AS9100D 7.1.5.2 / Calibration of Employee Owned Measuring Equipment

#1
Can anyone offer insight into how other companies are handling Employee Owned Measuring Tools?

It seems like our auditors are favoring that all measuring tools (The Company’s tools as well as the Employee’s) be controlled and calibrated – No Reference Tools allowed. Is this really a requirement of AS9100D?

[[Some Background:
My company has always allowed Employees to bring and use their own measurement tools. These tools are not tracked by the company and these tools are not calibrated.

Per our manual, the only allowable method for Product Acceptance requires a qualified inspector using calibrated tools.

The employee could measure his part with calibrated or un-calibrated tools, but procedurally could not make an acceptance decision; any conclusions just would not count as far as product acceptance is concerned. An Employee’s measurements are never used on an inspection report or considered for inspection data.

There is value to us in allowing the employees to make their own unofficial measurements – mostly, it allows production to flow without overloading inspection and allows inspection to concentrate on a single part for a longer term. It also allows the employee to identify potential problems sooner and correct faster (no waiting for an available inspector). ]]

Control is not a problem, but calibration is expensive and the assignment of calibrated tools to personnel who cannot even use them for inspection seems like a poor use of company resources.

Is there any hope to keep our Employee-Owned Reference tools?
 
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Al Rosen

Holed-up in a Hotel in South Florida
Staff member
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#2
The reason you would not want employees using measuring equipment that is not controlled is the risk of producing nonconforming product. We didn't allow its use.

AS9100D

7.1.5.2 Measurement Traceability

When measurement traceability is a requirement, or is considered by the organization to be an essential part of providing confidence in the validity of measurement results, measuring equipment shall be:
etc, etc
As far as the standard is concerned, you can try to to argue that those measurements are not an essential part of providing confidence in the validity of measurement results, but I wouln't count on winning.
 

matkins

Starting to get Involved
#3
Seems to me that you have a sound process for calibration.
AS9100D does not require that all equipment/tools be calibrated. An auditor cannot cite you with a non-conformance for having personally owned, reference only tools used in your production. You decide what types of tools you need and if they need to be calibrated or not as a part of your process and document these in the required "register".

The standard specifically states in the note in section 7.1.5.2 "Monitoring and measuring equipment . . .also includes personally owned and customer supplied equipment used to provide evidence of product and service conformity."

So long as you are not using non-calibrated, personally owned tools to provide evidence of product conformity, and the calibrated equipment/tool used for providing that evidence is properly documented, I think you are good to go.
 

matkins

Starting to get Involved
#4
Al has a point about the risk that may be involved is using non-calibrated tools in production.

In my organization we do not allow personal tools either, we use calibrated tools to document inspection/test results at planned inspection/test points documented in the traveler. I am pushing hard for production folks to inspect/measure their own work before presenting it to the inspection/test point. You know, building quality in rather than trying to inspect it in. Is it necessary for them to measure the length of the cable on a calibrated ruler/tape measure? Is it necessary for them to beep out the continuity of the cable on a calibrated multimeter?

Answers are, however, dependent on the amount of risk you are willing to accept in your production process.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#5
Control is not a problem, but calibration is expensive and the assignment of calibrated tools to personnel who cannot even use them for inspection seems like a poor use of company resources.
If you scroll down the page you will see some threads that have similar discussions. An old one from 2006/2007 is related to AS9100. I offered the following comment back then; remember, there was no "risk-based-thinking" in the AS9100B document.

There is a risk involved with allowing employee owned and uncalibrated gages to be used in the system. If they use the gages for job set-up and the tolerances are tight (common in aerospace hardware), chances are you are going to "kill" parts leading to waste and detracting from the bottom line, not mentioning placing additional burden on the inspection step to sort out good from bad.

I have seen at least a handful of organizations getting "burned" so bad over this that they instituted a policy of calibrating all of the employee owned gages or not allowing them to be used at all.
About the "cost" of calibration. How often, do you think these employee-owned gages should be calibrated? How costly is to scrap parts 80% into their realization cycle because we can't rework them due to a dimensional snafu?

While the standard does not prohibit it, what you propose goes counter to risk based thinking. How do you mitigate such risks? That is the question you need to answer, in my estimation.

Good luck.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
So what we did is put employee owned gages in our calibration system but it is their responsibility it get it done. So quality gives them a list and the stickers and says "report back to me when you're done."
 
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