£40M Research Center Supports Metrology in Industry 4.0

Future Metrology Hub officially launches at University of Huddersfield.

Metrology is an integral part of the fourth industrial revolution. With manufacturers facing waves of big data as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ramps up and factories get smarter, the demand for higher levels of accuracy and precision is all the more pressing.

Fortunately, the need for metrology has not gone unnoticed. The University of Huddersfield recently launched a £40-million metrology research center which aims to play a crucial role in the fourth industrial revolution.

The seven-year Future Metrology Hub, which has received £10 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with extra funding from universities and business partners, was officially launched at an event attended by more than 130 scientists, engineers, academics and industrialists from around the UK.

The universities of Sheffield, Bath and Loughborough will contribute to the research center in specialized areas. Industry collaborators include BAE Systems, Carl Zeiss, GKN Aerospace, Jaguar Land Rover, Reliance Precision, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens.

Renishaw’s group engineering director, Geoff McFarland discussed his company’s experience in the field as part of his keynote address at the launch. “We don’t have all the answers,” he said, “and there are more and more questions. And that is why we are involved with this wonderful Hub.”

The Future Metrology Hub had a visit from Sir Patrick Stewart earlier this year.

The Future Metrology Hub, aiming to boldly go where no metrologist has gone before, had a visit from Sir Patrick Stewart earlier this year. (Image courtesy of the University of Huddersfield.)

McFarland explained the basic problem metrology is facing in light of the fourth industrial revolution: people with the skillsets required for modern metrology are rare and the complexity of modern factories makes learning on the job difficult, if not impossible.

That’s why training the next generation of metrologists will be a major focus of the new hub, McFarland concluded. The demand for more skilled metrologists is has been heard all around the world. This past World Metrology Day, officials from Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria all called for increased investments in metrology, with a particular focus on the lack of skilled workers.

The science of measurement continues to be, as McFarland put it, “one of our best manufacturing tools,” and it needs to have a presence on the shop floor. Partnerships between academia and industry, like this one, are the best way to encourage engineering students to pursue metrology and help us transition into the fourth industrial revolution.

For more information, visit The Future Metrology Hub website.