In 1972, following a distinguished career in the automotive industry, Gian Paolo Dallara founded Dallara Automobili in Varano de’ Melegari, near Parma, Italy. Since then, the company has expanded, designing and building cars for almost all of the racing competitions and winning races worldwide.
This is a success story, the result of a passion for mechanics, involving the company‘s 180 employees (including 60 engineers) on a daily basis: men and women who work with passion and skill on high-technology projects in order to gain the edge in the fiercely competitive world of motor racing. In particular, it is absolutely necessary that each stage of production and assembly carried out in the factory at Varano de’ Melegari is tested and validated using adequate measurement and control procedures. Paola Carlorosi Quality Assurance & Quality Control Manager at Dallara Automobili, explains: “Our cars are a concentration of high technology and innovation. Quality control is of paramount importance as it must ensure that Dallara cars are produced according to expected standards, providing exceptional performance and reliability.”
FARO‘s sophisticated portable measurement equipment fully satisfies the technological requirements of Dallara Automobili and FARO has been the automotive company’s chosen partner for a number of years. Carlorosi: “Our collaboration has been ongoing since 2007, demonstrating the strength of our partnership. Our latest investment dates back to 2012 when we decided to buy a 2.7m measuring arm, the FARO Edge ScanArm, which we mainly use for non-contact quality control and reverse engineering.” The FARO Edge ScanArm – which combines the FARO Edge portable measurement arm with a laser scanning probe (FARO Laser Line Probe) – is a portable 7-axis coordinate measuring machine (CMM), which allows the user to easily check product quality through 3D inspections, comparisons with the CAD design, dimensional analysis and reverse engineering. The integrated Laser Line Probe for laser scanning ensures a perfect 3D measurement without touching the surface of the product. At Dallara, the FARO Edge ScanArm is mainly used to check the airfoils and the most important structural components made of carbon fibre. “With this new measuring device,” continues Paola Carlorosi, “the speed of data acquisition has increased enormously. Considering that the device operator completed the training course and was operational after just three days, we can only be satisfied.”
And that’s not all: “The data analysis phase has become easier as the CAM2 Measure 10 measurement software develops really clear, easy-to-navigate reports. Today, reporting is much more comprehensive and informative than ever before and, once the point cloud has been obtained, every detail can be analysed section by section – especially the airfoils – by comparing the theoretical project data with the actual measurements. We also execute processes and controls for external customers who are very pleased to receive reports that are easy to read, clear and transparent, even for non-experts. It is an advantage for our business.” Another important benefit is that it is no longer necessary to treat components with opacifiers, which was necessary in the past for the non-contact measurement of black and glossy carbon surfaces. Paola Carlorosi: “The FARO laser probe technology allows polished carbon surfaces to be scanned without having to apply opacifiers, which also required processing to remove the product afterwards. The whole operation has therefore become much faster: we save 30 minutes on average for each square metre to be checked.”
Dallara is currently using the FARO Edge ScanArm in the development and construction of the chassis for the new 2014 Japanese Championship Super Formula. It has been used right from the prototype phase. Paola Carlorosi: “Even in this situation, we have been able to perform quality controls more precisely, saving on average 50% of the time spent on the same activities in the past. It’s an amazing achievement.” And she concludes: “In general, the checks performed during the production and testing phases allow us to reduce errors, improve our core manufacturing processes and, in conclusion, achieve a higher quality level. If these checks are carried out using high-performance equipment that increases quality and reduces workload, then the benefits are definitely worthy of a Grand Prix!”
In addition to large and small casting capabilities, Goldens’ also utilizes a centrifugal casting that is unique in the foundry industry. The process requires a special mix of knowledge, practices, and skills that differ greatly from other types of foundry operations. In Goldens’ centrifugal casting process, molten iron is poured into a hollow cylindrical mold spinning on a horizontal or vertical axis at speeds generating 40 to 70 Gs of centrifugal force. This force distributes the molten metal, promotes directional solidification, and improves casting integrity by forcing impurities to the inside surface. When the casting has cooled, it is removed from the mold. Castings may be machined in follow-up with excellent properties.
To ensure these properties, each casting must be inspected. This can present a real problem. The size of a cast can be 40 x 30 x 30 inches and weigh 250 pounds. The bores, bolt holes, threaded holes, milled surfaces, and casted features all need to be measured and verified. This work was previously done using a traditional fixed CMM and hand tools. These methods proved inefficient as the CMM required complicated and even cumbersome set ups. The measurement range of the fixed CMM was not large enough and that created the need for the hand tools. To work around this, parts had to be arranged in multiple setups, often requiring a hoist in order to check the entire part.
“Obviously, this was not a perfect solution with respect to our practice of productivity, efficiency, and eliminating waste,” said Jason Gallahair, an engineer at Goldens’. “To correct, or improve, this process we looked for a more user-friendly and portable system that was scalable to our application while still adhering to our principles of value.”
The complete solution they were looking for was found in the revolutionary FARO Edge ScanArm perfect for Inspection and Reverse Engineering. The Edge is a portable CMM, a measurement arm, with an easily interchangeable contact and non-contact measurement capability. The system allows Goldens’ to check an entire part, on all sides, in one set location. The system reduced the setup time for large, multi-sided parts. The maneuverability of the Edge allows a user to reach all of the needed part features. This kind of flexibility is just not possible with a fixed CMM where you are often met with situations where if you can’t reach a feature, you are required to move the part, re-fixture it, and then measure again.
Return on Investment
“Though there was some scepticism and misunderstanding, at first, in how the FARO Edge was going to be used, now it’s one of the busiest pieces of equipment on our shop floor,” said Josh Shorey, a quality control tech at Goldens’. “After a three-day training class, our users were fully proficient in programming and checking parts with the Edge.” The fast, and easy, setups with the Edge have greatly impacted the overall efficiency of the floor. Total check time for parts that once took 45 minutes and three position changes on a traditional CMM, are now done in only 2 and half minutes using the FARO Edge – a reduction of over 90%. “Goldens’ even gained recognition from an important customer by scoring a perfect 100-percent on their metrology capabilities after purchasing their FaroArm,” added Mr. Gallahair. “This customer is a FARO user too.”
The company saved 85 man hours on just one part number in the first six months after implementing FARO into their processes. Goldens’ have seen a reduction in time, an improvement in their processes, and a savings in money – all key components to their overall dedication to continuous improvement.
Jay Freeland, President and CEO of FARO Technologies Inc is one of the leading players in the 3D laser scanning industry. If you know anything about Jay, you know that he has been vocal about pushing the development of 3DLS technology so it can reach the widest professional community possible, a task he refers to as the “democratization” of 3D. Clearly, Jay and FARO have some big plans for the future.
I caught up with Jay following FARO’s 3D Documentation conference this year to discuss FARO’s future, why democratizing 3DLS tech is so important, and why making a more affordable scanner is so difficult. Jay also gave me a picture of what he imagines the future of 3D will look like, and just how far off we are from 3D finally breaking big.
Sean Higgins: During his keynote, Rob Pietsch [FARO’s VP of marketing for the Americas] said that this year’s conference wasn’t about the scanner so much as what you can do with it. Can you talk a little more about the things that FARO is working on to change what you can do with the scanner?
Jay Freeland: Numbers one and two are ease of use and price of entry. When you think about bringing technology to a set of users to adopt when that technology doesn’t exist in the space currently—those are the types of things that can help drive the penetration.
I think the third piece that goes along with that is customizing the solution for the different verticals, and maybe even specific applications depending on how unique they are to the customer. That drives the adoption as well.
For us, internally, we’re driving all three of those at the same time. Some of it is through our own R&D, of course, and there’s still a lot of work to be done on lowering the total cost of ownership, lowering the price of the scanner to the general population.
In many respects, we’re still in the early adopter phase of the cycle. When you look at the price point today versus where we think it needs to go in the longer term, our current pricing is still much higher than the normal threshold for a lot of surveyors, law enforcement, and construction, and those different groups.
A lot of what we do is going to be through mergers and acquisitions. So if you look at the acquisition of CAD Zone, that’s a good example, and a first step toward offering software that’s specific to an industry. There are other acquisitions like that. We can pick up application layers that can easily be attached to the scanner, and allow us to integrate 3D data into existing software.
The last way is via things like the app store. Oliver Bürkler talked about the app store and what we’re doing there. You’ll see users who have very specific applications—they’ll write the app, put it on the app store, and it will go to a really small sliver of the marketplace, but it will be available.
All of that goes back to driving the ease of use for the customer and lowering the entry point.
Sean: This ties into a common theme from the 3D Documentation conferences, which is the democratization of 3D scanning technology. Why is that so important to FARO?
Jay: Number one, it’s important to us because we believe this is the right way to solve the measurement problems that are out there. That means pure measurement in the traditional surveyor’s sense or the traditional construction sense, all the way through the imaging side of it, where we look at how people are establishing the imaging for games, or in the movie or television industries.
The ability to capture rapidly at that level of accuracy and with that level of density and detail is the next evolutionary step away from traditional cameras, tape measures, and total stations.
Number two, if you look at it from a business standpoint—when you’re thinking about surveyors, civil engineers, construction engineers, law enforcement personnel, law enforcement agencies, investigative agencies—there are easily a couple million customers who we could sell the technology to.
FARO as a company has sold to only 15,000 customers in total, and that accounts for the fact that the vast majority of our customers are on the metrology side, in the industrial world, where we’ve been for 30 years. So, we have barely scratched the surface. I mean, that is a massive market opportunity. If we solve that market problem correctly – from the technology standpoint, the ease of use standpoint, the price point – it becomes a viable option for all of those folks to make the transition from 2D into full 3D.
Sean: For anyone who wasn’t there at the conference, what would you say was the big takeaway? I noticed there wasn’t a big product or software announcement.
Jay: What I really want them to think about is the opportunity that’s out there to improve their own businesses, to make their own businesses more productive, more profitable. I want them to think about the opportunity to solve the current problems that people are solving today, plus a whole array of new problems that can’t be adequately solved. The scanner opens up a whole new world for people to do that. That’s takeaway number one.
Number two is that the scanner is already pretty darn easy to use, and pretty affordable, and they can rely on FARO to drive that to a point where it is entirely easy to use and entirely affordable for the population of targeted users.
Now, does that mean that the average Joe on the street is going to walk up and buy a laser scanner? I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that in the near term. When you think about consumer 3D printing and things like that, it’s a whole different marketplace. Somebody’s going to solve problem that through a smartphone, through normal camera technology. The image can be dimensionally proportionate, but it doesn’t need to be dimensionally accurate. It will be good enough for the average consumer, but that’s not FARO’s world.
Our world is the professionals who really need the technology because that’s how they make their living and that’s how they protect the safety of citizens, and how they ensure the efficiency and accuracy of civil works projects, or large construction projects, or buildings and other things of that nature. So takeaway number two is that we are, in fact, going to make the technology accessible to that broad user set.
Takeaway number three is that we are still in the early adopter phase. All the people who are at the conference are the pioneers from an end-user standpoint. So their feedback as to where we should be going – or where we can be going – is vital to helping solve the broader problem across that total market opportunity.
Even if we had a product release, I would say those are three takeaways and the product release would be the fourth one. This is a bigger mission to think about what we are trying to do in a very wide open market where we are barely scratching the surface. We’re just getting started.
Sean: In that case, I’d also like to ask where you’d like to see 3D laser scanning technology used where it isn’t already used. Do you have any ideas for future possibilities?
Jay: You know, I hear this question and of course I get excited, because I think it could be used everywhere. Like I said, everything’s got three dimensions, it’s just a matter of whether it’s worth capturing it or not.
Can I find an industry where they’re not using it yet? I’m hard-pressed to find one where there isn’t at least someone who’s trying it out. Again, we’re in that early adopter phase. For me the bigger question, or maybe the one that’s more appropriate at this time is: What do we need to do to drive better adoption across all of those different verticals?
Sean: How far do you think the industry is from producing hardware and software that makes this technology truly easy for those verticals to adopt?
Jay: I think we’re close. And when I say close it doesn’t mean that two months from now FARO is going to release something that hits the mark—we’re certainly not that close. When I think about the price point that really makes sense to the marketplace and the feedback we get from the customers we are already dealing with, the engineering task at hand is not insignificant.
It’s not like if you sold 10,000 scanners a year, you’d get enough volume leverage to help bring the price down. You couldn’t sell enough scanners the way the technology is currently configured. So it’s a real engineering challenge to be solved. Obviously nobody has solved it yet, and we feel like we’re in the position to do it.
If we’re sitting here in five years’ time and I’m still at the same price point, then something has gone really amiss.
Sean: At the end of an interview, I like to include a big question. What do you imagine for the future of 3D technology? Where do you think it will be in 50 years?
Jay: If I take the broadest possible picture and not think about what we’re trying to do—in 50 years, if the entire world doesn’t have the ability to do things in 3D at their fingertips, then something has gone awry. Will people still hang regular 2D photographs in their houses because of the image, the memory, etc? Of course. When you’re using smartphone or your camera, are you going to have the option to take the photograph in 3D or 2D? For sure. Will you be able to take that data and send it off to either a 3D printer at your house or a FedEx or a Kinko’s that has them? For sure.
Do I think that the professional world, you know, the industries that we talk about that we target, do I think that all of them will be using 3D technology in 50 years? Yes, I think they will be using it, if not 100% of the time, then it will be pretty darn close.
I think people will be able to walk around with something they are able to hold in their hand and get the same image clarity and accuracy, and perhaps maybe not the same range, but good enough for a lot of the projects. I have no doubt the technology will migrate there.
Do I think that we’ll be able to scan data, immediately upload it through the cloud, back to their offices and already have all the data rendered and all the visualizations done before they even get back? No question in my mind. That’s where I see it headed.
I am one of those true believers that it’s never a matter of if it can be done. Yes, there are laws of physics and things like that, but people have challenged the laws of physics pretty effectively. It’s not a matter of if it can be done, it’s just a matter of when. If you give a 50-year time window like that, there’s not a doubt in my mind that all of that, and probably well beyond that is going to happen.
The FARO Edge ScanArm HD combines the flexibility and the functionalities of a FARO Edge measuring Arm with the high-definition Laser Line Probe HD creating a powerful contact/non-contact portable measurement system ideal for challenging application requirements.
The FARO Edge ScanArm HD delivers rapid point cloud collection with extreme resolution and high accuracy without any special coatings or target placement – all in a compact and easy-to-use system.
A short video showcasing the FARO ScanArm and it’s it’s ability to scan a vast spectrum of surfaces ranging from shiny carbon fibre to a mirror finished chrome part, as shown in the video below.
The extra wide scan stripe and fast frame rate boosts productivity by increasing coverage and reducing scanning time. Intricate components can be captured in fine detail as a result of the 2,000 actual points per scanline and the new blue laser featuring noise reduction technology. Users can dramatically reduce required training time with the new crosshair feature and existing LED Rangefinder functionality, which provides real-time scanning feedback.
Our FARO Edge ScanArm HD is the most affordable, high performance contact/non-contact measurement system and is ideal for product development, Inspection, and Quality control and offers capabilities such as point cloud comparison with CAD, rapid prototyping, Reverse engineering, and 3D modeling of free-from surfaces.
Chesterfield based Ondrives Ltd is a precision manufacturer of gears, gearboxes, bearing housings and a wide range of associated products. In addition to supplying a large UK customer base, the company’s output is distributed worldwide through a network of agents. Ondrives supply an all-inclusive range of standard, off-the-shelf products that feature in its comprehensive gear product catalogue, and also design and manufacture ‘specials’ to customers’ individual requirements. Through the use of the company’s state-of-the-art design facilities and machine tools, Ondrives’ skilled staff are able to design and produce parts ranging in size from just a few millimeters, to components of one meter plus.
As part of Ondrives’ pursuit of continuous improvements the company recently purchased a FARO Gage measuring arm to help further increase its shop-floor measurement capabilities. Through continuous investment and development Ondrives has established an excellent global reputation. Much of this reputation has been built on the outstanding quality of our products. Our all-embracing inspection procedures and material traceability checks cover goods-inward, though all stages of production and on to final inspection.
Prior to final inspection, our production operatives take responsibility for the quality of their own output and have access to a wide range of premium measuring instruments. To help expand the range of accurate measurements our operators are able to make whilst components are located in the machines tools, we recently purchased a FARO Gage measuring arm.
“Not only has our new FARO product improved the accuracy and repeatability of our on machine checks, it allows us to correct errors at source. The Gage’s ease of use has considerably speeded-up our in-process inspection tasks and has resulted in reduced machine tool down-time and increased productivity.
“As the Gage is so user-friendly and intuitive, our operators who underwent the original product training have been able to explain its use to all other relevant colleagues. Now, each of our operators has become proficient in the Gage’s use. Given its popularity with our operators and its highly portable nature, the Gage is now used throughout our facility.
Want to find out more about our innovative product range? Then check out our FARO Website!
The Dancing Faun was discovered on October 26, 1830 in the ruins of the most opulent Roman home discovered at Pompeii: the House of the Faun, as it later became known, which was also home to the Alexander Mosaic. The Faun is thought to be either a 2nd-century Greek original, or a very high-quality Roman copy.
With help from the FARO Edge ScanArm HD, Cosmo Wenman were able to scan a 18th-centruy plaster cast of the Faun at the Skulpturhalle Basel museum. The scan did however require some digital resculpting to restore loss of detail in the plaster and to restore two broken fingers on his left hand. With this Cosmo Wenman plan to use the 3D scanned data to cast a 1:1 copy in bronze, the first of its kind.
Ideal for capturing highly accurate and detailed historical artifacts, the FARO Edge Scan Arm can enable the reverse engineering or even aid in the restoration of artefacts just like that of the Dancing Faun. However the products versatility means that, no matter what you are up against, be it a need to perform 3D inspections, CAD-to-part analysis or alignments – FARO’s portable CMMs are the industry standard in Metrology.
FARO Technologies Inc., the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement technology, was elected “Milestone of the Industry” by Vogel Business Media in the category of measurement and testing technology.
Vogel Business Media (VBM), a worldwide major specialist media publisher that focusses on the markets Automation, Automobile, Electronics, Production, Mechanical Engineering, Design Engineering among others celebrates its 120th birthday. In order to share this success, VBM honors based on this long lasting experience within the industry markets important players of the industry for their achievements in innovation and technological development.
The award “Milestone of the Industry” for FARO is based on FARO’s innovation started in 1984 with the development of the first measurement arm used for orthopedic applications and in 1994 to be the first measurement company in the world that developed measurement arms which worked like a fixed co-ordinate measuring machine but would provide mobility, flexibility, wide range measurements with a high accuracy to the users. This innovation was considered a milestone of the industry for its revolutionary contribution to the industrial history. It changed and simplified the way that quality, surfaces and dimensions of products, etc. could be measured. This achievement was followed by a number of outstanding innovations that make FARO a trusted partner in the industry today.
FARO’s success is proven through numerous recognitions and awards. The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D FARO has already prevailed twice with regards to the Hardware Product of the year award at the Construction Computing award contest, 2012 and recently in November 2014. The Focus3D impressed due to its extremely powerful and accurate three-dimensional measurement method, which offers numerous advantages compared with conventional measurement systems.
Geospatial World, considered the world’s largest geospatial technical resource portal, confirmed this vote for the Focus3D in 2014 with the Technology Innovation Award acknowledging that it sets new standards with regards to performance and ease-of-use.
“FARO is very proud to be considered a milestone for the industrial development.”, said Jay Freeland, President and CEO of FARO Technologies Inc., “With our recently introduced new FARO® Scanner Freestyle3D, we will do our utmost to keep this innovation pace and leadership position.” The Freestyle3D is the latest addition to the FARO 3D laser scanning portfolio and provides customers with the same intuitive feel and ease-of-use in a handheld device, enabling users to maneuver and scan in tight and hard-to-reach areas such as car interiors, under tables and behind objects making it ideal for crime scene data collection or architectural preservation and restoration activities.
Machined parts have long been reserved for industrial markets. However, they have recently started being used in the construction industry to meet the demands of architects who are continually pushing the boundaries in both their architectural designs and their choice of materials. As a result, building professionals must find different ways of working, breaking their habit of making on-site adjustments, which would be impossible (as machine tools are not portable) or extremely costly for these kinds of parts. Cambium – an industrial company that has diversified into the construction industry – has understood this change perfectly, as Thomas Mermillod, Head of Research and Development at the company, explains: “It is essential for the parts to fit together well, which means it is necessary to have a very precise knowledge of the topography of the site and to position the first pieces with a high degree of accuracy. With the Focus3D laser scanner and FARO Laser Tracker, we are able to meet this challenge.” While new construction is not simple, renovation projects are even more complicated as the geometrical layout of the site is generally notprecisely known.
Cambium was recently faced with this situation when it participated in the renovation of the concert hall in the Maison de la Radio in Paris. Cambium was selected to manufacture and install the wooden panels of the 140 m2 acoustic reflector hanging from the ceiling in the hall. The company made 200 wooden panels, each one unique, with curved shapes and grooves of different shapes and widths. As sound quality is crucial for the reputation of a concert hall, it was imperative to respect every detail of the requirements set out by the acoustics experts (the Japanese firm Nagata Acoustics). “Without the Laser Tracker, we would not have been able to complete this project. We used the tracker to check the panels after manufacture and particularly when positioning the first panel, as this first element is crucial for the arrangement of all the parts of the structure. This long-range tool is very convenient to use: the camera was located on the ground and guided us as we positioned the panels 12 m above ground level. The tool’s range is also ideal for largescale projects, so we were able to work for an entire day without changing its position,” said Thomas Mermillod.
Cambium has been using the FARO Laser Tracker for eight years. The company uses it for the two main tasks for which laser trackers are employed – control and alignment aid. Initially, Cambium also used the tracker for scanning sites and buildings, which was a bit tedious because this required a point-by-point survey. As the Focus v laser scanner automatically creates a point cloud, things have become much easier. The tool proved to be invaluable in the renovation of the concert hall in the Maison de la Radio. It allowed Cambium to create a plan of the architecturally complex hall, which has almost no flat areas (vertical or horizontal) or angles, but many curves. “Another very important aspect of the FARO product range is that it is very easy to use the laser tracker and laser scanner within the same reference framework and using the same software (PolyWorks, in our case),” concludes Thomas Mermillod.
Regardless of what the logo says and in no matter which country an automobile was assembled, the result is produced by multi-tonne presses marked with a single name: Schuler.
Schuler’s origins stretch back 175 years and with revenue exceeding one billion, Schuler is a global giant among press manufacturers.
The FaroArm Platinum and FARO Vantage Laser Tracker both offer Schuler mobility for measuring as you can set them up quickly and easily, and also portability as they can be brought to the site where your equipment is assembled with minimal effort. For this reason Schuler values these systems highly, and sees great potential for the TrackArm in the future.
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Every minute of every day, in countless towns and cities around the world – including London, Hong Kong, Wellington, New York City, Vancouver and Las Vegas – Alexander Dennis buses carry more than 25,000 passengers. Travellers depend on high quality, reliable and comfortable Alexander Dennis buses as they go about their daily journeys. Routes are covered in conditions ranging from the extremes of tropical heat and humidity of the Far East to the dry heat of the Arizona desert and the intense cold of the Northern winters.
As a supplier of innovative, cost effective products ADL has earned a world-wide reputation for the quality of the company’s vehicles. To help preserve and further develop its stringent quality standards, ADL pursues a policy of continuous improvement. The scrupulous quality standards applied throughout the entire ADL operation are reflected in the company’s principle UK chassis manufacturing centre. Each chassis manufactured in the impressive Guilford plant undergoes meticulous dimensional inspection. As the chassis is a vehicle’s largest structural component, any small inaccuracy or miss-alignment at a given position can be significantly exaggerated in other locations.
Having identified chassis fabrication and inspection as an area where potential efficiencies and quality improvements could be made, Steve Nunn of ADL Guilford searched for a technology that would deliver the required, ease and speed of use and further improve the accuracy capability of the company’s chassis fabrication department. Having considered the alternatives, a Laser Tracker Vantage was purchased from FARO UK.
The FARO Laser Tracker is an extremely accurate, portable coordinate measuring machine that enables users to build products, optimise processes, and deliver solutions by measuring quickly, simply and precisely. Use of the FARO Laser Tracker allows the production of more competitive products, it accelerates improvement initiatives, and delivers high-performing products. With its high accuracy, large measurement range, and advanced features such as MultiView cameras, SmartFind target detection, TruADM, innovative packaging, and a water and dust resistant IP52 rating, the FARO Vantage provides a complete laser tracking solution.
Customers around the world now trust the FARO Laser Tracker to solve their everyday measurement challenges and to resolve their most complex inspection problems. Companies are making considerable saving by completing jobs faster, reducing downtime, eliminating costly scrap, and obtaining accurate, consistent and reportable measurement data.