Measuring Parts without Proper Tools - Measurement Device Resolution

E

E. Madsen - 2012

#1
I think this is more of a discussion than really a question. If this has already been discussed, I would be happy to follow a link, but I searched and couldn't find a related question/issue.

I worked at a company that required the parts to be 10 mm +/- 0.5 mm. We were using a tape measure that was in mm. An auditor said we didn't have the correct equipment to measure to 0.5 mm, so we received a finding. We ended up changing the requirement to 10 mm +/- 1 mm because the results really didn't impact our process. Based on the tolerance, we were supposed to measure to 10.0 mm. I agreed with the auditor that we could not have made a determination if a part was 9.4 mm or 9.5 mm therefore we could not use the equipment we were using to make that determination.

Is there anyone that could have defended keeping the criteria and the same measuring equipment? Due to the nature of the part, we could not use calipers, but would an auditor accept using calipers to "estimate" the length of the part?

Thanks!!
 
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Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

I think this is more of a discussion than really a question. If this has already been discussed, I would be happy to follow a link, but I searched and couldn't find a related question/issue.

I worked at a company that required the parts to be 10 mm +/- 0.5 mm. We were using a tape measure that was in mm. An auditor said we didn't have the correct equipment to measure to 0.5 mm, so we received a finding. We ended up changing the requirement to 10 mm +/- 1 mm because the results really didn't impact our process. Based on the tolerance, we were supposed to measure to 10.0 mm. I agreed with the auditor that we could not have made a determination if a part was 9.4 mm or 9.5 mm therefore we could not use the equipment we were using to make that determination.

Is there anyone that could have defended keeping the criteria and the same measuring equipment? Due to the nature of the part, we could not use calipers, but would an auditor accept using calipers to "estimate" the length of the part?

Thanks!!
Just curious - was the auditor

  1. third party [registrar] (show me the shall - this may be an "opportunity for improvement (OFI)," but not a nonconformance unless there was documentation that another device/instrument was to be used)
  2. second party [customer] (what does the contract say about inspection devices? Is there any record of nonconforming parts delivered to customer? If not, this is also an OFI.)
  3. internal auditor (unless there is a written process dictating a different instrument, this is ALSO an OFI)
In general, auditors cannot make up rules. Standards do not dictate which instruments are appropriate, but organization documents (internal rules, customer contracts) may. Thus, the proper response to an auditor is (put politely, if possible), "How interesting. Can you show me the document which confirms your statement?" SHOW ME THE SHALL!
 

bobdoering

Stop X-bar/R Madness!!
Trusted Information Resource
#3
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

It's true, the auditors should not make up rules. But, having a spec of 10 +/- 0.5 and using a device that measures in 1 mm discrimination is nonsense - especially if you make up the spec, and you pick the gage. Either the spec is bad, or the gaging is bad. Somebody needs to straighten that out. Sounds like all you want is an attribute gage, because there is no chance of a meaningful variable measurement.

If this was a TS discussion, the shalls are there...and this is how they get there.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#4
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

Just curious - was the auditor

  1. third party [registrar] (show me the shall - this may be an "opportunity for improvement (OFI)," but not a nonconformance unless there was documentation that another device/instrument was to be used)
  2. second party [customer] (what does the contract say about inspection devices? Is there any record of nonconforming parts delivered to customer? If not, this is also an OFI.)
  3. internal auditor (unless there is a written process dictating a different instrument, this is ALSO an OFI)
In general, auditors cannot make up rules. Standards do not dictate which instruments are appropriate, but organization documents (internal rules, customer contracts) may. Thus, the proper response to an auditor is (put politely, if possible), "How interesting. Can you show me the document which confirms your statement?" SHOW ME THE SHALL!
8.1 of ISO 9001:2008 says, in part, "The organization shall plan and implement the monitoring, measurement, analysis and improvement processes needed...to demonstrate conformity to product requirements..." thus it's very possible that there was a valid nonconformity.

The OP by his own admission was unable to demonstrate conformity to product requirements. This appears to be a case of a company painting itself into a corner with its own requirements, or lack thereof. When the requirements don't reflect the actual need, the requirements should be changed.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

8.1 of ISO 9001:2008 says, in part, "The organization shall plan and implement the monitoring, measurement, analysis and improvement processes needed...to demonstrate conformity to product requirements..." thus it's very possible that there was a valid nonconformity.

The OP by his own admission was unable to demonstrate conformity to product requirements. This appears to be a case of a company painting itself into a corner with its own requirements, or lack thereof. When the requirements don't reflect the actual need, the requirements should be changed.
Based on the original post, there is no information whether the product was or was not actually conforming. If it WAS conforming, then outsiders' opinion [auditor's or ours] and subsequent "ding" as a nonconformance regarding the sufficiency of the measuring equipment is not adhering to the spirit or letter of the Standard.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

It's true, the auditors should not make up rules. But, having a spec of 10 +/- 0.5 and using a device that measures in 1 mm discrimination is nonsense - especially if you make up the spec, and you pick the gage. Either the spec is bad, or the gaging is bad. Somebody needs to straighten that out. Sounds like all you want is an attribute gage, because there is no chance of a meaningful variable measurement.

If this was a TS discussion, the shalls are there...and this is how they get there.
I agree with the opinion the gaging could be "improved," but that's an OFI, not a nonconformance.

In regard to TS, yep, but the auditor is then engaging in mission creep by applying TS Standard to the OP's situation.

Wouldn't it be interesting to note whether ANY of the product were nonconforming? If not, then perhaps the gaging is sufficient for this particular operation, in the same manner that visual appearance versus supermicrometer measurement of paint thickness is often deemed sufficient for coating conformance. Just because there is a better or more concise way of performing an activity does not mean there is a SHALL to adopt such method.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#7
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

Based on the original post, there is no information whether the product was or was not actually conforming. If it WAS conforming, then outsiders' opinion [auditor's or ours] and subsequent "ding" as a nonconformance regarding the sufficiency of the measuring equipment is not adhering to the spirit or letter of the Standard.
The OP clearly stated that he was unable to discern whether the thing(s) was/were conforming or not. Quoth: "I agreed with the auditor that we could not have made a determination if a part was 9.4 mm or 9.5 mm..." and I said that, based on the bit from 8.1 that I quoted, it is "very possible" that there was a legitimate nonconformity.

Whether or not the product was actually conforming is probably irrelevant to the point at hand--the OP was unable to determine whether the thing conformed to the specifications or not.

There is doubtlessly more here than will allow any of us at this point to know for sure what was going on.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#8
Re: Measuring parts without proper tools

I agree with the opinion the gaging could be "improved," but that's an OFI, not a nonconformance.

In regard to TS, yep, but the auditor is then engaging in mission creep by applying TS Standard to the OP's situation.
How would it be mission creep if it was a TS16949 audit???

Wouldn't it be interesting to note whether ANY of the product were nonconforming? If not, then perhaps the gaging is sufficient for this particular operation, in the same manner that visual appearance versus supermicrometer measurement of paint thickness is often deemed sufficient for coating conformance. Just because there is a better or more concise way of performing an activity does not mean there is a SHALL to adopt such method.
It's possible that no gaging is needed at all, but that's irrelevant. The question is whether or not a requirement was violated, and as I suggested earlier, it could have been a local requirement and not a violation of the standard. We don't know.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#9
Had I been auditing, whether in capacity as internal, supplier or CB auditor this would have been a nonconformance, saying the application was ineffective.

Still, some information is lacking here: specifically, what their process said to define how they dealt with resolution. The details researched here would have affected the writeup, but the fact remains that an effective measurement system can't evaluate .5mm with a rule using increments of 1mm.
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#10
I worked at a company that required the parts to be 10 mm +/- 0.5 mm. We were using a tape measure that was in mm.
What was the resolution of the tape measure? Was the smallest increment 1mm?

Do you really have clearly identified what your specification is? Are you sure your tolerance cannot be 2mm? 5mm?

Once you know what your requirement really is, you can then determine what tool you need to do the job. And... the current tool may be sufficient.
 
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