No one ever “decided the United States should go metric.” As stated in the amended Metric Conversion Act of 1975, continued use of “traditional systems of weights and measures” is still permitted “in non-business activities.” However, metric system use has become widespread throughout our economy. Look through your everyday items; you will be surprised how many of them have been manufactured in metric units. These items were accepted with little difficulty and include photographic equipment, automobiles, computers, pharmaceutical products, wine and distilled spirits, weapons, and soft drinks. Our scientific and medical communities use metric units almost exclusively. Some estimates suggest that as much as 60% of U.S. industries currently use metric-only or metric-mostly units.
Irrespective of the numbers today, in education we must take the long view in student competitiveness. Which units of measurement will most of the U.S. economy use in 10 years, in 15 years? How should we educate our children in order to give them the most opportunities for success? Well, consider just the amount of prospective future employment in companies exporting (or wishing to export) internationally, in the green/ alternative energy sectors, in medicine (doctors, nurses, pharmacist), and in STEM fields—the foundation of a knowledge-based economy. Then, let us think about the increasing number of companies (aerospace, oil and gas sector) and the U.S. government (NASA, NIH, NSF, DOD) creating international collaborations in order to share assets and expenses. Which system of measurement do you think is required from all participants, including the U.S. members?
Do you think your child will have a competitive advantage by “thinking” in metric, or inch-pound? We say, Metric Rules!
List of U.S. Companies and Industries that are Metric-Only:
Here is an incomplete list of firms and sectors either using metric-only or mixed-use units (based on best information available):
- Most Green technologies / alternative energy companies (very limited mixed units, goal is metric-only)
- Nuclear energy (mixed-units but all new innovations are metric-only)
- Most of oil and gas sector (mixed-units but not out of choice- see below example)
- IBM (metric only)
- Xerox (metric only)
- Armed Forces (metric-only)
- Eastman Kodak Co. (metric-only)
- Buerk Tool & Machine (metric-only)
- Stride Tool (metric-only)
- NASA and its suppliers (mixed units, goal is metric-only)
- International manufacturing companies such as John Deer Tractor, Caterpillar, Proctor and Gamble, Celestial Seasonings, Coke, Black & Decker (metric-only)
- Chemical sector: Cyanamid and DuPont (metric only)
- All USA and foreign automotive makers, their suppliers and repair shops (metric-only)
- Most firms in the aerospace industry and its supply chain (mixed units, goal is metric-only)
- All aspects of medicine (metric-only)
- Physicists, chemists, engineers (metric-only)
To create a complete list of all current metric-only companies in the U.S. would astonish the average person. Other than the construction industry, we have not found an industry working exclusively using the inch-pound system.
For more detailed information, visit: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/pays-off.html