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.
A company with pride in the quality of its products needs to be very sure that its suppliers boast of the same levels of quality in what they provide. For Imagineering Machine, that means selecting GAGEpack from PQ Systems to assure accuracy in gage calibration records.
This family-owned business, with headquarters in St. Louis Park, MN, has been known for its excellence in close tolerance production and prototype machining for nearly 30 years. Now ISO9001 certified, the company has always taken pride in its approach to quality. Its customers remark about the company that “they do not disappoint,” in their consistently high quality standards. A customer working with Imagineering Machine on a part used in the wind power industry nominated the company for “Innovation of the Americas,” and Imagineering Machine was recognized with this award in 2010.
Pursuing this innovation, Imagineering Machine recently added a new Haas ST20SSY Live Tool Lathe, according to the company website. The new machine brings the latest in turning technology to the company, while allowing more time for the CNC Milling department. The company is known for pushing the limits of machines to increase productivity, while tightening tolerances and providing high quality machined parts.
Imagineering Machine’s commitment to quality extends to all manufacturing operations, which are designed to meet customers’ most demanding specifications. Processes from receiving to machining to final inspection are documented, and machining operations maintain tight tolerances. Craig Livingston, who heads the Quality Control Department, oversees maintenance of inspection records and material certifications, with several hundred various types of gages and tools to calibrate, manage, and oversee. Statistical process control is used to assure quality in tools and inspection equipment.
When a precision industry has been around for more than 60 years and continues to thrive, you know it has been doing something right. This can clearly be said of DANCO Precision, Inc., a privately held company in Phoenixville, PA with nearly limitless capabilities in custom stamping for laminations and assemblies. The company uses PQ Systems software products to assure accuracy in gage calibration and quality in its products.
Responding to customer needs for sophisticated laminations and assemblies, DANCO utilizes some 350+ gages to assure accuracy in its calibration systems, depending on GAGEpack to assure that accuracy. “We use it hard,” says Bob Barandon, Director of Quality Assurance and Reliability for the company, noting that the software is “practical and easy to use. We love it.”
This was not always the case. When Barandon came to the company in 1988, gage records were maintained on 3” x 5” cards, he recalls. “We had a skeleton of an inspection department—hard-working and committed employees with little in the way of technologies that are standard now.” With customers whose products range from parts for the Hubble telescope to nuclear ships and gyros/servos, DANCO needed assurance of accuracy in its gages, and GAGEpack has served that need for years.
Whether you’re an experienced leader when it comes to gage management or new at the job, there’s always more to learn. This half day program will enlarge your understanding of best practices in gage management and make your job easier. If you want to improve your gage inventory and calibration systems, this is the ticket for you.
This hands-on program specifically addresses the needs of those who want to learn how to improve their existing system or set up a new system for gage management. If you want to discover an easy, safe, fast and proven way of gage management, you are urged to attend. You don’t have to bring your computer—we’ll supply one for your use. You’ll learn gage management best practices currently being implemented at Honeybee Robotics, 3M, Honda Transmission Mfg., Crestview Aerospace and many other high performance organizations, including:
- How to prevent inaccurate records
- How to enable an audit trail
- How to stay on top of gage calibration events
- How to take and note corrective actions
Other eye-opening solutions will address:
- Five problems with unsupported systems
- How to ensure your system doesn’t result in audit non-conformities
- Four things your security could be lacking
- What to do when a gage fails calibration
- Five smart organizing tips for your records
The training will take place in Dayton, OH on May 2, and in Waukesha, WI, on June 13. Registration is only $59. To register or learn more, call 800-777-3020 or visit the event web page.
An FDA-regulated company reports the ways in which GAGEpack gage tracking software has revolutionized its approach to more than 700 instrument records, formerly managed with an Excel spreadsheet using a “controlled” file.
Each month, 60 or more instruments must be updated from a calibration or maintenance event for the company. In the company’s previous approach, the process was fraught with errors from typos, transcription errors, and mistakes in the records passed on from month to month. The previous solution was to require the Calibration Master List of all of the instrument records, each one covering eight separate entries, to be checked by a second person and signed off monthly. In spite of these efforts, audit findings for Calibration Master Lists continued to include errors.
Finally, the company purchased GAGEpack, writing its own validation protocol and preparing a custom report that matched the format and content of the Calibration Master List.
A transition to the GAGEpack gage tracking solution meant reduction in error and duplication of effort. The database for GAGEpack is protected and backed up, and data can be checked only once per entry. Since the program is Part 11 compliant, conforming to federal regulation on software security and electronic signatures, it is acceptable to industry regulators. Since, as the company’s quality manager reports, it is a flexible database that is transparent to the user and customized to the company’s specific use, it is acceptable to managers as well. “And since it is easily grasped and common sense in the use, it has made it acceptable to technicians tasked with keeping the database up to date and current. That is a WIN-WIN-WIN situation.”
True or false: Collecting data, unlike other processes, is not subject to variation.
Well, of course this statement is false. Variation is inherent to any system, and excessive variation in the collection process can provide highly misleading analysis, since it will appear on control charts as variation in the process, potentially skewing the outcome and inhibiting accurate analysis.
Keeping track—whether of customers, measurement systems, product development, or training—is often a daunting task for organizations, especially those with multiple sites and hundreds of employees. Cadorath, a multi-faceted international company, approaches this task by using GAGEpack, not only for its calibration records, but in a unique application to employee training records.
When NASA engineers asked “Could Mars have once harbored life?” and set out to investigate by launching the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity that landed in August, PQ Systems was in the background, not only cheering on their efforts, but indirectly contributing to the success of the mission through its relationship with a key supplier to the effort.
It’s hard to believe there was a time calibration systems relied on paper and pen methods of tracking using such things as 3×5 cards, desk calendars, and notebook paper. We’ve come a long way since then and now have an increasing reliance on technology to ensure timely calibration. Learn more about the latest software available to better track and manage your complete history of measurement devices, instruments, and gages.