Revista Granito de Arena

Metrology: The importance of measuring well

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Metrology within industrial processes is vital to ensure that the product or service provided to customers is reliable. This science makes markets more reliable and comparable systems with standards. Industries in Guatemala apply metrology standards as requirements for quality control standards, but it is vital that those responsible for operations understand their importance beyond quality control.

Since we are born we are surrounded by measures, it is vital to know our weight, how tall we are, our heart rate, and all this leads us to know if we have good health. The same happens in industrial systems, it is essential to measure correctly to know if the product or service delivered is what was promised to the client.

There are records that different ancient civilizations used the measures to live in a logical and orderly way. Egyptians, Mayans, Romans and other cultures used the measures to evolve and order their respective processes. In Egypt, the royal or Egyptian cubit was found, which is a standard of measurement for the construction of pyramids that allowed for an efficient and uniform construction process.

Despite the evolution of this science and the creation of measurement patterns and standards, it must be taken into account that a measurement system is fundamental. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of «The Little Prince», recounts an anecdote of his accidental passage through Guatemala when measuring wrong.

On February 14, 1938 Saint-Exupéry and his mechanic Prévost left the New York airport with the intention of reaching Punta Arenas, in southern Chile, in record time. The trip was spectacular, although as Michel Manoll, author of a biography of Saint-Exupéry, says, the trip did not offer any technical interest.

Picture: SOY502

The only reason was to get a few dollars to survive. They arrived safely at the Guatemala airport where all they had to do was refuel. They asked for the same in gallons because they knew that it was the unit used in that country. It had started flight in the United States where the gallon is equivalent to 3.78 liters and it did not occur to them to think that in Guatemala it would be otherwise, but it was, there they used the imperial gallon, from the English system of measurements, which is 4 .54 litres.

The Guatemalans put in the number of gallons they were asked for which resulted in 20% more weight. If they were trying to break a record, all the calculations were made to load the maximum possible fuel. 20% more was not possible.

Upon taking off, Saint-Exupéry realized that the plane was not going well; the weight did not allow it to take off and the plane crashed at the end of the runway.

This story teaches us about the importance of measuring well, of knowing that metrology is essential for our daily lives.

Measuring correctly leads us to expand our work to foreign markets. We, therefore,  invite you to live and share the importance of this science day by day.


Collaboration: Oscar Augusto Robles

Head of Instrument Workshop
Cementos Progreso

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