Olympus America’s picture

By: Olympus America

F unction often relates to form, and this is particularly true within the world of manufacturing. Rigorous quality assessment procedures ensure that components are manufactured according to their precise specifications before being assembled into the fully functioning whole. These assessments might include tasks such as geometric product specifications, fracture analysis, and surface roughness testing, and they form the core of quality control in many manufacturing processes. As such, identical tasks may be performed across industrial sectors as diverse as medical engineering, electronics, and the automotive industry. This article explores the limitations of existing approaches to quality assessment within industry, and details how opto-digital technology can be used as a more efficient alternative.

Techniques commonly used to accomplish tasks in quality assessment include contact profilometry and traditional light microscopy, and these demand a high level of accuracy in both inspection and metrology. Although these successful approaches are heavily relied on within industrial quality assessment, the novel approach of opto-digital microscopy is becoming an increasingly popular solution, bringing industrial quality control into the digital era.

Jason Chester’s picture

By: Jason Chester

Even in the midst of the pandemic, product safety and quality remain critical. For many manufacturers, complex quality management systems and procedures stand in the way of agile responses and effective operational optimization. Cloud technology provides the means to dramatically simplify quality management.

If you’re like many quality pros and manufacturing leaders right now, you’re working crazy hours, possibly on a different schedule or from a remote location. You’re struggling to find new ways to get the data that operators are collecting on the plant floor and support workers as they adapt to rapidly changing demands. You’re also likely scrambling to coordinate with your plant managers and create custom reports for your executive teams.

It’s a challenging time, and if you’re lucky, you’re keeping on top of the unique demands this time has put on you. But even in the middle of this sprint, product safety and quality remain paramount.

Cheryl Carleton’s picture

By: Cheryl Carleton

The labor market is changing rapidly with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many organizations are laying off almost all of their workers, while others are considering which workers to lay off, which to furlough, and which to keep. Alternatively, some are expanding their labor forces.

When the economy starts to open up again, employers will need to consider rehiring or replacing workers, or hiring workers with a different mix of skills. The cost of replacing an employee is high for employers, and being out of work is harmful for workers, who may be replaced with artificial intelligence or contractors and risk losing their skills.

Multiple Authors
By: Amber Dance, Knowable Magazine

This story was originally published by Knowable Magazine.

As Covid-19 cases fill the hospitals, among the sickest and most likely to die are those whose bodies react in a signature, catastrophic way. Immune cells flood and attack the lungs they should be protecting. Blood vessels leak; the blood itself clots. Blood pressure plummets, and organs start to fail.

Such cases, doctors and scientists increasingly believe, are due to an immune system gone overboard—so that it harms instead of helps.

Normally, when the human body encounters a germ, the immune system attacks the invader and then stands down. But sometimes, that orderly army of cells wielding molecular weapons gets out of control, morphing from obedient soldiers into an unruly, torch- and pitchfork-bearing mob. Though there are tests and treatments that could help to identify and tamp down this insurrection, it’s too early to be sure of the best course of therapy for those who are suffering a storm due to Covid-19.

Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man’s picture

By: Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man

Story update 5/6/2020: The charts and some data have been updated to reflect the data available on the date this article was published.

During the Covid-19 stay-at-home order in Colorado, I've become increasingly frustrated by Covid-19 charts. Most of what I see are cumulative column charts, which don't give any real insight into what's going on. Are we really flattening the curve?

So I decided to use the state's Covid-19 statistics for Colorado and Denver county, and see what I could learn using control charts. Control charts have been around for almost 100 years. They use formulas to calculate control limits that encompass 99.7 percent of the data points. This makes it easy to monitor any process and detect process shifts and "out of control" conditions.


Source: https://covid19.colorado.gov/case-data Click image for larger view.

Julius DeSilva’s picture

By: Julius DeSilva

ISO 9001 certifications have seen a decline during the past two years, per data from ISO. Some say the standard has gotten too complicated with the introduction of organizational context, risk-based thinking, and the removal of mandatory documented procedures. Even a few of QMII’s clients have considered letting their certification lapse because conformity to the new standard was perceived as too complex.

To certify or not

Let’s begin by looking at the purpose of ISO 9001. The standard provides a framework for organizations looking to put in place a system that will enable them to consistently deliver products or services that meet their customers’ requirements and enhance their satisfaction. ISO 9001 certification is external validation that the system meets the requirements of ISO 9001. However, ISO 9001 allows organizations to use the standard and self-declare conformity without incurring the cost of certification. Many argue that there is no value in doing this. This is probably correct if you are implementing a system to meet a contractual or customer requirement. In these cases, certification is a requirement.

Kathleen Wybourn’s picture

By: Kathleen Wybourn

Business continuity is a relatively simple idea. Plan ahead so you can keep your business successful during times of difficulty. Key management transitions, loss of a major customer, the impact of a lawsuit, perhaps a fire or an earthquake. But what if that “difficulty” is a global public health pandemic? An infectious disease that stops the world economic system in its tracks? That triggers something akin to Marshall law, isolates workers in their homes, and forces the shutdown of most businesses, including yours?

How do you keep your business viable if there is no business?

Welcome to Covid-19.

On one handit’s a shocking game changer. A completely unexpected attack on public health and on all forms of economic activity. In this regard, Covid-19 is unlike anything we’ve ever faced. At one point in time all but four states had shut down everything but essential business. Social distancing is the new normal. By mid-April, more than 30 million Americans had filed for unemployment. This respiratory disease that has spread all around the world is a challenge so epic no business continuity plan could have effectively anticipated it.

Multiple Authors
By: Donald J. Wheeler, Al Pfadt

Each day we receive data that seek to quantify the Covid-19 pandemic. These daily values tell us how things have changed from yesterday, and give us the current totals, but they are difficult to understand simply because they are only a small piece of the puzzle. And like pieces of a puzzle, data only begin to make sense when they are placed in context. And the best way to place data in context is with an appropriate graph.

When using epidemiological models to evaluate different scenarios it is common to see graphs that portray the number of new cases, or the demand for services, each day.1 Typically, these graphs look something like the curves in figure 1.


Figure 1: Epidemiological models produce curves of new cases under different scenarios in order to compare peak demands over time. (Click image for larger view.)

Del Williams’s picture

By: Del Williams

We are all familiar with flash memory storage devices, the inexpensive “thumb” drives that you stick into your laptop to store and transfer data. However, there are much more rugged industrial flash drives that perform mission-critical storage functions built into systems that you rely on almost every day. You can find these in healthcare imaging, diagnostic, and therapeutic equipment; in aerospace for jet mission data collection, unmanned aircraft base stations, in-flight wi-fi services, and flight recorders; and in transportation for controlling a locomotive subsystem, recording event data, and launching the operating system for a commercial vehicle tracking system.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

Marketing is all about having a clear vision. To many, that means understanding what you want to see happen, and how you plan to accomplish it.

As important as that is, however, a different and much more imperative vision must come first: the vision of your potential customers and their perception of your brand and offer. How these people locate you, and what they think when they first see your message, is something you must think about long and hard. First impressions are meaningful in real life. They are determinant online.

Questions abound when it comes to customers:
• Who are they?
• Where are they?
• What do they want?
• How do they find me?
• What moves them to act?

To start answering these questions, it helps to build a customer persona that is informed by data about your existing customers as well as some “dreaming” about the customers you want. Be specific. Create the story of your customers and imagine their lives in detail. You need to understand their motivations, their fears, their desires—whatever it is that will connect to what you have that will address their needs.

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