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Automating Gage Calibration Records for Easier Audits

Very few people enjoy scheduling a customer audit. Even if you have a well-organized quality system, there’s always a seemingly unlimited range of questions from the auditor on personnel, procedures, equipment and facilities. Just in the case of gaging these questions must be routinely answered:

Do we have this gage?

Where is it?

What is its tolerance/accuracy?

Is it in calibration?

When was it last calibrated?

When is it due?

Where is the certificate?

Can you prove traceability?

What is its history?

Multiply these questions by the hundreds or even thousands of gages an active shop has and it’s easy to see why this is a process nobody really looks forward to.

Steve Geurts is the Production Manager at Von Ruden Manufacturing in Buffalo, Minnesota. We offer a mix of proprietary products for end users including hydraulic motors and power transmission components. We also provide contract manufacturing services to OEMs who use these products in their offerings. OEMs frequently visit Von Ruden to audit our manufacturing processes. To help in answering the gage calibration questions that come up, we’ve been using an online database of our gages for the past 2 years. Prior to the gage database, an individual in our quality department spent most of their time managing thousands of pieces of paper that held the answers to the gage questions.

The development, implementation and training for the gage database was delivered by our calibration provider, Productivity Quality Inc. (PQI). PQI for several years had provided Von Ruden’s gage specialist with the stacks of paper that needed to be filed and managed. In 2013 the stacks of paper were delivered by George Hatcher from PQI and in addition to reviewing the most recent calibration data, George offered options for future calibration data:

  1. Retain the existing paper trail system.
  2. PQI will provide electronic data that Von Ruden can manage and store as needed.
  3. PQI will host a secure, online database of all their calibration data.

We elected to pursue the third option and now all of the calibration data on Von Ruden’s gages can be quickly accessed through this database.

The secure gage database is accessed through a browser with a login and password. It allows users to search by date, type and status for all gages in the calibration system.

For Von Ruden Manufacturing, having an automatically maintained, secure, online database of all of our gage calibration data has freed up a full time quality assurance position from maintaining files of paper to helping customers get all of their QA data quickly and efficiently.

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