Missing the point: Gage variability and operational definitions

Barb ClearyThe process of analyzing gage variability is often highly structured, involving an examination of the gages themselves for sensitivity to temperature changes, magnetic fields, and other factors. These are the easy ones. The second area of variability has its source in gage operators themselves, who may have different levels of training, experience, fatigue, and even attitude.

Collecting data offers clues to sources of variability. But when this disciplined analysis fails to uncover real reasons for variability, it may be time for the Sherlock Holmes of variability to look at operational definitions—often the most overlooked consideration when evaluating variation among measurement devices.

Elementary, my dear Watson? Perhaps, but nonetheless these definitions can lead to levels of variation in gage output if they are vague or nonexistent. “In the opinion of many people in industry, there is nothing more important for transaction of business than use of operational definitions. It could also be said that no requirement of industry is so much neglected” (Deming, 276).

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Quick tips and tricks: Printing labels from GAGEpack

Eric GasperWrestling with the ability to trace specific devices back to her gage management system, a customer called to ask about the best way to manage this process.

Gages require identification, of course, in order to be traced. The details of this identification include the gage number or ID, last calibration date, and next due date. Having this information and rendering it easy to access can be vital to maintaining a healthy measurement system. Applying labels that can then be scanned and information recorded offers the most efficient and accurate approach to managing this kind of accountability. GAGEpack can print these labels.

Barcodes, as well as both temporary and permanent labels, may be among preferred label choices, and GAGEpack can print these labels from a variety of label tape printers, including Brothers Pt, Dymo, and Zebra.

Some tips to get the most out of GAGEpack in producing labels:

  1. Determine what type of label you require: These may be temporary or permanent, or may be barcode ID.
  2. Identify printer capability: Printers that will work with GAGEpack include Brothers PT, Dymo, Zebra, and others.
  3. Getting the most out of GAGEpack in producing labels: Selection of ad hoc labels, system labels (after calibration event, inventory label).

In the end, accurate labels on gages can save users and technicians valuable time by rendering critical information to them at a glance.

Keeping track: Dashboard gives quick overview

Eric GasperWith countless numbers of processes and interminable amounts of data to consider, managers can often lose sight of critical information, including management of measurement devices and the records of calibration and maintenance. A Dashboard feature in GAGEpack by PQ Systems puts this essential information at their fingertips, offering a quick overview of the ways in which the process is being managed.

Poring over lists of data related to records of calibration events, gage replacements, and maintenance records is enough to have a soporific effect on the most diligent manager. On the other hand, a quick look at a Dashboard will provide genuine information rather than simply individual data points. For example, examine the following list of calibration equipment:

Calibrations due today: 8
Calibrations due this week: 29
Calibrations due this month: 58
14 Calibrations are overdue at the moment
From now till June 19th there are 132 calibrations, 39 maintenance events, and 9 MSA studies.

This is a great deal of information to wade through to determine your overall workload, and requires further research to determine which calibrations apply to each category:

Contrast the accessibility of this list with the following Dashboard that summarizes the data in an easy-to-access and highly understandable form:

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Leaner, faster, easier: GAGEpack features improve your life

Whoever invented the original concept for the Search & Replace feature in software programs would be delighted to see how far the concept has come. The upcoming version of GAGEpack, scheduled for a second quarter 2014 release, expands on previously available Search & Replace capabilities to make the management of large gage inventories as simple as possible.

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