Hexagon is providing the AFRC with metrology equipment that includes a Romer Absolute Arm. This measuring arm is entirely portable, allowing AFRC engineers to take their expertise on the road to manufacturing facilities across Scotland.

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. In addition, the engineers can now fully explore the future of metrology, unlocking opportunities for wider industry by engaging with businesses of all sizes to share the centre’s newly introduced resources.

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

The Hexagon technology is already employed across a number of AFRC projects nearing the industrialisation phase.

Planning to integrate the Hexagon equipment with its own robotics, the metrology team at the AFRC will also use the kit to increase robot accuracy, while further goals include automated metrology and the creation of an innovative new machine tool.

Danny McMahon, senior manufacturing engineer and metrology team lead at the AFRC, says: “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, aerospace or shipbuilding, checking for defects or measuring and inspecting large parts.

“This equipment is a significant investment for SMEs, and so we’re sharing resources and making it accessible to Scottish firms of all sizes,” he continues. “We are also looking to integrate metrology with robotics, creating a highly accurate machine tool that has efficient measurement capabilities.”

Tim Gears, business development engineer at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, adds: “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 help SMEs grow, develop new products and overcome production issues.

“This partnership enables us to take a step back from day-to-day activities, to look at our key operational areas and core skills,” continues Gears. “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 would be our next stepping stone, and we’re very privileged to be part of it.”