Patrick Lanthier’s picture

By: Patrick Lanthier

There are several challenges that can arise when you start the process of measuring micro and meso scale parts. Some important factors to consider before you begin the actual part measuring are: part handling, cleaning, and fixturing. Using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) allows you to accurately measure extremely tiny parts using touch (tactile) and optical techniques. Carefully following certain steps before you begin the measuring process will help ensure you receive the best possible results upon completion.

Part handling

Unless you have inadvertently dropped a micro or meso part on the carpet, you may not truly appreciate the extremely small scale and accuracy needed to correctly measure them. To use a common analogy; dropping one of these parts could be like “looking for a needle in a haystack” since the size of these parts range from uncomfortably small to nearly impossible to physically handle with your own hand.

David C. Crosby’s picture

By: David C. Crosby


ears ago, when I was a field quality rep (source inspector), part of my job was to audit prospective suppliers. The basis of the audits was MIL-Q-9858A, the military quality system. Most audits were simply me sitting across the desk from the head guy or gal asking questions. Do you do this? Do you do that? Of course the answers were always correct.

After the audit, I would tour the facility to get an idea if the person was telling the truth. The tour was actually more effective than the sit-down question and answer period. I became very good at judging the quality of the work we could expect just by looking around. I called it Audit by Looking Around (ABLA). You can actually say ABLA. It has kind of a Latin ring to it. I became very skilled at ABLA and to this day I can spot an outdated calibration sticker at 20 yards. I also discovered that you can learn a lot about a supplier by peeking into the dumpster. One other trick: When visiting a supplier, watch what people are carrying around. It’s probably the problem of the day.

Sidney Vianna’s picture

By: Sidney Vianna

Aviation safety is a very critical issue. For millions of people to fly safely every day around the world, a very large and complex network of business and regulatory agencies have to operate flawlessly, delivering defect-free, on-time parts and hardware to all corners of the globe.

Raissa Carey’s picture

By: Raissa Carey

As auto making evolves and cars increasingly become simply computers on wheels, independent repair shops are facing a new kind of problem: trying to decode and read cars’ on-board computer systems in order to diagnose problems and hopefully repair them.

It’s common knowledge that automakers provide this type of information and the proper repair equipment to their own dealership service centers, yet independent repair shops must sometimes take extra steps to get that same information. This could lead to extra time and cost for consumers who prefer their independent mechanic over a dealer’s service center. 

That’s where the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) comes in.

If passed, the legislation would require automakers to provide the same service information and tool capabilities to independent repair shops as they do for their franchised dealer networks.

All opposed

But this is already the case, according to Angie Wilson, vice president of marketing and communications at Automotive Service Association (ASA), the leading organization for owners and managers of automotive service businesses.  

Alex Lucas’s picture

By: Alex Lucas

Top-100 automotive supplier, Kautex, relies on Metris XC50-LS Cross Scanner on LK CMM to verify the production quality of composite fuel tanks. Kautex engineers set up and execute automatic measurement routines that speed up the serial inspection process for fuel tank by 30 percent. Incorporating three lasers in a cross pattern, the scanners capture the finest details of freeform surfaces and critical geometric features in one go. The insight gained by automatically digitizing fuel tanks and generating graphic Focus reports enables Kautex to tackle problems that were hard to solve in the past.

Cathy Sunshine’s picture

By: Cathy Sunshine

When first hearing the word “clues,” your mind might start envisioning great fictional detectives such as Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple, but in the business world it is essential for every leader to be prepared to recognize and address the dangerous signs that lead to lowered productivity and overall dysfunction. Fortunately, in contrast to many best-selling detective novels, the clues needed to solve this case are almost always comprised of the same list of usual suspects. 

A careful examination requires the business leader to comb over details with the thoroughness of a magnifying glass to see if the first signs of trouble have begun to sneaking up on the company. These symptoms may seem harmless at first, but have the potential to multiply and wreak havoc once your guard is down.

An early warning sign is deferral of decision making. The realization that decisions aren’t being made or, if made, they must be thought and rethought before action can be taken. The lack of forward movement can be invisible at first, but eventually becomes a powerful intruder that can cripple a company. 

James O. Pearson’s picture

By: James O. Pearson

We have all had to plan a trip to the airport. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes not so well. One of the problems we have is dealing with the variation in the trip time to the airport. Since I travel to the airport a lot and like analyzing data, I keep track of my travel time to the airport. And living in Boston has always been an adventure when going to the airport.

Our question today (or our problem statement) is simple: “How much time should I allow for my trip to the airport so I don’t miss my plane?”

Here in figure 1 is a run chart (data over a time period) that shows my trips to the airport over time. The numbers on the left show my total trip time in minutes—from leaving the house until completing the security check in the airport. Note that I have made 58 trips to the airport and that my average time to get there is 93 minutes. 

Figure 1: Trip Times to Airport (minutes on left, number of trips at bottom)

David C. Crosby’s picture

By: David C. Crosby


ero defects (ZD) is probably the simplest, most effective quality management concept ever conceived. Zero defects always works and it can’t fail—only the leader can fail. Once a leader accepts ZD as his or her personal performance standard, error will no longer be tolerated and defects will go away; defects will be prevented. When the leader weakens, ZD can falter. Even then, it doesn’t really fail. Like the old Army ballad “Old Soldiers Never Die,” it just fades away.

Innovating Service With Chip Bell’s picture

By: Innovating Service With Chip Bell

Ray Bell was a math teacher, turned credit manager of a farm equipment company in my rural southern Georgia hometown. He was also my dad. I knew he kept a very detailed ledger book that had information on every customer he gave a loan. He could tell you how often a farmer came into the tractor company, how often he was late on a payment, the ratio of his loan to cultivatable acreage, et. cetera, ad nauseam!

When my dad passed away, lots of farmers told me at his funeral what a wonderful credit manager he was. “Oh, he was strict, mind you,” they would tell me. “If he gave you a loan on a new tractor or planter, he expected you to repay every cent of it. But he really knew us.”

I later found an old copy of one of his ledger books after the equipment company was sold when the owner died. All his figures were meticulously maintained. In the far right margin were notes like, “oldest boy has had the flu,” or “boll weevils worse this year.” There was even a small newspaper article clipped to one of the pages about one customer’s son’s military achievements. I am confident the figures were all accurate. However, the facts depicted in the books were enlightening.

Paul Gay’s default image

By: Paul Gay

Wireless communications have well and truly arrived in the industrial arena and considerable effort is now being put into integration and the writing of standards. In this article, the author considers the many benefits and a few drawbacks of this cost effective technology.

Wireless communication in the industrial environment has become a reality. The technology now offers practical solutions to industrial automation connectivity with the key benefits of cost-saving installation, minimal operating costs, and perhaps most important to the end user, reliability.

Wireless communications are cheaper to install than traditional hard-wired systems because, quite simply, there are no cables. When there’s no cable then there are no conduit, wiring racks, or digging of underground cable runs—all costly items, especially when the installation is within an existing plant or factory.

Wireless networks require proper installation to ensure there is no loss in production.

Syndicate content