A metrology inspection is one of the main pillars supporting high quality control standards in manufacturing; the others being defect review, classification and analysis. Together, they ensure that every step of the manufacturing process – as well as the end product – are completed to the same reliably high standards. Good metrology inspections make for fulfilled production targets, high productivity and happy customers! There is no denying that getting inspection right requires time, expert knowledge and specialist equipment. This is why an outsourced inspection may be more cost-effective for your business than doing it in-house.
Let’s take a look at what a metrology inspection entails and see if a metrology inspection service might save you money.
What is A Metrology Inspection?
Metrology is the field of understanding and applying units of measurement. Its importance to manufacturing is ensuring a reliable and repeatable process for every unit in the production line. Each component or product has to be identical, and they also need to comply with international standards. Metrology therefore has both legal and technical implications.
At its most basic, metrology deals with three processes:
1) Establishing and defining units of measurement: These can be weights, units of distance or units of time when measuring processes. They are usually defined in reference to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM).
2) How these measurements are applied in practice in manufacturing.
3) How these applications can be traced back to the international standards: This is the process of accountability and compliance that underscores the quality assurance you give your customers.
A metrology inspection takes these principles and applies them to your industry. As well as general international standards, there may be specific standards that apply to your industry or to different countries. For instance, if you are exporting to the United States, your metrology inspections must comply with the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards.
When carrying out a metrology inspection you need to create a dynamic control plan that quantifies both the process and the outcome. This can include measuring:
- Measurement speed for different components and surfaces.
- How measurements are affected by environmental factors e.g. moisture, air temperature, dust etc.
- The cost of each production unit.
- The effectiveness of machines and operatives involved in the manufacturing process.
- The quality of raw materials.
How Outsourcing Can Help
Outsourced inspection can save you time and money. They can also help you respond to market demand and increase your productivity.
Without in-house metrology inspections to worry about, you will not have to invest in specialist equipment, such as Coordinates Measurement Machines (CMM). You also won’t have the recruitment and HR costs of employing an inspector full-time. These are significant savings, but more important is the freedom that outsourcing can give you.
The nightmare faced by all manufacturing businesses is an inspection bottleneck. A large order comes through with tight production deadlines and your in-house inspection team struggles to deal with it. When your resources are stretched, it only takes one glitch, one staff absence or an unexpected problem for an inspection backlog to start building up. This is extremely frustrating, especially if all the other elements of your manufacturing process are running smoothly.
An outsourced metrology inspection service eliminates bottlenecks by allowing you to scale your inspections up and down to match your need. When working with us, for example, we can ship in additional machines and personnel during busy periods to help you avoid bottlenecks, and then cut the service back when you don’t need us. When outsourcing, you also avoid the opposite problem of staff and machines being underutilised during quiet times, as the service can be customised to match your production patterns.
Making Inspection Bottlenecks A Thing of The Past
Inspection bottlenecks are one of the main causes of lost productivity for manufacturers. With so many plates to spin running your business, metrology inspection is the last thing you need to be worrying about. Make costly and frustrating bottlenecks a thing of the past through targeted outsourcing and a streamlined planning process. We have written a new e-book full of handy hints and tips, all targeted on how to boost productivity and keep on top of your inspections. You can download How To Avoid Inspection Bottlenecks for free by clicking here.