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Execs on quality: fear thy neighbor, not Japan.

Execs on quality: Fear thy neighbor, not Japan

The American Society for Quality Control recently commissioned a survey by the Gallup Organization of senior executives at 601 companies (both Fortune 1000 and small ones) asking them to evaluate the quality of output of US businesses. One of the key questions was to name the biggest competitive-quality challenge to American business. Nearly three fourths, 72 percent, said the enemy was us - that the key quality threat was other American companies. This percentage was up sharply from 54 percent in a similar survey two years ago. Meanwhile, the perceived threat from Japanese competitors specifically - rated the greatest challenge by 22 percent two years ago - diminished to the top choice of only 9 percent this year. Europe (7 percent) and other Asian countries (4 percent) led the remainder of the choices on the competitor-threat list.

On the issue of foreign versus domestic quality, a slim 51 percent feel we are gaining on the rest of the world; i.e., improving quality faster than they are, versus 19 percent who feel we are falling behind, and on the subject of their own company's quality strategy or progress of improvement, 54 percent said they are pleased with what's being done. Yet, in rating the quality of all American-made products, they noted no perceptible change since '87 (i.e., I'm getting better, but the rest of you aren't). Nearly three fourths agreed that the quality leader in an industry suffers the least from recessionary effects.

Do corporate takeovers affect quality? Over two thirds said they do and that effect is negative (versus positive or no effect) in the short term, but only 49 percent voted for long-term negative effects (versus the other two choices). Why? Major reasons cited for the takeover's negative effect on quality were a lack of capital and the adverse effect on employee morale. One third of those surveyed have experienced mergers, acquisitions, or buyouts first hand.

The survey helped confirm that quality has become a strategic issue for most. "We note that many more companies are embarking on total quality programs, and many are making impressive gains," says John E Condon, ASQC president. "More companies today are aware of the need for quality, recognizing that quality, as a strategic issue, is of utmost importance competitively.

"Overall, ASQC believes these results show movement in the proper direction in American business and in the attitudes, level of understanding, and practices of senior management in regard to quality. However, much more progress is needed; significant opportunities remain for continuous quality improvement within American business."

When asked to rate methods for improving quality, the highest ratings went to employee motivation (44 percent), an actively involved corporate leader (46 percent), and employee education (39 percent). Employee education and training were the most frequently cited means of improving customer satisfaction.

Education gets low marks

In grading the US education system for preparing new employees to do quality work, only 13 percent of the executives gave schools an A or B, while 44 percent gave schools a D or F. These marks were poorer than a survey three years ago.

"This may reflect more of a dissatisfaction and frustration of business executives with people who are inadequately prepared to handle the more complex demands of today's jobs than it does a fundamental worsening in the education system," suggests Condon. "The push for quality today places much heavier demands on people than ever. They must be better prepared to meet the quality challenge."

One half said their companies are engaged in efforts to improve basic education in elementary and secondary schools, and 82 percent reported quality-education efforts underway.

The complete 80-pp Gallup survey is available by writing ASQC, 310 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203 or calling (800) 952-6576. Price is $14.95 for ASQC members and $19.95 for nonmembers.

Optical probes

Noncontact measuring probes offer increased measuring range and longer stand-off distances for in-process dimensional gaging and inspection. The Optocator 2005-556 has a measurement range of 40" with a 48" stand-off distance, and the 2203-504 has a 4 [inches] measuring range and 7 [inches] stand-off. Both have resolutions of 0.025 percent of range, accuracies of [plus or minus] 0.1 percent of range, and signal bandwidth (response) of 2 kHz standard, 5 kHz or 10 kHz optional. Probe processing electronics is integrated into the housing, and probes are unaffected by product color, texture, or surface reflectivity; or by ambient light or plant environment.

Selcom, P O Box 250, Valdese, NC 28690 or circle 411. 1903

Environmental testing

A variety of Harshaw environmental test chambers perform over 30 major automotive, military, and ASTM tests for salt-fog, condensating-humidity, and corrosive-gas conditions. Salt-spray (fog) tests include: ASTM B117, Chrysler LP461H-77, DIN 50021, Ford BJ7-2, GM GM4298-P, ISO 3768, JIS-Z-2371, and Mil Specs 202E Method 101D, 810D Method 509, and 883 Method 1009. Water-fog tests meet ASTM D1735. Acetic-acid salt spray (fog) tests include: ASTM B287, G 43, and G85; and GM GM4466-P; and ISO 3769. Sulphur dioxide tests include ASTM G87 and DIN 50018, and salt/SO[.sub.2] spray (fog) testing requirements of requirements of these organizations can also be met.

Salt-fog chambers are offered in five standard sizes from 15 to 100 cu ft, as well as custom-designed walk-in or drive-in chambers. They feature a Uni-Fog dispersion tower that produces a free-falling mist throughout the chamber, eliminating water droplets on test parts that can invalidate tests. Compressed air is forced up through a temperature-controlled column of distilled water, atomizing a solution of 95 percent water and 5 percent salt.

Humidifying tower and cabinet temperatures can be viewed by pressing keypads on the digital indicating/controlling panel. Temperatures are held to within one deg F, and a certified, pre-calibrated humidity indicator/controller provides wet-bulb/dry-bulb temperatures. Fog chamber internal components are protected from corrosion by a durable PVC lining and an insulated polypropylene cover prevents heat loss.

Bench-top multi-gas chambers perform moist SO[.sub.2], acid rain, and other corrosive tests. Automatic controls adjust gas metering and temperature, and a ventilating hood assures operator safety.

Engelhard Corp, 15583 Brookpark Rd, Cleveland, OH 44142 or circle 401. 1903

Height gage

Micro-Hite 2D electronic height gage performs two-dimensional measurements in either cartesian or polar coordinates with a single-axis gage. The relationship between part features can be quickly determined without regard to a reference or locating surface. The gage measures external, internal, and distance dimensions, as well as perpendicularity, flatness, straightness, centers, and diameters. Self-contained pneumatic system provides air-cushion movement, and a variety of probes, extensions, and accessories are available for the two available sizes, 0 to 20 [inches] and 0 to 32 [inches].

Brown & Sharpe, Precision Tool Div, Precision Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852 or circle 409. 1903

Pit depth for


Indicator measures depth of pits, scores, or surface inconsistencies on ODs of cylinders or rolls to be repaired by electrochemical metallizing, determining the exact amount of metal required to restore parts to their original condition. Wear surfaces and roundness of bearing journals also can be measured, as well as damage to flat surfaces and other part configurations. Interchangeable probes adapt to different size parts.

Selectrons Ltd, 137 Mattatuck Heights Rd, Waterbury, CT 06725-0115 or circle 413. 1903

Melt-flow temperature

Extrusion plastometer allows operator to key in test temperature selection from 50 C to 400 C through the use of microprocessor, as well as other parameters. The unit accurately measures melt-flow index to ASTM D 1238, performing up to 40 tests on a single test charge. The microprocessor automatically calculates test data and prints results. The digital display includes melt-flow index, volume-flow index, number of tests performed, melt density at each temperature, and test temperature measured at the barrel. It can be used with an IBM-compatible PC for SPC analysis.

Zwick of America Inc, P O Box 997, East Windsor, CT 06088 or circle 405. 1903

Metal quality

Model 100 electronic resistivity testing device measures the quality of metals by pulsing reversed DC current into a base metal. It can be used to determine spot- or laser-weld quality, coating thickness, size of faults or defects, case depth, powdered-metal density, and brazing quality. Minimal operator training is required. Portable unit weighs 10 lb and runs up to 8 hr on rechargeable batteries.

Physical Acoustics Corp, P O Box 3135, Princeton, NJ 08543 or circle 415. 1903

Brinell tester

Using master calibration blocks that reflect the desired hardness of master parts, the Model 8700 Verimatic Brinell testing system can be programmed to eliminate the normal pre-grinding operation necessary for conventional tests. Computer software provides teach modes whereby low and high test samples are used for calibration. Test heads can be mounted in any orientation for easy installation in transfer mechanisms, machines, or inspection systems.

K J Law Engineers Inc, 42300 W Nine Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48050-3627 or circle 416. 1903

Inspection modeling

MBA series of metrology-based analysis systems provide more accurate measurement of sculpted surfaces such as turbine blades, engine shrouds, airfoils, impellers, and carbody components. They create a mathematically accurate surface model of the part under inspection using either ICAMP graphics editor or IGES surface-definition data transferred from a CAD system. Among the IGES surfaces supported is the parametric spline surface entity for bi-cubic spline surfaces which includes a variety of surface splining techniques such as Coons patches, Bezier surfaces, Ferguson surfaces, and cartesian product surfaces. Using the model as reference, the user can import inspection data from any commercial CMM and map the data set onto the model. Both least squares and geometric tolerancing best fit are provided.

ICAMP Sales & Marketing, 186 Bolton Center Rd, Bolton, CT 06043 or circle 495. 1903

3-D software

Micromeasure 3-D geometric-measurement software extends and simplifies the productivity and uses of MicroVal and Xcel CMMs. Icons and graphic directions guide user through each measurement task, after a self-guiding tutorial teaches operation of the software. Level 1 software uses a single probe qualification and separate origin alignment of the part. Level II adds qualification of up to five probe tips. Level III expands measurement and reporting routines to special user requirements.

Brown & Sharpe Mfg Co, Precision Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852 or circle 462. 1903

CMM support package

Bravo3 CMM package supports programming by being fully integrated with the engineering data-base, providing interactive graphics, and simulating the inspection process. This allows the CMM operator to review the CAD model isometrically, select the appropriate probe, and visually check possible probe interferences. Menus and prompts reflect ANSI Y14.5 terminology and DMIS. A pass-thru feature provides for unique CMM capabilities and an intelligent macro adapts to special cases.

Applicon Schlumberger CAD/ CAM Div, 4251 Plymouth Rd, P O Box 986, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 or circle 457. 1903

CMM retrofit system

Soft Mic CMM retrofit system converts any manual CMM into a versatile tool for instantaneous measurement and geometric-relationship computation. Used with the IBM PS/2, it provides feature storage, inspection reporting, and digital readout of up to four axes. Measuring routines are accessed with a single keystroke. Features include automatic ID/OD working-plane determination, large digital readout of part coordinates, SPC analysis, and ANSI Y14.5 geometry enhancements.

M & M Precision Systems, 300 Progress Rd, West Carrollton, OH 45449 or circle 460. 1903

Improved CMM


PC-DMIS geometric-measurement software is compatible with CAM-I's DMIS and CADAM's CADIMS transfer protocols for sending and receiving file. In addition to down-loading CAD programs, the software can upload dimensional information to the CAD system for analysis or reverse engineering. Interactive color graphics enable even inexperienced users to program CMMs effectively by reducing manual data input and command-key memorization.

Automation Software, Precision Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852 or circle 459. 1903

CMM upgrades

Newly established Systems Upgrade division is solely concerned with rebuilding and upgrading older CMM systems. The options include: upgrade to Sharpe control (used on the Brown & Sharpe PCR robots and Xcel CMMs) and advanced AVAIL 4.0 geometric part-programming software, upgrade manual CMMs to DCC control with the addition of servomotors, drives, and Sharpe control, upgrade to Micromeasure operating software, addition of lowcost reverse-engineering capabilities using the CMM as the front-end digitizer, and a variety of horizontal-CMM upgrades and PC-based conversions.

System Upgrades, Coordinate Measuring Systems Div, Brown & Sharpe Mfg Co, Precision Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852 or circle 499. 1903

Ball-bearing hardness

The E59 solid-state electronic system is equipped for ball-bearing hardness testing. It was developed for all material checks that can be made using the eddy-current method, for example, material recognition or anomalies in heat treatment. Available in two configurations, it can be incorporated into either laboratory or automated-manufacturing environments. Front-panel reprogrammable, the laboratory version is best for applications requiring frequent changes in test parameters, and the dedicated version is more suitable for automated processes.

Marposs Corp, 2040 Austin, Troy, MI 48083-2299 or circle 497. 1903

PHOTO : Cat-scan for cars. Argonne National Laboratory technician, Bill Ellingston, examines a ceramic turbocharger rotor before X-raving it with a 3-D imagining technology they developed that can detect material flaws in ceramics, plastics, metal alloys, and composites.

PHOTO : ASTM G 85 and NADC-77252-30. Similar noncondensing/condensing humidity and water-immersion test
COPYRIGHT 1989 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:American Society for Quality Control survey
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Dec 1, 1989
Previous Article:Gaging hot forgings.
Next Article:16-axis welding cell for maximum productivity.

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