advanced Dimensional Measurement Systems for Manufacturing


The Advanced Dimensional Measurement Systems for Manufacturing (ADMSM) project provides the measurement science and infrastructure needed by industry to adopt new dimensional measurement technology. We accomplish this by investigating new measurement systems, characterizing their errors, developing and codifying instrument test methods into documentary standards, designing high accuracy dimensional artifacts, and, as needed, creating new measurement services.

Some of the parameters that are used in the model for spherical coordinate 3D laser scanners.

Figure 1. Some of the parameters used in the model ADMSM-developed model for spherical coordinate 3D laser scanners. 


  • Advance dimensional metrology by developing new test methods and first principles error correction and analysis techniques and codify these methods and techniques in national and international standards.
  • Promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by developing high accuracy dimensional artifacts and new measurement services to provide measurement traceability and disseminate our institutional knowledge through collaboration on special measurement challenges and educational outreach.

Scale bar, left, for use in field testing of laser trackers, right

Figure 2. Scale bar (left) for use in field testing of laser trackers (right).


New dimensional measurement technologies provide significant benefits to industry such as increasing measurement throughput, enabling new manufacturing process (such as additive manufacturing) and providing more detailed part information for manufacturing process improvement. However, before purchasing and using new measurement technology, the user must understand the capabilities and performance of the instrument. This is not a simple task and, for much of U.S. industry, can be sizable barrier to the adoption of advanced measurement systems.

The ADMSM has unique assets and capabilities that we apply to these measurement challenges, including

  • advanced analysis capabilities to develop sophisticated models of the measuring systems
  • high accuracy testing facilities that provide industry innovators practical access to the SI unit of length
  • experience developing high accuracy dimensionally stable measurement artifacts for realization of the unit of length in industrial facilities
  • advanced mathematical algorithms to perform computationally complex analysis of the dense data sets provided by many advanced measuring systems.

The ADMSM regularly partners with U.S. industry to develop tests for new instruments as well as to provide U.S. manufacturers of measurement equipment access to our unique facilities early in the development process, helping them shorten the time to market. Through these industrial contacts, the ADMSM exchanges the vital information regarding the measurement technologies and their uncertainly sources that is critical to developing documentary standards.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Delivered new calibrated body armor artifact to the US Army that will be used to test the measuring instruments which help to ensure the effectiveness of body armor worn by troops.
  • Developed 3D laser scanner testing procedures that have been incorporated by Boeing Inc. to evaluate the measuring systems for use on the factory floor. (see Volumetric Performance Evaluation of a Laser Scanner Based on Geometric Error Model)
  • Completed development of a new high accuracy portable length standard and field check procedure for field testing of measuring systems used to assemble and inspect large manufactured components under a CRADA with Brunson. (see A Proposed Interim Check for Field Testing a Laser Tracker's 3-D Length
    Measurement Capability Using a Calibrated Scale Bar as a Reference Artifact
  • Published An improved L1 based algorithm for standardized planar datum establishment, which is now being used as the basis for a new and superior means of defining planar datums in both ASME and ISO drawing standards revisions.
  • Developed new measurement technique to calibrate long (>7 km), high accuracy length standards for the fiber-optic cable industry.
Laser tracker calibration in Tape Tunnel Facility
Figure 3. Laser tracker calibration in Tape Tunnel Facility.

Lead Organizational Unit:



  • The Boeing Company
  • Brunson Instrument Company
  • Corning Cable
  • North Star Imaging
  • Leica

Upcoming Meeting:

ASTM E57.02 Instrument Runoff/Meeting May 2-5, 2016

Facilities/Tools Used:

60 m Measuring Tunnel

  • Laser tracker ranging systems, long length measurements
  • 1D distance capability – 3 parts in 107
  • Temperature: 20±0.12 °C

Large Scale Laboratory

  • Laser trackers, laser scanners, special projects
  • Temperature: 20±0.5 °C

Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)
Engineering Physics Division (683)

General Information:
301-975-3468 Telephone
301-869-0822 Facsimile

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8211
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8211