Robert Sanville’s picture

By: Robert Sanville

Manufacturers realize that feature location in part design and production is crucial. To produce interchangeable parts in a manufacturing environment, the design must be sound enough to allow mating parts to work correctly. Furthermore, the industrial process must be robust enough to produce parts called out in design in an efficient and predictable manner. Likewise, measurement of the final parts must be done easily and with confidence to verify the in-process or final products.

For example, inspecting a bore in an open setup often requires multiple measurement steps and mathematical calculations. Portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) technology can alleviate much of this work by allowing the user to fix the part in one spot, take several points to create an alignment of x and y axes, and measure the bore. Software is then able to determine the position of the bore and its deviation from the called out position.

The Ohio State University’s picture

By: The Ohio State University

Drugs produced in offshore manufacturing plants—even those run by U.S. manufacturers—pose a greater quality risk than those prepared in the mainland United States, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that drugs produced at plants located in Puerto Rico that are owned and operated by U.S. pharmaceutical firms were more likely to have quality problems than those produced by the same firm in a matched plant on the U.S. mainland.

The results show how difficult it is to transfer world-class quality control to an offshore plant, even under the best of conditions, says John Gray, lead author of the study and assistant professor of operations at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

“Many people, including some pharmaceutical executives, think offshore plants can produce drugs at significantly less cost but with the same quality risk as plants in the United States,” says Gray. “But we found that may not always be the case.”

“We believe the quality differences we found in Puerto Rico plants were driven by challenges in transferring knowledge from headquarters to the plant, due to cultural differences, primarily differences in language and values.”

Donald J. Wheeler’s picture

By: Donald J. Wheeler

The simplicity of the process behavior chart can be deceptive. This is because the simplicity of the charts is based on a completely different concept of data analysis than that which is used for the analysis of experimental data. When someone does not understand the conceptual basis for process behavior charts, they are likely to view the simplicity of the charts as something that needs to be fixed. Out of these urges to fix the charts all kinds of myths have sprung up, resulting in various levels of complexity and obstacles to the use of one of the most powerful analysis techniques ever invented. The purpose of this article is to help you avoid this complexity.

U.S. Department of Energy’s picture

By: U.S. Department of Energy

What if electricity and heat could be generated simultaneously? Think about energy generation on a small scale, like your household. Imagine if the same source that powered your lights and turned on your television would also heat your water and home. This two-for-one type of energy generation would maximize energy efficiency as well as cut down on the amount of wasted energy and high energy prices. Now imagine if we could apply this technology on a larger scale e.g., industrial sites or commercial buildings. The possibilities in monetary savings and environmental impact are great.

The idea of higher efficiency and lower cost by way of fewer steps is enticing. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has taken this energy-saving idea and run with it. Through the DOE’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) program, the cogeneration of heat and electricity has been taken to the streets with the support of research, market transformations, and a strong foundation of integrated energy systems.

Bruce Hamilton’s picture

By: Bruce Hamilton

In April 1989, the first Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence had just been awarded at Utah State University. Shigeo Shingo was on hand at this auspicious event to receive an honorary doctoral degree from the university and also to bestow his name on the prize. I had the honor of meeting and speaking with Shingo on this occasion, and invited him to visit my company, United Electric (UE), if he ever was in Massachusetts. I really had no expectation that this would ever occur. To my amazement, however, he did happen to “be in the area” shortly after the Utah conference, visiting his publisher, and took this opportunity to pay a short visit.

Steve Moore’s picture

By: Steve Moore

The quote “Baseball been berry, berry good to me” comes from one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits from the late 1970s. Garrett Morris played Chico Escuela, a retired Hispanic baseball player who knew very little English. His pat answer for most questions—“Baseball been berry, berry good to me”—became embedded in the American lexicon. Baseball is indeed “berry, berry good” to anyone who loves statistics. For more than 100 years, virtually everything that has ever happened in professional baseball has been recorded, collated, analyzed, tortured, and twisted into the most bizarre statistical oddities you might imagine. If you wish to know who holds the record for home runs on his birthday while batting left-handed on the road, someone has probably already determined the answer.

NIST’s picture


It’s not often that someone can claim that going from a positive to a negative is a step forward, but that’s the case for a team of scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and private industry.

In a recent paper titled, “Expanding the Capabilities of Microfluidic Gradient Elution Moving Boundary Electrophoresis for Complex Samples,” by Elizabeth A. Strychalski, Alyssa C. Henry, and David Ross, published in the journal, Analytical Chemistry, the group significantly extended the reach of their novel microfluidic system for analyzing the chemical components of complex samples.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

This month we’re challenging readers to create quality poems in the three-line haiku format. The first line should be five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line five syllables for a total of 17:

Standards are key here:
Format is five-seven-five
Or QC rejects.

E-mail your creations to us by Fri., Sept. 30, 2011, and we’ll select a winner to receive a $50 gift card. We’ll also publish this collective outpouring of creativity on our website, to go along with the reader-created quality glossary. (Hey, given enough of these sorts of contests, we might even publish a book.)

Your subject matter is anything quality- or job-related. You may wish to title your poem, but it’s not necessary. Here are some haikus to get you started:

Kaizen in language—
Working together, one goal:
Desired improvement.

Nikon Metrology Inc.’s picture

By: Nikon Metrology Inc.

The EU’s co-funded COMET project, which seeks to improve the efficiency of European industrial manufacturing, is creating a revolutionary solution that enables robots to perform high-end machining. Robots of any brand fitted with the COMET plug-and-produce controller unit successfully respond to manufacturing needs for cost-effective, flexible, and reliable manufacturing solutions.

Nikon Metrology is a main contractor working to develop a tracking system to detect deviations from the programmed robot path. These are used to initiate real-time tool path corrections to maintain the targeted accuracy throughout the entire machining sequence. The proposed COMET solution will be, on average, 30-percent more cost-effective than dedicated machine tools, while delivering absolute positional accuracy at better than 50 microns.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s picture

By: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The expression “beauty’s only skin-deep” has often been applied to the chemistry of materials because so much action takes place at the surface. However, for many of the materials in today’s high technologies, such as semiconductors and superconductors, once a device is fabricated, it is the electronic structures below the surface, in the bulk of the material or in buried layers, that determine its effectiveness.

For the past 30 years, one of the most valuable and widely used techniques for studying electronic structures has been ARPES—Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy. However, this technique primarily looks at surfaces. Now, for the first time, bulk electronic structures have been opened to comparable scrutiny through a new variation of this standard called HARPES—Hard X-ray Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy—whose development was led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

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