Advanced Forming Research CentreAFRC explores the future of metrology through partnership with Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) has agreed a tier one partnership with pioneering metrology technology firm, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, which is taking the centre’s measurement and sensing capability to the next level with big benefits for Scottish firms.

Pictured from left to right:  Tim Gears of Hexagon, Daniel Melville and Daniel McMahon of the AFRC

Hexagon is providing the AFRC with cutting-edge metrology equipment, including its ROMER Absolute Arm - one of the world’s most coveted measuring arms.  The Hexagon kit is also entirely portable, allowing the AFRC’s engineers to take their expertise on the road to manufacturing facilities across the country.

Providing precision measurement of full-scale assemblies, Hexagon’s equipment will allow AFRC engineers and researchers to address metrology challenges and validate existing measurement systems. They can now fully explore the future of metrology, at the same time, unlocking exciting new opportunities for wider industry by engaging with businesses of all sizes to share the centre’s valuable new resources. 

Hexagon will also gain significant benefits from the new partnership. Along with access to the AFRC’s core research programme, the firm will gain access to the centre’s vast network. This includes some of the world’s leading manufacturing and technology companies, such as Rolls-Royce and Virtalis.

The state of the art technology is currently employed across a number of AFRC projects nearing the industrialisation phase, placing Hexagon firmly at the forefront of new manufacturing developments.

Planning to integrate the new Hexagon equipment with its own robotics, the metrology team at the AFRC will use its new kit to increase robot accuracy. It is also set to address other key areas in this field, including automated metrology, the global positional accuracy of robotic arms and the creation of an innovative new machine tool. 

Danny McMahon, Senior Manufacturing Engineer and Metrology Team Lead, at the Advanced Forming Research Centre said:   

Access to this pioneering technology marks an evolution in our ability to help manufacturers in their own facilities. It can really benefit a production facility in sectors such as automotive, aviation or shipbuilding, checking for defects or measuring and inspecting large parts.

This equipment is a large investment for small and medium-sized companies and so we’re sharing resources and making it as accessible to firms across Scotland of all sizes.  We are also looking to integrate metrology with robotics, creating a highly accurate machine tool that has highly efficient measurement capabilities. “

Tim Gears, Business Development Engineer, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, said:  

We’re delighted to be working with the AFRC as a tier one partner as it will strengthen our knowledge and capabilities, while also enhancing our ability to support small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, develop new products and overcome production issues.

This partnership enables us to take a step back from day to day goings on to look at our key operational areas and core skills.  At the same time, we will keep the AFRC updated with the very latest Hexagon kit.

Building on our tier one memberships at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) and Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), it was only natural that the AFRC is our next stepping stone and we’re very privileged to be part of it.”