National Physical Laboratory

Micro-coordinate Metrology

Micro-coordinate Metrology

Micro-coordinate metrology is required to assist modern manufacturing industries to ensure accurate and repeatable production and integration of miniature parts to produce products.

NPL has been active in micro-coordinate measuring machine (micro-CMM) development for over a decade and developed the world's first micro-CMM. We now have a Zeiss F25 micro-CMM, several optical systems and a patented vibrating tactile probe.

For almost all industrial inspection purposes, optical micro-CMMs (such as focus variation, confocal, coherence scanning interferometry) are the preferred solution, due to their non-tactile operation, their ease of use, speed of measurement and easy integration into production lines. However, these optical systems are difficult to verify and calibrate, and subject to many adverse optical effects. It is essential that these optical micro-coordinate measuring systems be unified with calibrated tactile systems to ensure industrial users can be confident on all micro-coordinate measurements.

Existing tactile micro-CMM probing systems are fast becoming inadequate for co-ordinate metrology of true 3D micro-scale parts, owing to their lack of sensitivity, damaging interactions and difficulty of use. Tactile micro-CMMs also lack adequate standards for verification (existing CMM standards, such as ISO 10360, are not applicable).

Research team

  • Daniel O'Connor
  • Christopher Jones
  • Alan Wilson
  • Wenjuan Sun

Recent publications



For more information, please contact James Claverley or Alan Wilson

Last Updated: 31 Jul 2017
Created: 21 Sep 2010


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