Comparing Laboratories

sign1Many customers only consider price when selecting a laboratory to perform a dimensional inspection of their manufactured parts. At Bobier Metrology we agree price is a key factor, but it’s not the only factor when comparing dimensional inspection quotations. Most importantly you want to make sure you are comparing laboratory to laboratory.

There are five key factors to review when accurately comparing dimensional inspection quotations; Laboratory Qualifications, Laboratory Environment, Type of Equipment, Data Result Formats, and lastly Price.

 

LABORATORY QUALIFICATIONS

a2la_logo_2-300x256Many customers do not consider the laboratory qualifications when they review quotations. You wouldn’t hire an  employee if they didn’t meet standards set forth by your company. So why would you send your manufactured parts to a laboratory that doesn’t meet the industry standard for temperature? All laboratories quoting should be “Accredited” to ISO/IEC 17025 standard. Several laboratories get by with a statement that they are “In Compliance” to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard. Accredited laboratories are reviewed annually for competence in their calibration field.

Equipment utilized by accredited laboratories must be traceable to the National Institute of Standards Technology (N.I.S.T), with each individual piece of equipment being directly linked to N.I.S.T. These practices allow the customer to have confidence in the data results obtained by the accredited laboratory, ensuring that they followed industry standards. Labs that are “In Compliance” can easily choose which portions of the ISO/IEC standard they wish to comply with. There are no means for which the customer can be confident that all practices stated in the ISO/IEC 17025 standard are being enforced and followed throughout the inspection process.

LABORATORY ENVIRONMENT

thermometerAll dimensional inspections should be performed in a controlled environment at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, holding 40% humidity as outlined per ISO/IEC 17025. Our laboratory at Bobier Metrology Solutions is a solid airlock enclosure utilizing 1 micron HEPA filters; holding a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit +/- 0.5 degrees with humidity of 40% +/- 10%. To our knowledge we are only one of four laboratories in the United States with this capability that perform GD&T inspections in this environment.

You’ll have the confidence in knowing our results are precise and accurate. Additionally, our laboratory is security controlled. Parts are handled by laboratory trained personnel only, and are stored discreetly out of view of the public and/or visitors. Our laboratory is maintained by security code entry guaranteeing each inspection performed by Bobier Metrology Solutions is confidential.

TYPE OF EQUIPMENT

leitz_2twhHas the laboratory quoted the appropriate equipment to use to perform your dimensional inspection? Many customers overlook the fact that dimensional data can be obtained using several different approaches. However, each approach has its own level of uncertainty when obtaining dimensional data. Sure, it’s a lot less expensive to measure a distance on digital caliper than on a coordinate measuring machine (CMM), but you have much greater accuracies and repeatability when utilizing a CMM over a digital caliper. Bobier Metrology Solutions has state of the art measurement equipment to guarantee your measurement data is repeatable within microns.

DATA RESULT FORMATS

data_reportsMany times inspection data result formats are overlooked during the quotation process, leaving the customer stuck with a list of numbers being unable to relate the data back to their manufactured part and/or print. Bobier Metrology Solutions offers several standard data formats including color error maps and pictures of the part with the dimensions ballooned per each feature measured. We also have the capability to customized our reports to meet your customer specific requests. You can be assured that all data formats are in a logical format matching your CAD or supplied print. Bobier Metrology also supplies the customer with FREE phone support to aid in data interpretation.

PRICE

dollar_sign_1A majority of labs base their pricing per dimension, so its equally important to make sure each laboratory has quoted the same amount of dimensions to be inspected. Every laboratory should supply within their written quotation, the number of dimensions to be inspected and a datum scheme for the inspection. Every quotation presented by Bobier Metrology Solutions will include our price based on the number of dimensions and a clear datum scheme. We also have hourly rate quotes available upon request. Once all the information has been obtained, the customer then should be able to pick the appropriate laboratory to perform their dimensional inspection based upon the laboratory qualifications, laboratory environment, type of equipment, data result formats, and lastly price.