What Is A Micron?


the term micron is everywhere in modern

metrology manufacturers face tolerance

demands in the microns MSPs and OEMs

promise accuracies within a few microns

and it's even become the namesake of

some computer and medical device

companies micron is a very popular

buzzword but how long have we been using

the micron is a guideline what is a

micron and just how small is it micron

is actually short for micrometer which

is the official unit of measurement

micron was accepted as shorthand for

micrometer in 1879 along with its symbol

the name and symbol however were revoked

by the International System of Units in

1967 while the symbol has been abandoned

in favor of the micrometer symbol micron

itself has remained in use colloquially

and officially in various industries

since in America this is primarily to

avoid confusion between micrometer and

micrometer the measuring instrument in

written language put simply a micron is

one millionth of a meter or point zero

zero zero zero zero one meters it can

also be expressed as a thousandth of a

millimetre or thirty-nine million of an

inch there are plenty of size

comparisons that can be found online

like this chart that shows how a micron

is smaller than even bacteria which are

typically about 5 microns as you can see

microns are well below the limit of

visibility which means that some of the

tolerances being measured in today's

manufacturing are too small to be seen

by the human eye

like the chart showed even this hair is

50 to 100 times the size of a micron

meaning for measurements that call for

25 micron accuracy we are literally

splitting hairs but these comparisons

can be found with a simple Google search

is there another way we can look at the

scale of a micron

we came to USA hockey arena home of the

u.s. men's and women's Olympic ice

hockey teams to show a different scale

comparison for the micron from an

unexpected source a regulation hockey

puck is three inches or 75 millimeters

wide this is more than 75 thousand times

larger than a micron which helps

illustrate the crunch that manufacturers

are under their goal is to be accurate

to within a handful of points more than

75 thousand times smaller than thank you

this puck but what if we reversed that

scale what if we increased the size of a

micron seventy six thousand nine hundred

and twenty three times until it was the

size of this hockey puck what would some

of our size comparisons look like then

that bacteria that was five microns

earlier at fifteen inches it's now the

size of a large pizza and that human

hair I was holding earlier at twenty

five feet wide it is now almost the

width of this faceoff circle to go one

inch at this scale you would have to

travel 1.2 miles down the road and one

meter that will now span 47 miles but

what if we took something much larger

like this 30 foot faceoff circle at 433

miles it's now a faceoff circle that can

cover most of the Midwestern United

States and this hockey rink that's a

hundred and ninety seven feet long and a

hockey puck sized micron scale it is two

thousand eight hundred and seventy miles

wide which is more than 700 miles wider

than the diameter of the moon and the

blades that would skate on that ring are

the product of high precision

manufacturing we're here with Jeff as

illan of blade tech just outside Toronto

Ontario where their manufacturing skate

blades yeah we manufacture our skate

plates to 115 thousandths of an inch we

have a tolerance a plus or minus 1 tau


this tolerance might seem different from

other industries like maybe aerospace

automotive where they're looking at

things in the microns this tolerance of

ours of 115 Pao is important and works

well for the skating world and the

topsides of these blades are

manufactured two equally challenging

standards as they're designed to be

changed rapidly in game that's correct

so when the blade is going to go up and

into the holder if we're out of

Tolerance on the high side

where the plate is too thick or too

large it's gonna be a problem getting it

up and in and take a longer time to get

it out and it could Jam on the other

side if the blade is too thin or under

tolerance on the low side it'll go into

the holder easily but there might be too

much room in there and some lateral side

slop and the blade could ride all around

and that's not good either because then

our players are losing performance

efficiency and power and they're not

getting that reliability that they need

so sticking to this tolerance making

sure that we manufacture torque add

models and be consistent is what we need

to do to provide our players the best

performance excellent thank you thank

you as Jeff mentioned other industries

require much tighter tolerances however

from parts as large as airplane wings or

as small as medical implant devices the

dimensions and features of these parts

must all be manufactured accurately

within a few microns and just as

importantly the inspection processes on

these parts must be accurate to those

same demands to ensure that the models

and machines producing the parts are

accurate and repeatable across multiple

runs of the same part laser trackers

laser line scanners and coordinate

measuring machines or CMMS are just some

of the methods for high precision

inspection in modern manufacturing and

you can find videos discussing these

methods on this channel to learn more

about microns and how high precision

measurement solutions are needed in

virtually every manufacturing

environment please visit api metrology

com2 speak to a real metrologist today

thanks for watching this video we'd like

to give a big thanks to coach Rob

Lindsey in the Schoolcraft ice hockey

team for helping us out on the ice today

Jeff acelin of blade tech for taking us

behind the scenes of their manufacturing

process and USA hockey arena

if you liked this video feel free to

check out our six degrees of freedom

explained video on the channel and if

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