AUKOM Is Coming to the United States
The AUKOM coordinate metrology training standard originated in Germany, but it could become the de facto, global training method for future production metrologists.
AUKOM is an acronym for the German phrase ausbildung koordinatenmesstechnik, which translates to “coordinate metrology training.” U.S. machine shops serving the automotive industry might be familiar with this standard and perhaps have metrologists on staff who are certified in it. Those outside of automotive might not have heard of it but should be aware of the benefits it can offer their manufacturing operations.
AUKOM was developed in Germany to establish a global training standard for production coordinate measurement practices. Its methodology is vendor-neutral, meaning the skills gained and procedures learned during certified training can be applied using any brand of measuring equipment and software.
The government-financed research project to create AUKOM spanned 1998 to 2001 and brought together metrology experts from academia, industry (primarily automotive) and coordinate measuring machine (CMM) manufacturers. The goal was to create a metrology training curriculum that would ensure measurement uniformity and consistency of results no matter who carries out the measuring routine or where a manufacturing operation is located. This eliminates any potential finger-pointing between supplier and customer, as well as between different departments, work shifts or locations within a manufacturing company.
AUMOM training is currently offered in 19 countries. The program consists of three levels with a certificate provided for each upon passing a course exam. Level 1 covers fundamental concepts, such as dimensional tolerancing, basic programming and common measuring equipment. Level 2 builds upon these concepts by providing problem/solution instruction related to form and positional tolerances, advanced CMM programming, measurement strategy and documentation. Successful completion of this level in addition to AUKOM’s geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) course is required for Level 3 advanced CMM training, which covers production-based measuring, measuring uncertainty, quality management and measurement department management.
Zeiss, Wenzel and Made to Measure offer AUKOM classes in the United States. In fact, all Zeiss applications engineers are required to take the courses because it offers such a sound metrology foundation, says Aliesha Anderson, the company’s applications internal training and development manager.
“The AUKOM training approach sets clear guidelines for measurement tasks and best practices,” Ms. Anderson says. “It ensures that metrologists not only have the skills to effectively measure parts, but also enables them to measure parts faster, have a better understanding of the costs related to measurement inefficiencies, and more effectively communicate with different departments within their companies because of the common metrology language AUKOM establishes.” She also notes that Zeiss is seeing increased interest in AUKOM from industries such as aerospace and oil and gas.
Measuring workpiece dimensions is relatively simple for machine operators but measuring workpiece geometry which involves more complex comparisons of part shape to an ideal shape--is now also practical on the shop floor. The gaging equipment for doing this is coming down in price while becoming easier to use.
The irregularity of a machined surface is the result of the machining process, including the choice of tool; feed and speed of the tool; machine geometry; and environmental conditions. This irregularity consists of high and low spots machined into a surface by the tool bit or a grinding wheel.
Simple "roughness" measurements remain useful in the increasingly stringent world of surface finish specifications. Here's a look at why surface measurement is important and how to use sophisticated portable gages to perform inspections on the shop floor.