Kevin Hill’s picture

By: Kevin Hill

Analytical balance scales are a part of many laboratories. If you use them regularly, you need to keep the analytical scales well-maintained. They are extremely sensitive, and factors like dust, vibration, and air drafts will throw off the accuracy of the scales. This is why it is important to maintain and calibrate them regularly so that you get accurate weights every time you measure.

An analytical balance will work efficiently only if it is maintained properly. Follow the specific manufacturer’s recommendations that come with the balance.

Apart from that, follow these eight tips.

Keep it in the right environment
Keep the analytical balance in an area that is free of vibration and has controlled temperature and humidity.

Don’t place the balances next to doors or windows because opening or closing them will result in air drafts or temperature fluctuations that can lead to inaccurate measurements.

Keep it clean
Keep the analytical balance clean. Debris inside the weighing chamber can affect the weighing results.

Joyce Yeung’s picture

By: Joyce Yeung

Additive manufacturing (AM, aka 3D printing) is increasingly accepted as an end-product manufacturing method, rather than just for prototyping. However, ensuring the final quality of parts for use in critical applications such as medical, and particularly aerospace, can still be a labor- and cost-intensive process. AM machine makers have most recently been concentrating on improving the actual printing technology of their equipment, and monitoring build progress in situ, so that printed parts not only perform as expected, but also can meet the various standards set by different industries.

Such proof generally comes in two forms: certification of the final product and qualification of the equipment, software, and materials used to produce that product. Two industry experts—Laura Ely from the Barnes Group and Zack Murphree, from AM equipment and software provider VELO3D—define and discuss these issues, and other important related ones, in the Q&A below.

What’s changed in additive manufacturing that makes certification more important these days?

Casandra Robinson’s picture

By: Casandra Robinson

Perhaps for as many as 40,000 years, people have been protecting their feet with some type of covering, initially using animal hides and fur. Today, footwear has become high-tech, sophisticated, and in some cases smart, incorporating sensors that communicate with apps on your phone. Much of the advancement in footwear is possible because of standards that address the basic performance and functionality, allowing manufacturers to go beyond the basics.

There are hundreds of standards for all types of shoes, from industrial work boots to high-heeled dress shoes and everything in between, and for the shoe materials and components. Most of these are published by private-sector standards-developing organizations, such as SATRA, ISO, and ASTM International. But what do I care if my shoes meet any standards? I just want them to look good, feel good, and be fit for my activity—running shoes for jogging, boots for hiking, high heels for dancing, safety shoes for work—that’s all there is to it, right? Not quite. In terms of construction, fit, comfort, functionality, and protection, footwear is probably the most complex of all the clothing that we wear.

Jennifer Lauren Lee’s picture

By: Jennifer Lauren Lee

3D printing of metal objects is a booming industry, with the market for products and services worth more than an estimated $2.3 billion in 2015, a nearly fivefold growth since 2010, according to Wohlers Report 2016. For this type of manufacturing, a metal part is built up successively, layer by layer, over minutes or hours. Sometimes thousands of layers are added together to make a single piece, a reason why this process is conventionally referred to as “additive manufacturing” (AM). By convention, 3D printers that create functional parts, often metal, in a commercial environment are referred to as “additive manufacturing machines.” The term “3D printing” usually refers to the process used to make plastic parts, one-off pieces, art pieces, or prototypes.

Additive manufacturing machines are particularly handy for making objects with complex forms or geometry, or internal features like ducts or channels. They are becoming increasingly popular in the aerospace, automotive, medical, and technology industries, to make complex pieces such as fuel injector nozzles for engines or titanium bone implants for skull, hip, and other repairs.

Annalise Suzuki’s picture

By: Annalise Suzuki

The argument for moving toward enterprisewide model-based definition is simple: The way we describe products is increasingly digital, not paper-based. The way we optimize and validate products seems almost entirely digital, except for a few remaining destructive tests. The way our production machines accept design instructions

Transferring our modeling data through simulation and related design iterations to final format and straight to machine production is the logical goal of all software and hardware development. It’s where everything we do as manufacturers and software developers has been heading for decades. I believe that both the hardest and easiest parts of the all-digital effort lie just ahead.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

With more than 300 employees headquartered in a modern 150,000+ sq ft facility, Plasser American Corp. (PAC) manufactures top-quality, heavy railway construction and maintenance equipment for customers in North America. To stay competitive with international competition, PAC continually looks for ways to improve its processes and best practices.

“We made a goal to drastically reduce welding rework in the assembly area, so that all the welding of individual component parts on our frames would be done in the frame shop during initial welding,” explains Joe Stark vice president of operations and production. “At that time, we were laying out each machine we built by hand using tape measures and soap stones. Our machine-to-machine consistency just wasn’t where it needed to be which meant too much rework having to be done in the main assembly areas. We knew we needed to develop some standardization and best practices to accomplish our goals.”

Challenge

The PAC team assessed the possibility of their engineering department creating models detailing every tab, bracket, plate, etc. The idea was rejected due to the tremendous amount of engineering time that would be necessary to keep the models 100-percent accurate.

Quality Digest’s default image

By: Quality Digest

As usual with Quality Digest’s diverse audience, this year’s top stories covered a wide range of topics applicable to quality professionals. From hardware to software, from standards to risk management, from China trade to FDA regulations. It’s always fun to see what readers gravitate to, and this year was no different.

Below are five articles that garnered a lot of interest from our readers. As you can see, the topics are quite diverse.

Improve Risk Management and Quality Across the Value Chain by Increasing Visibility
by Kelly Kuchinski

NVision Inc.’s picture

By: NVision Inc.

It roamed Texas long before the first dinosaurs. Growing to 12 ft in length, with powerful jaws and specialized teeth for stabbing and tearing apart its prey, it was not a creature you’d want to encounter while on a Saturday morning hike. “It” was Dimetrodon limbatus, and a fossilized skeleton of the Paleozoic predator was recently scanned by NVision, a leader in 3D noncontact optical scanning/measurement, for the Texas Through Time museum in Hillsboro, Texas. The detailed scan data will enable the paleontology museum to 3D-print exact replicas of the fossil for further study and education.

Billed as the “Best Little Fossil Museum in Texas,” the nonprofit Texas Through Time was created by paleontologist Andre LuJan to preserve and promote the rich fossil history of the Lone Star State. Free to the public, the museum features a wide assortment of fossils from all ages and formations, including many one-of-a-kind fossils not available anywhere else. Although primarily focused on the noteworthy fossil diversity of Texas, the museum’s collection also includes fossils from around the world.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Plasan North America (PNA) manufactures metal, composite, and ceramic-composite components for defense and commercial applications. PNA brings decades of process experience to bear in creating the world’s most advanced armor, metal components, and fabrications.

Challenge

PNA has a vision to become the global leader in armor solutions based on innovation and quality. This vision spurs growth that regularly challenges the company’s quality team to grow right along with production. Accelerating product development forced PNA’s quality department to reassess the capability of its current inspection equipment.

“We were facing some pretty aggressive timelines on launch activity,” explains Tony Bellitto, quality manager at Plasan North America. “We were scheduled to launch 140 new part numbers, and most of them included GD&T [geometric dimensioning and tolerancing], not just basic measurements.”

Some of the parts PNA manufactures are of considerable size and weight, which posed further challenges.

“Some of these products are up to eight feet across,” says Christine Foley, senior quality engineer at PNA. “One of the underbelly parts we produce for tactical vehicles weighs about 2,500 pounds.”

Dustin Poppendieck’s picture

By: Dustin Poppendieck

On August 29, 2005, I was starting my first semester teaching freshman environmental engineering majors at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. At the exact same time, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi with 190 kph (120 mph) winds and a storm surge in excess of 6 meters (20 feet). Levees failed, flooding more than 80 percent of New Orleans and many surrounding areas. This tragedy left more than 1,800 people dead, many of whom had been trapped in their own homes. It took nearly six weeks for the water to recede, exposing more than 130,000 destroyed housing units.

I spent the rest of the semester (and subsequent ones) discussing with my students the lessons that environmental engineers should learn from Katrina and its aftermath (levees, water treatment, mold, air testing, planning for disasters, and more). Little did I know I would still be dealing with some of the issues revealed by Hurricane Katrina nearly 15 years later as a scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

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