Rickard Lindhé’s default image

By: Rickard Lindhé

ABB of Västerås, Sweden, is a pioneer among world industrial robot manufacturers when it comes to using laser-based measuring technology to ensure robot precision. ABB, with an installed base of 125,000 robots, stands out as the world’s largest in the arena of industrial automation. And Leica Geosystems’ equipment is instrumental in a unique calibration method that offers customers exact robot positioning accuracy throughout the entire life cycle of their robots.

Absolute Accuracy in a Nutshell

 

Absolute Accuracy is a process that ensures that a robot will retain its accuracy throughout its entire life cycle. The method bridges the gap between the CAD system’s virtual robot’s precision and the work done by the actual robot on the factory floor. Using a laser tracker; a compensation parameter is established that corrects the positioning and the robot’s movements. These parameters take into account both the mechanical imperfections in the pattern of movements and the bending downwards caused by the loads.

 

Metris’s picture

By: Metris

As Europe sets ambitious targets for energy that is clean and inexhaustible, wind energy is predicted to meet approximately 25 percent of Europe’s power demand within 25 years. Today’s wind turbines measure 70–150 meters and feature bladed rotor diameters of 100 meters or more, translating into a swept air area of 8,000–10,000 square meters. Wind turbines convert wind power into bladed rotor mechanical torque and subsequently into 1.5 to 4 MW of electrical power.


Figure 1: When standing in front of a wind turbine, its impressive size
is striking.

National Committee for Quality Assurance’s picture

By: National Committee for Quality Assurance

(NCQA: Washington) -- “The State of Health Care Quality 2009,” an annual report, now in its 13th year, provided by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), finds that the quality of U.S. health care was virtually stagnant in 2008, a disturbing slowdown after a decade of improvements. The across-the-board trend was seen in care provided to people with private insurance coverage as well as in Medicare and Medicaid. The report also examines the link between higher health care spending and quality and finds little to no connection, a finding with significant implications for health care reform efforts.

“As Congress works to shape a final health reform bill, lawmakers must be certain that the legislation includes significant provisions to improve the quality and efficiency of care,” says NCQA president Margaret E. O’Kane. “This includes requiring quality reporting by all health plans and providers, not just those who do so voluntarily today.”

Dave Maxham’s picture

By: Dave Maxham

A joint project of NCMS called Volumetric Accuracy for Large Machine Tools (VALMT), partnering Automated Precision, Boeing, Siemens and Mag Cincinnati, has pioneered an innovative process and established new methodology in volumetric error compensation for large machine tools. Volumetric error compensation or VEC, is a true volumetric calibration that improves close tolerance and working accuracy of complex five- and six-axis machine tools throughout their entire working envelope.

Introduction

Day after day it’s the same problem for machine tool owners. They spend well into six figures for a high-precision machine tool and they have a great deal of difficulty determining why it’s not cutting parts accurately. The typical culprits are usually the same: ball screw or rack-and-pinion errors due to wear, machine-build tolerances, metal fatigue, maybe even foundation problems like sag all. All of these contribute to the inaccuracies they face.

Forrest Breyfogle—New Paradigms’s picture

By: Forrest Breyfogle—New Paradigms

The financials of an enterprise are a result of the integration and interaction of its processes, not of individual procedures in isolation. Using a whole-system perspective, one realizes that the output of a system is a function of its weakest link or constraint. If you're not careful, you can be focusing on a subsystem that, even though improved, doesn't affect the system's overall big-picture output.

In lean Six Sigma and lean kaizen event programs, improvement projects are often selected from a list of potential opportunities that were determined from a brainstorming session. This effort might provide some initial gains when starting a deployment; however, it typically stalls out and the process improvement teams are laid off when times get tough. The reason for this downsizing is that often process improvement efforts are not expended in areas where the overall enterprise benefits the most; e.g., focusing on sales and marketing when excess production capacity is available.

Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man’s picture

By: Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man

At the 2009 National Association for Healthcare Quality conference, I gave a speech on lean Six Sigma simplified. At the end of the session, one of the attendees asked, "If Six Sigma is so easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?" My answer: Because we’ve made it too complicated, expensive, and hard to learn.

Seth Godin, author of Unleashing The Ideavirus (Hyperion, 2001, download it from www.ideavirus.com), says: "Ideas that spread, win." Six Sigma has been spreading, but slowly, at great expense and mainly in large companies. How can the quality community make Six Sigma easier to spread?

Let me begin with a story.

A woman I know went on a date with a man she’d just met. He took her on a picnic where they had to walk up a trail onto a small hill with a view of the foothills. I saw her recently and she was still dating the same man. She told me, “I don’t know how it happened, but six months later I was standing on top of an 800 foot pinnacle in Utah after a free climb.”

Joe Calloway’s picture

By: Joe Calloway

The Acme Widget Co. needed to increase revenue and profits, so they undertook an initiative to attract new customers: They launched a new advertising campaign and offered special deals to first-time buyers. They were initially delighted to see a significant and immediate increase in new customers. Their joy was short lived, however, as they saw revenue and profits actually decline.

The Acme Widget Co. made a classic business blunder. As new customers came in the front door, existing customers were leaving in greater numbers through the back door. They had violated one of the most important rules of business: Never take your customers for granted.

Even a small reduction in customer defections can significantly increase profits. Because your fixed costs don’t change much regardless of how many customers you have, the retention of existing customers is vitally important in maximizing profit. Creating and strengthening customer loyalty must be a top priority of any business if it is to grow and prosper.

Miriam Boudreaux’s picture

By: Miriam Boudreaux

When you think about equipment that is used for measuring and test activities, you think about important equipment that is used to pass or fail product but may not necessarily see its correlation with a supply chain. However, this very equipment—whether it is calibrated in-house or off-site—does involve a supply chain one way or the other and therefore adherence to suppliers and supply-chain requirements is imperative.

If you outsource your calibration, you know that your calibration partners are your vendors. But when equipment is calibrated in-house, you may think there are no suppliers involved. However, even in this case, you probably still have to send the standard used for calibration to an outside calibration company that can provide traceability to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards. So whether the calibration is done in-house or by an external company, calibration requires a thorough look into purchasing procedures and the supply chain.

Linda Gleespen’s default image

By: Linda Gleespen

Ten years after the Institute of Medicine released its influential report "To Err Is Human" (www.iom.edu/en/Reports/1999/To-Err-is-Human-Building-A-Safer-Health-System.aspx), hospital care still has many safety problems, and the quality of care remains lower than it should be in many institutions.

Hospitals could improve both quality and patient safety by using health information technology to standardize the processes of care and to ensure that vital information is available to clinicians when they need it. However, electronic health record (EHR) systems are multi-faceted and challenging to implement in acute-care settings, and few health care facilities have complete EHRs. As an initial step toward the automation of patient care, about 10 percent of U.S. hospitals have implemented computerized physician order entry (CPOE), which includes medication orders and orders for laboratory and imaging tests, as well as the ability to view test results and medication lists. While this falls short of a complete EHR, which also incorporates clinical documentation, CPOE, when it is properly implemented and utilized, represents a giant step toward better patient care.

Maribeth Kuzmeski’s picture

By: Maribeth Kuzmeski

It happens to the best of us. An upset client calls to complain about a product or service, and you’re completely caught off guard. How do you react? Do you fly off the handle right along with him? Or do you respond in a calm, thoughtful way that salvages and even strengthens your relationship? A high-pressure scenario doesn’t have to blow your client relationship sky-high—in fact, you can use it as an opportunity to truly connect with your client and keep him around for the long haul.

Conflict is a normal part of business, and we all need to learn how to deal with it in the right way. Some clients are just plain difficult. And yes, “easy” clients can also become dissatisfied for a variety of reasons. The good news is that there are effective ways to handle conflict and resolve issues—and these methods will actually strengthen your relationship.

Remember that quite often, unhappy clients will not even tell you that they have a problem. They simply move their business elsewhere. So, if a client thinks enough of you to give you the chance to repair a bad situation, take it. Play an active role in making your customer happy so that you can be sure to keep him or her on board with you.

Syndicate content