3D Surface Roughness and Wear Measurement, Analysis and Inspection

Bringing 3D optical measurement to Detroit

Remembering the early days, Part 2

Michigan Metrology, LLC is approaching our 30th anniversary, and we’re taking a look back on some of the highlights of our history. In this article we’ll talk a bit about how we came to be measuring precision surfaces in Michigan in the early 1990s.

Michigan, born and raised

Michigan Metrology’s Don Cohen was born and raised in Oak Park, and later Southfield, in the peak days of Detroit. In the 60s and 70s, the greater Detroit area and the surrounding Midwest was THE place for manufacturing—and not just automobiles, but transportation, appliances, consumer goods, etc. It was an exciting time to grow up in the area, and to experience a booming economy.

Tribology: Detroit and the Automotive Industry (Part 2): Bruker

Meanwhile, in Arizona…

In the 1980s, Don left Michigan to attend grad school in Arizona. Those were challenging years for the Detroit region. The rest of the world had caught up in manufacturing, driving the region to embrace new technology and reestablish its manufacturing excellence.

Those years were also important in the development of 3D surface measurement technology, and no place was more active in that development than Tucson, Arizona. “Phase-shifting interferometry” was introduced for mapping precision surfaces, with high resolution. The non-contact technology made an impact in high-tech industries such as semiconductors and precision optics…and other industries wanted to capitalize on the benefits as well.

The challenge was that phase-shifting interferometry could only be used to measure very smooth surfaces. Even the polished surfaces of automotive crankshafts and fuel injectors exceeded its range. A solution was clearly needed for measuring rougher surfaces, steeper slopes, and higher steps. As we discussed in our recent post, 3D white light optical profiling was developed to meet this demand—and it changed how precision parts are measured in a vast range of industries.

High tech comes back to a high-tech city

For Don Cohen, who participated in the development of 3D optical profiling, bringing that technology back to Michigan seemed like a chance to make a real impact in his home region. In 1994 Michigan Metrology was established to provide small and large volume measurement projects, as well as the measurement expertise to apply the measurement technology. Early projects involved shot peened parts and cylinder bores—but it wasn’t long before optical profiling was being used to improve quality on components throughout the car, from engine seals to drive train components, head lamps, windshields, plastics, and even dashboards.

Tribology: Detroit and the Automotive Industry (Part 1): Bruker

Precision surfaces are one of the main reasons that a driving experience today feels as great at Mile 100,000 as it did at Mile 1. And, for the last 30 years, Michigan Metrology has helped ensure that those surfaces meet the demanding requirements of modern consumers. We’ve provided volume measurement projects and metrology expertise for thousands of companies throughout the region, measuring components from medical devices to plumbing fittings, and, of course, all manner of transportation.

Detroit, and the Midwest, is not just our market, it’s our home. We are proud to serve the region, and to have been a part of the transformation to the high-tech center it is today,

Want to know more about Michigan Metrology’s measurement services? Read more here!

Thanks to Bruker for the use of the embedded videos.