Employee Owned Gages - Clock number for Identification?

M

mibusha

#1
Getting a lot of resistence to putting IDs on mics and calipers. Had a pattern maker suggest this method...

Create a generic list of most devices used in the shop, give the list to each employee who checks whether they have a particular item or not. One form/list for each employee. Then on that form/list, assign the employees's clock number plus a 1,2,3...for each item on down the list. So-employee #44 would have his one inch micrometer assigned a number of 44-1. For his 6 inch mic (or caliper or whatever) he would have the assigned number of 44-5 or44-8... . There would be no numbers inscribed on his mic or caliper. The master list of records for the calibration system would show different ID numbers for every employees' measuring device in the facility. When it was time for calibration, the data base would flag #44-1 or whatever. The calibration tech would go out and get the device from the particular employee, calibrate it, record it and return it to the employee.
 
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Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
The only flaw I see is assurance of unique identification. There would be no guarantee that a specific caliper, micrometer, etc, was the one assigned to the particular employee. There has to be some method of unique identification on the item.

The only exception I have seen is items where there is some technical reason why they cannot be marked. In those cases, the case has the unique identification. The exception I am thinking of are wafer measurement standards used in semiconductor wafre fabs. You can't mark them because it may destroy the wafer and invalidate it. Another example would be very small weights in a standard weight kit. You can't mark them because it would throw off their weight accuracy due to the weight of the mark.

But on mics and calipers, I strongly recommend marking. If they each have unique serial numbers from the manufacturer, that should suffice for the marking. Another method that might be okay, and I have seen pass audits is to have the assigned unique identification number on the calibration label. But in that case the label must be affixed to the unit.

The only other exception I can think of is if there is ONLY one of a particular kind of mic or caliper. If multiple techs are using the same manufacturer/model number, it would not be recommended to leave them unmarked and without a unique identification number. If I were an auditor, I think one of the first questions I would ask on that topic would be how can you assure that no two of them are ever confused. I think your numbering system is fine. My recommendation would be, however, that it needs to somehow be marked on each tool.

I know that may not be the answer you hoped for, but I feel duty bound to give you my best attempt.

Hope this was of some help.

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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
I did see a company pass which had a list (derived from the master file and replaced with updated version monthly) of that employees measurement instrument at each employees tool box. Some had serial numbers and some didn't. They took the tact that each person is responsible for their specific instruments and that they remain in the employees tool box or work area. Duplicates (where an employee had 2 or more of the same instrument, like micrometers or such) were IDed by paint dots of different colours. Employees were responsible for taking their instruments to the cal person when their list indicated 1 or more instruments were due (and they did!). I was satisfied by that method myself.
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
ya it works...as marc has said....alot has to do with the comfort level at the company. Ya can tell immediately ...gut feel...if it will work there or not. Unique marking on a mic box, in a personal tool box is fine.

That said, You have to give people credit, and the freedom to do whats right.....and the opportunity to screw up (or prove you wrong......)if thats what will happen....then change it, don't prejudge.
 

Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
#5
I think I'm outvoted. I've always been a stickler as to "unique identification". I've had a lot of expreiences with technicians who keep things in their tool boxes. Unfortunately, perhaps the experiences I have had were not in the middle of the statistical bell curve. The typical response I hav gotten from those who have kept calipers or multimeters in their tool box is a high degree of possessiveness, and general resistance to participation in the calibration recall program. Those same technicians not too uncommonly swapped meters with each other, one technician leaves the company and gives his/her meter to another tech, and no word passed on to the calibration lab.

With that set of experiences, I have long held the view that with at least well documented information on each calibrated item, if it does not show up when required for calibration recall, I have some method to find a lost or wayward item.

I think the level of detail in the program also depends on the size of the company. A site population of fifty people and six people using similar mics or multimeter, the intricacies of a unique identification number system need not be quite so rigorous.

But in sites with many hundreds of people, say for example 100 to 200 micrometers, and/or 100 or more handheld multimeters, I would not feel very comfortable without some method of picking up an instrument and being able to identify it.

I do concede that the point is most certainly debatable. In the major fortune 100 company I work for, we use the term "guarantee" a lot. So our philosophy in this case would be.. how can we "guarantee" that any given calibrated instrument can "never" be used past its calibration due date or if it is out-of-tolerance? And I think we can implicitly infer that QS9000 requires the same. That is where, I believe, if we do not have a unique identification marking on an instrument, we must be sure that the system is adequate to capture those due items 100%.

All that having been said as my qualifiers, I do concede that it is quite conceivable in a small company ot be able to operate that way.

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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
I don't see it as an issue of being 'outvoted'. You're used to what I was up until about 15 years ago. As I got into places like forging operations, reality sets in. Your environment and with consideration to risk factors, your paradigm is 'right'. It's my ideal. But as you say, many factors come into play.

Dan started a thread on control of external documents and it took me a while to really get a good feel for what they are doing (as the detail level got higher and higher with each post) - in the end, for the size of the company and such - I'd buy off on their system.
how can we "guarantee" that any given calibrated instrument can "never" be used past its calibration due date or if it is out-of-tolerance?
I've been through that racket. We all know the reality is you can guarantee Never, but like everything else failures occur. What you do is look at the risk factors when considering how far to go to ensure your system is fail-safe. In the microelectronics industry (for example chip manufacturing and processing) an out of tolerance instrument could lead to an instant US$200K+ screw-up. In a machine shop it is highly unlikely that such a system failure (use of an out of tolerance gage / instrument) will as significantly affect the company / project.

Typically I see unique identification as a necessary feature of a cal system. But a couple of smaller companies have convinced me that in their specific cases it was not a problem with consideration to risk. I will say that where I have seen this 'rule' violated, it was personal equipment - not company equipment - and all 'significant' inspections / tests were with company equipment.

You are right - it's not good to violate this basic identification 'rule'.
 
M

mibusha

#7
Further to my post of January 14 - We are a small shop (32 hourly and 5 salary). All hourly personnel are skilled trades (machinists and pattern makers). Through discussion they have convinced me that there would be no problem with periodic recall for calibration and say they will inform me of new and/or replaced measuring devices.

I’m tempted to set the system up with no physical ID marking of their devices. Rather a list with assigned IDs on each employee’s toolbox. As Marc mentioned, the list would be periodically updated/replaced. How often… ? Company owned devices that have no real “owner” on the floor, and therefor far less control, would be physically marked. Although I’m confident this idea would work, the reaction of our auditor leaves me a bit worried.
 
R

Roger Eastin

#8
You are such a small shop that I don't see a problem with your system. I think Jerry's point is well taken when there is larger workforce with more gages to track. Even then, it could work. It just becomes more of a problem tracking the gages.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#9
d) Identify inspection, measuring and test equipment with a suitable indicator or approved identification record to show calibration status;

NOTE: A serial number traceable to the device calibration record meets the intent of this requirement.
This is what you have to comply with. You have to identify it (serial number is a suggestion, not a requirement). You have to be able to identify each item in one way or another. Remember that many auditors get the shakes when presented with something that is outside their paradigm. You will have to explain that and you will have to show (tell explain) how (why) there will be no mixups and that recall is accomplished.
 
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