Reasonable calibration? 50 foot measuring tape and other basic M&TE

#1
Split from Trolles thread 7.6 for a chemical company?

This may be off-track so snip and re-thread at will (Maybe not off track, but I think it merits a thread of its own. /Claes), but along the lines of howste's post, having to worry about "what will the auditor think about this" for these kinds of things really frosts me.

Example:
I spend thousands per year on a calibration system for the electronic measurement equipment that really matters. But an auditor will dig right through that and write up the 50' measuring tape stuck to my floor. No, I didn't calibrate it, it came from the Oregon Rule Company. I expect that they know what 50' is. OK, I'll check it with my trusty Stanley measuring tape. Oh, for pete's sake, no, I don't have a calibration certificate for that either. Look, we use this tape to APPROXIMATELY measure 40' cables with 3 double-ought wires. There's no tolerance! Yes, the measurement matters, but it doesn't matter enough to warrant the expense to trace it to NIST. Mr. Assembler eyeballs 40' on the tape, cuts the cable, attaches connectors to both ends, the customer is happy. Everyone involved knows the difference between 39' and 41'. Come here Mr. guy, I want to wrap a very sticky 50' ruler around your head. Read the part about "Where necessary to ensure valid results.." then take a walk. That 12" metal ruler on my desk is not used for measurements, it's used for smacking people like you on the knuckles. :frust:

Rant over, we now return you to your regularly scheduled quality posts.....
 
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G

Graeme

#2
RIGHT ON! And of course with wire & cable, having a foot too much is a significantly smaller problem than being an inch too short!

I would just make sure the work instruction is worded appropriately ("approximately" with no tolerance) and document that the 50-foot tape does not require calibration for any process it is used in because the commercial off-the-shelf accuracy is much better than the process requirements.

:) Or you could get one of those new laser interferometer transits that surveyors use and nail it down to within +/-0.01 foot ... :)

I guess I have been fortunate so far, to have only dealt with auditors who actually know something about calibration and the parent orgainzation's main business - flying.
 
S

SteelWoman

#3
Following a similar infuriating discussion some time ago here, we wrote into our procedure an allowance for "calibrated devices" and for "uncalibrated devices" which are specifically used for REFERENCE/QUICK CHECKs, in situations where the actual check to customer tolerance was elsewhere.
 
R

Randy Stewart

#4
ICY,
We are preparing to remove all employee owned tools from our system. I've made an appointment with my doctor to get the High Blood pressure meds already. What a waste of money.
 
D

David Hartman

#5
I'm reminded of a time several years ago, I was working in a Mil-Q-9858A environment where one of our Quality Engineers came up with a recommendation for a change to our calibration requirements. He suggested that we add our own requirement to label hand tools (screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, etc.) as "Hand tool - No Calibration Required". :bonk:

After setting down with the author and explaining that his recommendation was nothing more than audit fodder for the resident DCAS (customer reps), in the respect that the first time one of them found an "unlabelled" hand tool it would be considered as an audit finding, he relented and chose not to pursue the matter any further. :frust:
 
J

Jay Sturgeon

#6
To Randy

Better than making a Dr's appointment, have them take those gages home. Not on site.....so take em out of the system.

See a big finding and heart attack coming your way.


Some Brain power at work there! LOL! :frust:
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Icy Mountain said:
Split from Trolles thread 7.6 for a chemical company?

This may be off-track so snip and re-thread at will (Maybe not off track, but I think it merits a thread of its own. /Claes), but along the lines of howste's post, having to worry about "what will the auditor think about this" for these kinds of things really frosts me.

Example:
I spend thousands per year on a calibration system for the electronic measurement equipment that really matters. But an auditor will dig right through that and write up the 50' measuring tape stuck to my floor. No, I didn't calibrate it, it came from the Oregon Rule Company. I expect that they know what 50' is. OK, I'll check it with my trusty Stanley measuring tape. Oh, for pete's sake, no, I don't have a calibration certificate for that either. Look, we use this tape to APPROXIMATELY measure 40' cables with 3 double-ought wires. There's no tolerance! Yes, the measurement matters, but it doesn't matter enough to warrant the expense to trace it to NIST. Mr. Assembler eyeballs 40' on the tape, cuts the cable, attaches connectors to both ends, the customer is happy. Everyone involved knows the difference between 39' and 41'. Come here Mr. guy, I want to wrap a very sticky 50' ruler around your head. Read the part about "Where necessary to ensure valid results.." then take a walk. That 12" metal ruler on my desk is not used for measurements, it's used for smacking people like you on the knuckles. :frust:

Rant over, we now return you to your regularly scheduled quality posts.....
Icy,

Your frustration is very understandable. The ruler thing is BS. But, maybe there is a simple fix to get the auditor off your back. What if you wrote your own "cal procedure" for such things as 50 foot sticky tape used like yours is used where +/- 1" is no biggie. Maybe say somethign like you will verify the new tapes on reciept vs. a new Stanley tape (a tape from a different mfr. than the unknown which you designate as the "cal. std.") and if they agree to within +/- 1" the sticky tape is approved and requires no recal. or only a visual check to verify the numbers are still legible every so often. If Mr. Auditor complains tell him you have tapes from 2 different mfr's. that agree, and there has never been a customer NC for length using this method, or maybe get a customer friend to write you a note saying that such cal. method is fine with them. If he argues further, resist the urge to strangle him, and call his boss. JMO.
 
B

ben sortin

#8
Buy a one inch "Jo block" and engrave the auditor's initials on it. Present him with it (including certification) and state that your procedure requests him to measure your tape at every audit in 5 inch increments for gage calibration. Slap that calibration sticker on it (don't forget to remove the old one) and tell him thanks for the help. Maybe video tape it and make it into a training module entitled "Innovations in Quality Auditor Utilization." I feel a yearly quality award coming on.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#10
pilchard said:
If the measurements used are for acceptance you calibrate to NIST,

if for reference only ;)
pilchard,

I respectfully disagree if you mean always. The standard says "Where necessary to ensure valid results, measuring equipment shall be calibrated...against measurement standards traceable to international or national measurement standards...". I believe a reasonable person would not find it "necessary to ensure valid results" to calibrate traceable to NIST a 50' tape measure in the example Icy gave even if it were used for final acceptance. As proof I would show that I have done this for x years and my customer has never complained about my length being wrong (assuming this to be the case), that I understand the application, and therefore that I know there is no need. How could the auditor prove me wrong? If he could find CAR's for bad length attributable to the tape, yes, he has a (strong) point. Otherwise, if he pushes it I'm gonna have to speak to his boss. Sure, on a micrometer it is a cheap piece of cake to buy a calibrated jo-block and do the cal traceable to NIST, so why not. But imagine the cost of a NIST traceable cal for a 50" tape measure!

This is JMO of course.
 
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