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Precision Engineering TodayMost of today's precision engineering work reflects the change in philosophy that first appeared a decade or so ago. Historically, absolute accuracy used to be the objective of precision engineers but as cost has become a greater factor in the world of business, and therefore precision engineering projects, the goal has now changed to one of constantly improving the precision-to-cost ratio.
There are a few breakthrough technologies that now aid the work of precision engineers, such as laser interferometers and computers, which have both revolutionized how machines are designed.
Despite the changes in the industry, precision engineering is still hugely important in today’s fast-paced world and contributes to the world’s economy. For instance modest improvements in the accuracy of fabricating the skins and spars for a Boeing 747 jet would reduce the weight of the aircraft by 10,000 pounds. If those minimal changes were made to all 747s in use today, the net result would be a fuel cost savings of about $600 million every year for U.S. airlines alone. In addition, precision manufacturing is also expected to reduce hydrocarbon emissions from combustion engines.
Singapore has one of the fast-growing precision engineering sectors that currently supports electronics, transport, medical technology and other manufacturing industries, and is planned to meet the escalating demand for electronic equipment in Asia.
Designing for higher precision is important for many different reasons. In today’s computer-driven world, we depend on the successful design and manufacture of integrated circuits and without the current precision design technology, we would not be able to place on a computer the millions of transistors that we now can.
The technology for producing high precision measuring instruments is also essential because without accurate measurements the pursuit of precision design and manufacturing is lost. This basic discipline is what is behind the advancements being made today.