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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Digitalization

Transfer of the VCMM concept to other areas and for use in Metrological Digital Twins

The VCMM (Opens internal link in current windowVirtual Coordinate Measuring Machine) developed at PTB has been used very successfully for many years in the field of coordinate measuring technology for process-accompanying measurement uncertainty determination and measurement process optimization in science and industry. The established PTB tool, which was awarded the Braunschweig IHK Technology Transfer Prize in 2005, meets the requirements of international guidelines and standards. Due to the complex structure and the time-consuming programming of necessary software modules, a transfer to other metrological areas has hardly taken place so far and is now to be promoted within the framework of VirtMet.

Current state

The VCMM was developed at PTB about 20 years ago and has since been extended by additional measuring tasks and systems in coordinate metrology. Larger manufacturers such as Zeiss and Hexagon have implemented the VCMM in their coordinate measuring machines and, for example, presented it as a key topic at the Control 2018 trade fair. Five accreditations also prove the interest of the industry. The use of the VCMM concept in so-called digital twins, for example, was successfully tested at PTB's digital weighing unit as an integral part of the Planck balance currently under construction and will be integrated into the planned digital processes in the competence centre "Wind" (CCW), in particular in the area of the torque standard measuring equipment (DM-NME).

Aims and outlook

The extension of the VCMM concept to other areas of PTB serves the strategic goal of actively supporting industry and economy in the digital transformation through the development of "virtual measurement systems" and "digital twins". The following concrete steps are to be taken to this end:

  1. Cross-departmental structure of a VMP modular system:

    • Revision/extension of the VCMM module concept and the interface definitions as a basis for use in the VMP modular system
    • Documentation and provision of the VMP construction kit in a central repository at PTB for the fast representation of virtual measurement processes for industry (for quality assurance reasons initially as PTB service)
    • Provision of a selection of API wrappers
    • Connection to the TraCIM service (especially for implementation in external software)
    • Creation of a formalized validation concept with catalogue of requirements

  2. Validation and optimization of the VMP modular system through sample applications

    • VMP for Planck Scale (Dissertation Dept. 1, ongoing) and DM-NME
    • VMP for gearing (validation and transfer) and optical distance sensors

  3. Preparation of basic documents for the transfer to the calibration service