June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.742.1 - 13.742.9
Industry-University Collaboration to Improve Test Data Quality
A major engine manufacturer, Cummins, Inc., had organized a charter1 to provide training to a group of employees involved with data collection. Their objective was to improve data quality by improving the calibration of test instruments. The group of employees would also be encouraged to take the Certified Calibration Technician examination as part of obtaining this certification offered by the American Society for Quality. Essentially, their training served as a preparatory class for the CCT exam. However, other benefits outside of the exam were identified. They included improved efficiency and knowledge of calibration issues, establishment of a common vocabulary about calibration, and development of a professional development path for technicians. According to the Cummins, Inc. charter, “at the end of the day value will be added to Cummins as data quality, productivity and efficiency improve.”
After conducting the class once, Cummins decided it was too costly for them to continue and approached the Purdue University College of Technology in Columbus, Indiana about offering the class as part of their curriculum. The mechanical engineering technology (MET) department of the College of Technology decided to implement the class. An outline of the class with desired objectives was submitted to the curriculum committee of the MET department and approved as a “Special Topics in MET” class. The class was offered with no prerequisite classes and approved as a technical selective for the two-year associate of science degree in MET. Employees from local industry as well as current students in MET were encouraged to register for the class. This class has been conducted during the fall semester in 2005, 2006 and 2007, serving over 40 students.
This work details the organization of the class including objectives, hands-on activities, assessments, and course materials. Basically, the Book of Knowledge2 published by the ASQ for calibration technicians was adopted as the text book but was supplemented often with materials from MET classes as well as classes from the Organizational Leadership and Supervision program that involve quality concepts.3 Descriptions of the hands-on activities include the calibration of a Bourdon tube pressure gauge, measurement of temperatures and volts for thermocouples and use of simulation software4 to provide lessons in using measurement equipment.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “Calibration is a measurement process that assigns values to the property of an artifact or to the response of an instrument relative to reference standards or to a designated measurement process”.5 The purpose of calibration is to eliminate or reduce bias in the user's measurement system relative to the reference base. The calibration procedure compares an "unknown" or test item(s) or instrument with reference standards according to a specific algorithm.” For manufacturing companies many types of measurements are critical to the creation of quality and reliable products. Among those are measurements of length, weight, torque, temperature and power. Calibration of the instruments making those measurements is critical to good business. The American Society of
Fuehne, J. (2008, June), Industry University Collaboration To Improve Test Data Quality Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3331
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