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How Small is Small?

Photonics Spectra
Mar 1998
Stephanie A. Weiss, Executive Editor

Making a baseball is less an engineering feat than an art, in which neat hand-stitched seams act as paint against the cowhide that measures 9 to 9_ in. in circumfrence, according to the official rules of Major League Baseball.
For manufacturers who routinely face tolerances measured in thousandths of an inch or less, the baseball authority's wide 0.25-in. tolerance is a clear definition of the phrase, "in the ballpark."
There was a time when, like the baseball, a customer's dimensional specifications would cover a fairly large ballpark. In most manufacturing industries today, however, the ballpark is shrinking, and automated photonic techniques are the only means of ensuring that your parts still fit inside.

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