Bobier’s state of the art measurement laboratory is one of the largest privately held metrology labs in the Midwest, consisting of some of the most accurate measuring equipment anywhere.
The assembly line operation within the factory of a major automotive manufacturer was halting five to six times every day. After investigation, the manufacturer concluded that non-conforming parts from the supplier were causing the parts to be misaligned with a mating part during the assembly process.
When the supplier was notified of the problem, they claimed the parts being produced conformed completely to the required specification. They even backed their claim by providing dimensional measurement documentation. Satisfied with the supplier’s evidence, the automotive manufacturer carried out efforts to rebuild their assembly process in an attempt to correct the problem. However, after the rebuilding was completed, the assembly problems continued. The stoppages occurred at the same rate and there was no improvement in productivity.
The automotive manufacturer called on Bobier to perform an independent dimensional measurement analysis on the supplier’s parts, in order to verify that the parts were conforming, as the supplier had convincingly demonstrated. The automotive manufacturer gave Bobier (10) ten parts for dimensional measurement… Bobier found all (10) ten parts to be non-conforming.
Bobier contacted the supplier directly, on behalf of the automotive manufacturer. The supplier agreed to a study of the inspection procedure used to back their claims that the parts conformed to the specifications. Bobier discovered that the supplier was using an inspection fixture that actually “bent” the part during the inspection process in order to make it appear correct. (An inspection procedure not permissible in accordance to recognized ANSI Y14.5 Standard).
This standard requires that a part of this type must conform to specification in a “free state” when being measured, with no force or bending applied.
The supplier then agreed to make $150,000.00 in adjustments to their tooling (adjustments that had been requested by the automotive manufacturer when the problems were first recognized). These manufacturing process changes corrected the “bend” in the parts, and the supplier’s inspection procedure was also altered to inspect parts according to the required standards and specifications. With correct conforming parts now coming from the supplier, assembly problems at the automotive manufacturer’s facility disappeared.
Ultimately, the situation was resolved – but not before significant costs were paid. In addition to the accumulated production line downtime, the automotive manufacturer had to replace defective parts that had already left the factory – a cost over $350,000.00. However, the greatest damage was less tangible: Loss of customer trust and satisfaction.
Why is Laboratory Environment Important When Choosing a Dimensional Inspection Laboratory?
We’ve found that when customers compare dimensional inspection quotations, they do not take in consideration the laboratory environment. Laboratory environment plays a considerable role in the accuracy of your measurement data. When choosing the dimensional inspection laboratory to perform your inspections, you must take into account the 5 key factors of laboratory environment.