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Tech: Get the Pros When You Outsource Component Inspection


By Jason Freure

Today’s manufacturing realities can be frustrating: budgets get smaller and deadlines get tighter. How are you supposed to balance quality, personnel limitations, equipment costs, and deadlines?

When it comes to the inspection department, outsourcing coordinate measuring machine services can help you overcome budget restrictions, bottlenecks, or complicated dimensions. Metrology shops keep the most advanced measurement instruments in-house and they are always training their staff on new equipment and software.

Thanks to portable technology, many can also send technicians to work in your own facility, saving you shipment costs and time.

Most of the shops that hire outside measurement services typically have their own internal inspection department, including CMM machines. Today’s manufacturers frequently meet their inspection needs with a blended solution combing in-house and outsourced answers. However, there are a few reasons they rely on outside vendors.

Cost of a new coordinate measuring machine – These are a major investment for any shop, and you should really take the time to calculate the ROI and opportunity cost of buying one. You can mitigate the costs with a used coordinate measuring machine from a dealer like Canadian Measurement-Metrology Inc. (CMM), but it still doesn’t make sense for short workloads and small contracts. You will also have to factor in personnel and training: can you staff a new measuring instrument, or are its hours of use going to be minimal?

Specialized technical requirements – If you have a small contract for a component your shop doesn’t usually build, you’re going to have a whole new set of technical requirements to fulfill. It may be simply impractical to upgrade your own facilities to handle difficult components, whether they’re super-sized or feature complicated dimensions. When you ship components to a metrology house, you get access to every kind of coordinate measuring machine capable of meeting any challenge. You can outsource everything from gear and blade inspection to reverse engineering without a major investment when you use coordinate measuring machine services at CMM Inc., for example.

Expanding workload – It’s always good to have more work, but overloads come with their own problems. How do you manage bottlenecks when your equipment or personnel don’t have the capacity to meet your deadlines? Components can only be measured so quickly, and bottlenecks are a common problem at the inspection department. Outsourcing can be either a temporary or a permanent solution for addressing overflows. It can also buy you time while you consider whether or not to invest in buying more equipment.

Guaranteed expertise – When you outsource, you’re getting technicians who are constantly training to use new tools and programs. They run frequent calibrations and repeatability tests on their metrology equipment in order to deliver consistently accurate data. They are also likely better to identify machine tool errors and rework componentstrained than your own personnel. If you need quality data that’s beyond your own facility’s ability to provide, consider measuring services from a trusted metrology company.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]