A study of the relationship between engineering design and measurement technology

  • Per Saunders

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Engineering (EngD)


Engineering design and dimensional measurement tend to occur at opposite ends of the product creation process. As a result, the dialogue may sometimes be poor, and can lead to the production of features that are difficult to measure, adding unnecessary cost and risk to the business. In response, the EngD research aims to identify ways in which the relationship between these activities can be strengthened. An emphasis was placed on product lifecycle management (PLM), due to the sponsor’s desire to maximise the value of their existing investments in this area. Since the problem is complex, and seemingly intractable, a mixed methods approach was adopted in which laboratory experiments were interwoven with small-scale interventions within industry. The research began with the development of a theoretical framework, labelled ‘PLM-integrated dimensional measurement’ (PiDM). The framework builds on existing literature, whilst incorporating issues identified by stakeholders. Test cases were structured and executed against the framework in order to identify technology gaps; key amongst which was the need to improve measurement planning for coordinate measuring machines by incorporating uncertainty evaluation techniques. Four interconnected investigations were then carried out in an industrial setting to explore measurement capability in practice. The findings from these investigations informed subsequent development of an uncertainty-based measurement planning system. The system brings together commercially available simulation software and measurement programming software into a PLM environment. It allows features to be categorised according to their ‘measurability’, providing quantitative data for verification planning and engineering design. The EngD concludes with an industrial case study, investigating potential routes to deployment. This case study provided the data needed to commission a further two year programme of research into the topic, formally engaging the sponsor organisation’s strategic metrology and PLM solution providers. This new research programme is structured around the PiDM framework.
Date of Award7 Jan 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council & Rolls-Royce PLC
SupervisorPaul Maropoulos (Supervisor), Andrew Graves (Supervisor), Nick Orchard (Supervisor) & Neil Tatman (Supervisor)


  • CMM
  • PLM
  • Uncertainty

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