||September 1, 2002
The science of measurement is a fundamental building block in all manufacturing processes and industries. Two and a half centuries ago, mechanical time measurement gave birth to ocean navigation that led to the rapid diffusion of ideas all over the world. Two centuries ago, mechanical gauge measurement gave rise to interchangeable parts and propelled the Industrial Revolution. In the last century X-Ray measurement technology gave rise to medical diagnostics that have saved millions of lives. In industry, every manufacturing process employs some type of measurement technology to assure the process is carried out according to plan. Those of us engaged in measurement science strive to achieve greater measurement resolution, accuracy, and repeatability so that we identify smaller and smaller variations in the processes we observe. When these critical small variations can be detected, one has the opportunity to determine their root cause, with the possibility that these variations can be reduced. Quality improvement programs such as Six-Sigma rely on measurement as the first step in improving quality. This quest to reduce variation leads to better functionality, lower cost, and better quality in the final product.