There is no shortage of debate on whether it’s better for a shop to establish its own in-house inspection departments or outsource. There are pros and cons to both, and each works best in different scenarios. That’s why the best answer to this frequent question is almost always: “both.” An internal inspection department allows companies to integrate quality assurance into production. Shops that have their own coordinate measuring machines and operators can manage production lines that need to be checked at certain intervals to guarantee precision. Sending every 50th piece to a lab and halting production is a waste of time that holds up delivery. On the other hand, complicated dimensions that require special equipment are best sent off to metrologists with all of the most up-to-date technology.

Mix Internal Inspection

Large parts: Weldments and large components can be impractical to ship off to a lab, not to mention incredibly expensive. However, portable arms and optical systems make it easy for operators from outside metrology houses to take dimensions on site. Increasingly, shops are finding that ROMER portable arms have become crucial to their business. Nevertheless, companies have to consider their own demands and restrictions, as training or employing an operator is a significant cost beyond the new equipment.

Temporary projects: Outsourcing is an easy solution when short contracts require a company to produce parts they can’t inspect themselves. Investing in a new coordinate measurement machine for a short run could leave you with a seriously underused tool. Not only does it take up capital, it also takes up floor space. Also, a new investment is a gamble on landing more contracts for that component.

Outsourcing can also be an ideal fit for project overloads. An outside lab can get firms through bottlenecks if their assembly line outstrips QA. Distance and shipping costs should be considered before relying on an out-of-house lab to provide inspections. However, many companies are actually sending their parts further afield because they can communicate with labs and get their results faster thanks to digital photography.

Software programming: Hardware isn’t the only thing to consider, and sometimes shops just need a particular program to get the dimensions of a particular part. Businesses like Canadian Measurement-Metrology Inc. sell software for coordinate measuring machines, vision system, and laser scanners, in addition to training courses. A coordinate measuring machine operator may also come and program machines for unusual components if an in-house operators lack the training to do so themselves.

Elliott Foster, the owner of Canadian Measurement-Metrology Inc., says that upwards of 90% of the businesses that use his company for contract measurement services have their own inspection systems. At their laboratory, they use their gantry machine for large parts, as well as non-contact video measuring and high speed scanning. With innovations in portable technology, they can also take laser scanners and ROMER arms to their clients’ shops to perform inspections without major delays. You can find out more about CMM measurement services Conquer bottlenecks and delays by expanding your QA department or hiring contract metrologists.