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Metrological challenges introduced by new

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Article in Measurement Science and Technology · April 2014

DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/25/6/064001


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Edward P. Morse Yue Peng

University of North Carolina at Charlotte University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Vijay Srinivasan
National Institute of Standards and Technology


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Metrological challenges introduced by new tolerancing standards

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2014 Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 064001


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Measurement Science and Technology
Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 (2014) 064001 (6pp) doi:10.1088/0957-0233/25/6/064001

Metrological challenges introduced by new

tolerancing standards
Edward Morse 1 , Yue Peng 1 , Vijay Srinivasan 2 and Craig Shakarji 2
Center for Precision Metrology, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte,
NC 28223, USA
National Institute for Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA

Received 2 October 2013, revised 2 January 2014

Accepted for publication 21 January 2014
Published 30 April 2014

The recent release of ISO 14405-1 has provided designers with a richer set of specification
tools for the size of part features, so that various functional requirements can be captured with
greater fidelity. However, these tools also bring new challenges and pitfalls to an inspector
using a coordinate metrology system. A sampling strategy that might have worked well in the
past could lead to erroneous results that go undetected when used to evaluate these new
specifications. In this paper we investigate how measurement strategies for sampled coordinate
metrology systems influence different algorithms for the evaluation of these new
specifications. Of particular interest are those specifications where the order statistics of
feature cross-sections are required. Here the inspector must decide not only how many points
are required for an individual cross-section, but the number and spacing of cross-sections
measured on the feature. The results of these decisions are compared with an analytic estimate
of the ‘true value’ of the measurand specified using this new standard.

Keywords: tolerances, algorithms, coordinate measurement

(Some figures may appear in colour only in the online journal)

1. Evolution of standards In table 1 the various specifications permitted by ISO

14405-1 are shown with their classification and description.
The specification of workpiece geometry [1] has evolved There is a tremendous amount of flexibility offered to the
from the drawing indication of distances with ± tolerance designer with this new syntax, and in this paper we will review
indications to sophisticated specification of zone-based the possible difficulties in evaluating these specifications using
requirements that apply directly to the theoretical ideal sampled coordinate metrology.
geometry of the component. In this paper, we will focus on
the new specification of size tolerances, as defined in ISO
3. Selection of specification/evaluation
14405-1 [2]. The notation introduced in ISO 14405-1 allows
for this paper
the designer to specify the manner in which feature geometry
is defined with greater detail than previously permitted. In this paper we will compare the sensitivity of different
specifications to the sampling strategy used in evaluation.
2. Summary of 14405-1 specification methods A global size specification (least squares) will be used as a
reference, as it is both commonly used and well understood.
ISO 14405-1 describes 14 symbols for the specification of To complement the analysis of global least-squares size,
linear size, which includes both diametrical and parallel planes the other size specification examined in this paper will be two-
(opposing surfaces) sizes. These specification modifiers may point size, as this is the default local size specification in the
be classified as local, global, calculated, or statistical (rank- absence of other requirements [3]. Because the two-point size
order) in nature. is local, there will typically be many two-point sizes evaluated

0957-0233/14/064001+06$33.00 1 © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK

Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 (2014) 064001 E Morse et al

Table 1. Size specifications.

Symbol Type of specification Name

LP Local Two-point size

LS Local Spherical size
GG Global Least-squares size
GX Global Maximum inscribed size
GN Global Minimum circumscribed size
CC Calculated Circumference diameter Figure 1. Potential evaluations of two-point size.

CA Calculated Area diameter

CV Calculated Volume diameter
SX Statistical Maximum size
SN Statistical Minimum size
SA Statistical Average size
SM Statistical Median size
SD Statistical Mid-range size
SR Statistical Range of sizes
Figure 2. Inferring two-point size from sampled data.

when measuring a part. Specifications based on the rank-

that would be made with calipers on a physical part. Figure 1
ordering of two-point sizes will be examined, and comparisons
shows two cases where two-point size is being evaluated. In the
drawn to the least-squares results. The differences between the
case on the left, the measurement line passes through the center
median and mid-range statistics of these collections of size
of the cross-section, in accordance to the standard. However,
values will be evaluated.
if the part were to be measured with calipers, the measurement
line would likely be the one shown on the right, which is very
3.1. Global (GG) size repeatable but does not correspond to the standard definition.
For each of the features measured, a global least-squares In sampled coordinate metrology, there is great flexibility in
cylinder was associated with the points. As each set of sampled manipulating the data collected and algorithms have been
points was partitioned and re-evaluated, increasing variability developed to capture the intent of different standards. However,
was observed in the diameter of the fitted cylinder. This is in physical (e.g. caliper) measurement, there are fewer options
entirely consistent with expectations: with fewer points used available to the operator in how to measure, and we must be
in the estimation, less averaging takes place. In the results aware of the biases that may be introduced by a mismatch in
reported here, there are some interesting anomalies in the size the method and the definition of the measurand.
during the sub-sampling, but the small variation in the size The algorithm selected for the estimation of two-
supports the stability of the least-squares fit. point size corresponds, in its intent, to the measurement
through the center of the cross-section. Because that data
are sampled, there is no guarantee that a specific point will
3.2. Local (LP) size
have diametrically opposed ‘mate’ with which to calculate the
The local two-point size is defined at an infinite number of two-point size. If a method of selecting point pairs was used
locations on a real (extracted) feature, and each must be within that found the most distant point pairs in a cross-section, it
the specified size limits. When there are only a finite number is likely that the size would be underestimated and the size
of points representing the actual part surface, a well-defined measurement line would not pass through the cross-section
method must be used to infer two-point size. The definition center. This method is shown in the left half of figure 2.
of two-point size requires that the size be evaluated a cross- The method that is developed in this paper for the
sections perpendicular to the global least-squares associated estimation of two-point size is to find a size value originating
feature, and that the line on which the size is evaluated at every point in the cross-section and is shown in the right
include the axis of this least-squares feature [4]. This notion half of figure 2. This is accomplished by adding the radial
of opposing points seems to be a reasonable constraint that distance between the cross-section center and the initial point
mimics measurement practice. However, cases exist where this (solid arrow) to the distance from the cross-section center to
two-point size definition does not represent the measurement an ‘interpolated radius’ between points opposite the initial

Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 (2014) 064001 E Morse et al

point (dashed arrow). This interpolated radius is calculated

by finding the radius (ri and rj) and angle (θ i and θ j) for the
adjacent points, and then interpolating between the two points
at the angle (θ 0 + 180◦ ) from the initial point.
The method described above for estimating two-point size
produces a size value for each point measured. This is by
design, as each point is not guaranteed to have a matching
point on the opposite side of the feature. If there are an even
number of equally spaced points on each cross-section, this
may double the number of values needed because the point
to point distance between opposing point pairs is evaluated
twice. However, this will not affect any of the statistical (rank
order) methods proposed to evaluate size. If each value appears
twice, the rank order values specified using ISO 14405-1 will
be unchanged.

3.3. Statistical—(SM) and (SD)—specifications

The statistical specifications examined were based on the order

statistics of the two-point sizes measured on the different levels
of the part. The two specifications used were the median and
the mid-range of the set of all two-point sizes. The median
is a robust measure of central tendency, and is insensitive to
variability in the tails of the distribution of two-point sizes,
while the mid-range is based on the most extreme points in Figure 3. Part A being measured for size—the lower of two
the distribution, and expected to show more variability. For cylindrical features is being sampled.
each set of point values, an associated least-squares cylinder
was calculated, and a two-point size for each of the points—
perpendicular to, and intersecting this axis—was calculated.
From this set of size values, the median and mid-range values
were calculated and reported. The results are summarized in
the sections that follow.

4. Sampling strategies, and their influence on

measurands in section 3

Three cylindrical features of size have been measured, with

fairly dense (for traditional CMMs) point sets. Two different
diameters on an aluminum test part, which we refer to as
‘Part A’ and is shown in figure 3, were measured with 10
levels of approximately 500 points each. The upper cylindrical
section has an approximate diameter of 101.60 mm and the
lower section has an approximate diameter of 104.05 mm. The
measured form of these cylindrical features is 13.6 μm for the Figure 4. Part B—also measured for size.
upper feature and 24.1 μm for the lower feature. In addition,
a three-lobed steel part with a nominally constant width of
28.50 mm was measured with 20 levels of approximately 180 is not addressed in detail here. Although the part is shown
points; the intent of using this geometry is to understand how mounted on a rotary table in figure 3, the table was held fixed
two-point size specifications are evaluated in the presence of during the measurements described in this paper. The density
lobing in the part shape. This part will be called ‘Part B’ and of points sampled on the part surfaces is between 1 and 2 points
is shown in figure 4. mm–1 along each diametrical scan, with the scans separated by
Each of these parts was measured using continuous 1 mm in the axial direction.
contact scanning on a Zeiss Prismo CMM with the VAST For each of the features measured, the fitting (association)
Gold measuring head. The stylus tip is 3 mm in diameter on operation consistent with the different specifications was
a 30 mm extension, which allowed the entire feature to be performed on the complete set of measured points, and also
accessed with a single orientation of the probe. This stylus on subsets of the points. The intent of this method of analysis
diameter will mask much of the surface roughness on the is to show how less dense point sets may influence the result
parts, and the interaction of surface texture with the point data of measurement, while reducing the setup and measurement

Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 (2014) 064001 E Morse et al

Simulated Cylinder Upper cylinder




LS Diameter
LS Diameter


101.6190 101.6070


0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
sub−sampling sub−sampling

Bottom cylinder
Figure 5. Simulation of cylindrical least-squares size. 104.0454

variability present in performing multiple measurements over 104.0450

LS Diameter
time. These subsets are obtained by using every second point,
every third point, and so on. When the data are sub-sampled
by taking every second point, there are two resulting sets of 104.0446
points (i.e., the even points and the odd points). Each set is
evaluated separately, as if two independent measurements had
been taken. When every nth point is taken in sub-sampling, n
independent sets of points are evaluated. The results from this 0 5 10 15 20 25
30 35 40 45 50

sub-sampling is reported in later sections.

Figure 6. Part A—measured for least-squares size.

5. Analysis

Two analyses were performed using the algorithms developed analysis is not intended to be comprehensive but simply a basis
and the data collected from the parts. The first analysis was the for comparison. A more complete analysis of the interaction
calculation of global least-squares size for the entire point set, of sampling and least-squares assessment can be found in the
followed by this calculation for the sub-sampled point sets. work of Ren et al [5] and others.
These are presented graphically by plotting the diameter as a The evaluation of actual measured data is similar in
function the rate of sub-sampling—a sub-sampling value of 5 character to the simulations, but it is seen that the sampling
indicates that the points were divided into five sets; there are may interact with geometric structure on the part surface, if
five diameters plotted, one for each set of points. The second such structure exists.
analysis involved calculating the two-point size corresponding The two cylindrical surfaces on Part A were measured
to each point in the set, and reporting the median of these size and evaluated, as shown in figure 6. The lower cylinder shows
values, as well as the midpoint of the range of size values. an increase in the variation of the calculated diameter similar
Again, these diameters are shown graphically as a function of to the simulation above. The upper cylinder, however, shows
sub-sampling. more structure in the variability, especially as is seen where
every 33rd point is used. A possible reason for this increased
5.1. Sensitivity of least-squares global size to sampling variability is an interaction with the form of the part. Because
there is not a strong periodic component to the form error,
The response to using fewer measurement points for the least- it is believed that this effect is due to an interaction of
squares fitting is that the diameter shows more variability with the sampling density with the cutter marks on the surface,
fewer points (as we would expect). As a baseline simulation but a more detailed investigation is required to confirm this
case, sample points on a perfect cylinder were disturbed by supposition.
random noise (standard deviation of 1.2 μm in x, y, and z) The variability in the calculated diameters shown in
and then subsets of these points were evaluated. This value figures 3 and 4 are not referenced to a calibrated value. In this
of noise corresponds to an estimate of the local part form paper we are not attempting to quantify the uncertainty of the
variation due to the turning process. The overall form of the diameters calculated from a coordinate metrology standpoint;
part does not influence the least-squares diameter variation, we are examining the variability present in different samples
but may introduce a bias in the diameter value. As this is a of the same feature.
simulation, this bias is not considered; it is the variability of The sensitivity to form variation is more apparent in the
the diameter that is considered here. As is shown in figure 5, the case of Part B, which has a very distinctive three-lobe pattern.
range of values obtained for the calculated diameter increases In this measurement, 182 points were taken on 20 different
in a consistent trend as fewer points are used in the fitting. This levels, and the variability in diameter is apparent when every

Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 (2014) 064001 E Morse et al

Part B Upper cylinder




LS Diameter


Two point Diameter





28.35 101.606
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Figure 7. Part B—measured for least-squares size. sub−sampling

Lower cylinder

30th point (leaving 6 points per level) is evaluated, and when

every 45th point is evaluated (leaving 4 points per level).
Figure 7 shows the increase in variability near a sub-sampling
value of 30, and a bias in the measurement introduced near a
Two point Diameter

sub-sampling of 45. 104.048

5.2. Sensitivity of two-point local size to sampling 104.046

The analysis method used for least-squares fitting was repeated 104.044
for two-point size. Because the two-point size is a local
measurement result, statistical results based on the population 104.042

of two-point evaluations are reported. In figures 8 and 9, the

square marks correspond to the median of each set of two-point 104.04
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
sizes, while the diamond marks correspond to the mid-range sub−sampling

of the two-point sizes.

Figure 8. Part A—evaluations for two-point size.
The variability of the mid-range values is much greater
than the median in each case, as would be expected. It is Part B
interesting to note that the bias for both the upper and lower 29.8

cylinder is positive when considering the mid-range with 29.6

respect to the median.
While the results of measuring the two cylindrical features 29.4

on the first part might lead one to speculate that there is a

Two point Diameter

predictable bias between the median and mid-range statistics
for manufactured features, the results of measurement of the 29

second part are very different. 28.8

6. Conclusions

The availability of the new size specifications defined in ISO

14405-1 provide a clear opportunity for a designer to introduce
additional requirements to clarify a part’s function. What 28
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
remains to be seen is how sampled coordinate metrology can sub−sampling
be used to evaluate parts specified in this way. The initial
Figure 9. Part B—evaluations for two-point size.
experimental work shown here reveals some of the sensitivity
that might be expected in sampling real parts, but also brings
up some issues that are less easily explained. By examining The least-squares (GG) results are much as expected,
the results obtained by using sparse sets of coordinate data, a with the variability reflecting the influence of the CMM
first glimpse at the magnitude of uncertainty in the measured repeatability and the part geometry imperfections. These
result is revealed. variations are averaged over the number of points taken, with

Meas. Sci. Technol. 25 (2014) 064001 E Morse et al

larger data sets showing less variation from one measurement Acknowledgments
to the next. The rank order statistical measures, (SM) and (SR),
allow the quantification of the population of local two-point This work was supported in part by the National Institute
sizes on the parts. The median size measures tend to show less of Standards and Technology (NIST) through grant no.
variation than the mid-range sizes, as the mid-range measures 60NANB11D166. Any mention of commercial products
rely on the outliers of the populations. A notable exception to within this paper is for information only; it does not imply
this difference is in the case (our Part B examples) where there recommendation or endorsement by NIST.
is a significant systematic effect in the geometry. In this case,
the difference between the median and mid-range sizes can be
greater than the variation of each, due to the geometry of the References
These differences suggest that sparser sampling [1] Morse E P and Srinivasan V 2013 Size tolerancing revisited: a
basic notion and its evolution in standards Proc. Inst. Mech.
techniques, common in industry to speed inspection, may Eng. B 227 662–71
introduce uncertainty that is far greater for statistical [2] ISO 14405-1:2010 Geometrical product specifications
association criteria than traditional least-squares association. (GPS)—Dimensional tolerancing—Part 1: Linear sizes
An initial recommendation regarding statistical association (Geneva: ISO)
criteria is that the nature of the population of local sizes should [3] ISO 8015:2011 Geometrical product specifications
(GPS)—Fundamentals—Concepts, principles and rules
be examined with care before an attempt is made to extrapolate (Geneva: ISO)
to the true statistical measure from the estimate made by [4] ISO 14660-2:1999 Geometrical product specifications
sampling. Additional research is needed to form predictive (GPS)—Geometrical features—Part 2: Extracted median line
models of the sensitivity of different size measurands to both of a cylinder and a cone, extracted median surface, local size
measurement uncertainty and sampling strategy. It is only of an extracted feature (Geneva: ISO)
[5] Ren M J et al 2012 A task specific uncertainty analysis method
when these relationships are better characterized that traceable for least-squares-based form characterization of
statement of conformance to these new specifications can be ultra-precision freeform surfaces Meas. Sci. Technol.
made. 23 054005

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