Calculus Isn't Accurate Enough

In an attempt to save material cost, a coworker was tasked with determining the actual surface area used of a material on one of our products.  Watching him measure a curved surface with a ruler was almost painful so I proposed he cut the film of interest away from the product, mass it, and compare it to the mass of a reference sample.  I was told this was “too inexact” compared to trying to measure a curved, inflated, stretchy surface with a ruler.

He then moved to using CAD to view the device in 3D and started using the ruler functions to again measure the surface and tried cutting the space into smaller geometric figures as the surface of consideration wasn’t quite spherical.  I proposed he use the equation for the surface curve and that he calculate the volume as an a surface of revolution.  Once again, I was rebuffed for it not being exact enough.

Calculus, not exact enough.  The only method for perfectly determining the area under a curve after literally millenia of estimates using stupid rectangular prisms and trapezoids is not exact enough.  A mathematic accurate enough to shoot the Voyager 2 probe within 70 km of Neptune at a distance of nearly 4.5 billion km.  Your right, calculus, not exact enough.  You got me.