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Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute

(SAAMI) Meeting Discusses High Pressure Sensors and Calibration

By Mike Dillon, Calibration Product Manager

Early this quarter, PCB Piezotronics, Inc. again played host to the annual Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI).  SAAMI is an association of the nation's leading manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and components. Members voluntarily participate in this group to promote and ensure product safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality. The organization holds an annual meeting in Buffalo, NY to afford attendees the opportunity to get pressure sensor training directly from PCB.

Mr. Bob Metz, director of PCB’s Aerospace and Defense Division, provided training on pressure sensor design, construction and hands-on installation in ballistic test barrels. More than 40 attendees traveled to Buffalo for the training. SAAMI members used their time to learn the theory of how these sensors operate, how this theory applies to their lab practices and how they can maximize sensor performance and usability.

PCB is uniquely qualified to host this meeting due to its longstanding commitment to the safety initiatives of this industry. On June 3, 1975, the US Patent Office issued PCB patent 3886792 for the conformal pressure sensor that to this day, uniquely measures chamber pressure, replacing the "Crushed Copper" method that preceded. The PCB Series 117 pressure sensors have been modified and improved, and have remained in the ANSI standard Z299. PCB Series 117 has proven a reliable mainstay on the firing ranges where production ammunition is qualified as safe for sale. This author has personally seen the sensors that are still in service in this demanding application, and sometimes they have longer service with the laboratory than the technicians that use them.

The Modal Shop, Inc. has supported this group and the high pressure dynamic pressure calibration community by developing an integrated software and data acquisition package that calibrates these sensors with the technique developed with SAAMI over the past five decades.  Attendees at the 2015 meeting discussed the software’s capabilities while participating in a demonstration of the calibration system.

If you are interested in more information on dynamic calibration of pressure, shock, vibration or acoustic sensors, please contact us at  We also offer a Dynamic Sensors & Calibration Techniques metrology seminar, which may be coming to your area soon. Click here for our current schedule, or to request a visit to your city.