All Measurements and Instruments

Covering calibration principles and practice, fiber optic sensors and transmission systems, instrumentation networks, dimension measurement, and measurement of other miscellaneous quantities, to reflect the growing importance of this expanding field.


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Measurement has been of great relevance to humankind since the earliest days of human civilization, when it was first used as a means of quantifying the exchange of goods in barter trade systems. Today, measurement systems, and the instruments and transducers used in them, are of immense importance in a wide variety of domestic and industrial activities. The growth in the number and sophistication of instruments used in the industry has been particularly significant over the last two decades as automation schemes have been developed. A similar rapid expansion in their use has also been evident in military and medical applications over the same period.

 

The last decade has seen a large and rapid growth in new industrial technology, encouraged by developments in electronics in general and computers in particular. This decade of rapid growth, often referred to as the 'electronics revolution', represents a step improvement in production techniques of a magnitude similar to that brought about by the Industrial Revolution in the last century. At the forefront of this thrust forward has been the digital computer an essential component in both hard production automation schemes and in the even more advanced flexible manufacturing systems which are just beginning to emerge.


The massive growth in the application of computers to process control and monitoring tasks has spawned a parallel growth in the requirement for instruments to measure, record and control process variables. As modern production techniques dictate working to tighter and tighter limits of accuracy, and as economic forces limiting production costs become more severe, so the requirement for instruments to be both accurate and cheap becomes ever harder to satisfy. This latter problem is at the focal point of the research and development efforts of all instrument manufacturers. In the past few years, the most cost-effective means of improving instrument accuracy has been found in many cases to be the inclusion of digital computing power within the instruments themselves. These intelligent instruments therefore feature prominently in current instrument manufacturers' catalogues.


Such intelligent instruments represent the latest stage in the present era of measurement technology. This era goes back to the start of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century when measuring instruments first began to be developed to satisfy the needs of industrialized production techniques. However, the complete history of measurement techniques goes back much further, in fact by thousands of years to the very start of human civilization.


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