West Contract Manufacturing

August 28, 2014

Smart Metrology – The Next Step in Speeding up Development Cycles (Part 3)

The Tech Group’s Keith Calvert recently contributed a three-part blog on metrology to Medical Design Technology. The following is from Part 3.

Equipment standardization is a key element in cost savings for any company and covers a broad spectrum of equipment for manufacturing, but for metrology equipment it is vital. As discussed in an earlier blog, metrology loops and the data produced are becoming the long-lead process in tool acceptance and validation activities. Trusting the data and how or where it comes from is just as important. Standardizing metrology equipment is one way of establishing that circle of trust for the project team. Over time, a team will become more and more comfortable with the data sets they receive, and in a data-driven organization, this can be beneficial.

When companies strategically source and purchase equipment with the mindset of standardization, they win. When decisions are based on price, lead time, or immediate needs, the long-term effects can be detrimental to a company’s long-term goals. It may even negatively affect short-term project goals. Consider cost and timing for the following requirements that coincide with a non-standardized equipment purchase:

• Training, including learning curve (muscle memory, keyboard shortcuts)
• Programming in different software packages (job setup, no standardized file)
• Lack of plug-and-play option commonality (rotary indexer, laser scanner)
• New maintenance requirements and additional spare parts
• New work instruction creation
• Data collection system/file sharing handshake
• Validation protocol creation and execution